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How many cords are enough?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by cshama, Dec 1, 2009.

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  1. cshama

    cshama New Member

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    I just got a Quad Isle Royale wood stove, 73% efficiency I believe. Usually I need 2000 gallons of oil a season to heat my house- how many cords would you guess that translates into? Just looking for a rough guess at this point

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Check out this thread as there is a great link or two there:

    Thread
  3. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    Try this link.

    http://extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G5450


    Zap
  4. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    Sav sorry about doubling up on the link.

    Zap
  5. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    Most people burn about 4 or 5 cords, not too many go over 8 cords. This is based only on reading posts here, so your results may vary.
  6. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    WD has it about right. I'd say that most go with 3-5 cord in a season.
  7. CowboyAndy

    CowboyAndy New Member

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    IMO, 2000 gal is alot of fuel and the house is either big or not insulated... and in any case, i dont think a single wood stove is going to heat the whole house. its hard to say based on the amount of fuel usage... too many factors.

    cshama, can you give more details... how big is the house, insulation, how much of it do you want to heat, how warm do you want it and are you going to burn all the time?
  8. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    2000 gals of oil is comparable to what the previous owners of my house burned in propane. 10 to 12 cords is a conservative estimate if your goal is to eliminate the oil. Moisture content and species of the wood will have a big impact with the amount of btus you are trying to replace.

    I was able to replace the forced propane air furnace with a large stove in the middle of the house. But, that was after removing interior walls to create an open floor plan.
  9. Rockey

    Rockey Minister of Fire

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    2000 gallons of #2 oil is a lot of btu's. Thats equivalent to what solarandwood said - 10-12 cords of hardwood.
  10. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    To take Solarandwood's word for needing 10-12 cords to replace 2000 gal of oil, being a long time Isle Royal owner, I can tell you that you WILL NOT be able to burn that much wood in a season. You can't feed it and burn it up fast enough without over firing the bujeezus out of the stove.

    It just won't burn that much in a season - even at 24/7 at the max rated btu output for the stove. In another thread I stated that heating 3000 cuft of home would be a chore, this is what I was talking about. Not knowing your situation - meaning you could have an uber insulated house, or very efficient layout it is possible. But using 2000 gal of oil will probably take 2 stoves to replace that amount of heat.

    EDIT: A real world example:

    I burn about 20/7 (long work days). I replace about 1000 Gal of propane by burning about 4-5 cords of wood. Doing the math - this would translate into 10 cords to replace 2000 Gal of propane. Oil has more energy per gal than propane. Probably putting you up to the 12 cord range as stated above. I don't think it would be possible to stuff my stove full and run hard enough (without over firing) to make ash out of 12 cords of wood in a season.
  11. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    The amount of oil could be due to inefficiency in the boiler, bad insulation, and a host of