Alert
Close

Take AARP’s Smart Driver course and you could save money on your car insurance. Learn more

Highlights

Open

Think You Know AARP Caribbean Cruise Sweepstakes

Money & Work

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

Jobs You Might Like

most popular
articles

Viewed

Save a Buck

A Frugal Fire

Save money by making sure your logs are ready for winter

With the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicting higher heating costs this winter for many types of fuel, you may be planning on using your fireplace more often.

But what crackling flames provide in mood they can cost in money: A fire twice a week in a fireplace with no glass screen can actually raise your heating costs about 15 percent, because a lot of heat is sucked out of the room and sent up the chimney.

See also: A cheapskate's good-smelling energy audit.

Burn seasoned firewood - properly dried out - and save money.

Save money on heating costs by burning wood that's been properly dried out. — Photo by Getty Images

And it gets worse when your wood hasn't been properly seasoned, or dried out. The heat-producing efficiency of "green" firewood is about 30 percent less than with properly dried pieces.

So to really save money with firewood, use these tips to determine whether your logs are ready to burn:

  • Properly seasoned wood is dark or gray on the outside, but when freshly split, it's whitish on the inside and dry. Already split pieces should be dark throughout.
  • Split wood should have cracks on the ends and running through each piece.
  • Dry wood is lighter in weight, and when two pieces are banged together, produces a hollow sound. Wet wood makes a dull thud.

You can expect seasoning to take at least a year, and possibly longer if stacked wood is covered with a tarp, which slows evaporation. It's best to store seasoned, dry wood off the ground, under a lean-to or in a shed. The best-burning wood has been seasoned for two to three years.

Also of interest: 18 ways to save on your utility costs. >>

Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Life insurance: you are covered rain or shine

Exclusive annuities for members from AARP Lifetime Income Program from New York Life.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Homeowners Insurance
Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.