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Heating costs. Is wood really worth it?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Swedishchef, Aug 23, 2011.

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  1. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Out of curiosity, what type of wood do you get in West Texas? Soft (pines) or hard wood? I lived in Arizona for several years and firewood there was expensive in the Phoenix area. Not sure about the Sedona/Flagstaff area.

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  2. mhrischuk

    mhrischuk Guest

    Pinion wood
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I was thinking mesquite, acacia, cottonwood and juniper.
  4. hwdemers

    hwdemers Member

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    if your numbers are correct an electric appliance would cost .20 per million btu of usable heat and wood would be $14.58 per million btu after you figure out heat conversion efficiency. I think some of your numbers are wrong. If not don’t use wood as it would cost 72.9 times more to use wood
  5. Milton Findley

    Milton Findley Feeling the Heat

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    The 40 million BTU's it takes to keep this house livable and the pipes unfrozen during heating season is cheapest when I buy them in the form of natural gas and supplement the cold spots with electric heaters. Last year, I used 260 dollars fewer in the form of natural gas and 700 dollars more in the form of cord wood that I had to buy. We are a lot warmer with the stove going and the house is more useable. It is about secondary benefits so far at my house. This winter will be another data point in an ongoing study.
  6. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    My numbers are wrong? Or someone else's...there has been lots of numbers posted here!

    A monthly bill for 2000 KWh where I live, including service and delivery fees, would cost 143.31. The largest bill I have ever had for a month was $200. And it was C O L D that month. -25C every day.
    See the below link
    http://www.hydro.mb.ca/regulatory_affairs/energy_rates/electricity/utility_rate_comp.shtml

    I live in Quebec...

    ANdrew
  7. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    200 bucks? that is 1/2 again more than I spent all last season :lol: Doubt I would bother if I had access to that cheap of fuel other than a warm radiant glow source in the house and a if the chit hits the fan stash.
  8. mking7

    mking7 Burning Hunk

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    Well, in west Texas they have plenty of mesquite but I live in West, Texas which is between Dallas and Austin (just north of Waco) and around here I get a lot of white oak and post oak. We have a family place over in east Texas where there's plenty of pine but I don't burn that except in the campfire if there's nothing else lying around. Plenty of hardwoods there as well. Oaks/hickory/etc.

    Living in West, TX is a great conversation starter. :)
  9. mhrischuk

    mhrischuk Guest

    When I said pinion I was kinda being a smart arse. I do like the stuff though in a open fire for it's fragrance. They say it's a natural mosquito repellent when burning. I don't know how well it works.
  10. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    My average electricity bill is $200 and I don't have central air or electric heat.
  11. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like my bill here in Mass... You must have NStar there too.. I envy those with municipal utilities like several towns and one that abuts my town!

    Ray
  12. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    My average electricity bill (including hot water) was $108 per month last year. And my wife was at home with the little one.

    A
  13. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    2000 KWh in ONE month. Holy CRAP! That is about 6 months of electric usage at my house. 2000KwH is about $350 of juice.

  14. phatfarmerbob

    phatfarmerbob New Member

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    So seems everyone likes burning wood to stay warm,,, i wanna come up with a way to burn wood to run my AC in the summer... thats how much i like it.
  15. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Stay warm, save dough, exercise, meet interesting people. Lots of good reasons. But, if our electric rates were that low or we had access to NG, we would burn a lot less wood.
  16. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    It is possible with a gas absorption system such as camper runs the fridge with propane as a heat source..

    Ray
  17. phatfarmerbob

    phatfarmerbob New Member

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    Ever hear of anyone doing it?
  18. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Try googling it I am sure someone has thought of this and has done it or at least tried..

    Ray
  19. Milton Findley

    Milton Findley Feeling the Heat

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    Well, there is no doubt that my camper refrigerator gets cold, but it is pretty small by comparison to my house.
  20. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I hear that! I would think the system would be large and not very efficient.. I may be wrong but I think my camper fridge uses ammonia for refrigerant which would be very dangerous if it ever leaked.. They get around this by having ventilation to the outside.. Not sure what you could do with this .. I'll stick with electricity!!

    Ray
  21. PerryBurton

    PerryBurton New Member

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    Great discussion here folks. When I was looking to go install a wood stove I looked into this topic/calculation some. And in this "Is it worth it?" quest I found out some things as many of you have already. EVERY situation is different.
    Strictly from a money standpoint You need to know how much your current monthly heating bill (electric, NG, propane, etc.) is during the time you could use a wood stove and how many BTU's its worth. You then calculate the equal amount of BTU's needed in wood (hardwood better than softwood generally) and the cost per cord. and there's your general result. Because we all know that no two lengths of wood will burn the same BTU value, we can only generalize.
    That's not so bad, but then you add the install cost of a new stove if you had to do so and minus that from your cost saving if any. Personally around where I live people are trading up houses quicker than cars so an install would not pay for its self over such a period of time. (monetarily)
    I've looked at online calculations like this one. http://www.travisindustries.com/CostOfHeating_WkSht.asp
    but there are so many variables. where you live (on a hill vs in woods is a big diff) the type of house age of house... even age of occupants.. the list goes on. I know my father would burn x3 or x4 times the wood as myself because he has it warm enough to melt the candles on the coffee table!
    I think you can only get an estimate by the basic calculation to see if its even worth installing, and after the first year run the naked numbers, did you spend less than before? (install cost can be spread over 5-6 years or not at all)

    From my own perspective I know i'll save some money, but I just wanted to get rid of a propane fireplace that was old, and i just didn't like it. So I spent the money and had a nice wood stove installed so during winter I can throw a couple of junks in the box some evenings and weekends and sit back and enjoy.
    If you succumb to the "time is money" philosophy of life one is best not getting a stove, its not like that.

    Again, great discussion and i'm full of poo.

    Perry
  22. WES999

    WES999 Minister of Fire

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    Let's see, last time I purchased HHO was back in June....of 09 and I still have about 100 gl in the tank.
    The stove an chimney cost a bit over $1000, so in rough numbers it was paid for after the first year. :lol:

    So yes for me it's worth it.

    I have been fortunate to have been able to scrounge more wood than I can use myself( I have given some away). So wood cost is minimal.

    The OP raises a good question, around here if you buy wood it may cost $250-$350/cord.
    If you have to pay $350/cord I think you would be unlikely to see much if any savings.
  23. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I think my wood stove - located in the basement because thet is where the chimney is - saved about $200 per month last winter on my electricity bill. That is not a big savings compared to some others, but it still add up fast. I am confident that I save money with wood heat. I don't buy wood, so the $200 is not offset much by the cost for wood.
  24. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    NL Hermit: where in NL are you? I speak to people often in NFLD for work. One of my best friends lives there too. And I agree, if you simply look at a per cost basis, I don't think you save money (when comparing with my electricity rates). If you want your own splitter, saw, truck or tractor or quad, trailer, chimney, stove and gas (plus repairs), you gotta burn a pile of wood to save the money.

    According to that website link you posted, wood is $1.50 cheaper per million BTU compared with to electricity where I live. I know that many more factors must be taken into consideration when looking at total cost. That being said, I love burning wood and that's why I do it: the enjoyment. I was simply looking at a $ figure. I can't get over some of the rates some people pay for wood

    WES999... I think wood is a lot cheaper than oil these days. From what you said, it's a huge savings down in Mass! Good luck with Irene! I hope it doesn't hit you tooo hard.

    Andrew
  25. shawneyboy

    shawneyboy New Member

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    For me it is easy. I used the last 10 years of fuel oil consumption average per month, multiplied it by the going rate per month last year,subtract the nominal amount I did use, and I find I saved $2000 in fuel oil costs over last winter. If the savings are nearly the same for the next 2 heating seasons, my stove and toys will be paid for in 3 years, and from then on it is money in the back yard, er uh... bank. So for me the answer is a big, huge,

    HELL YEAH ITS WORTH IT !!!

    Shawn
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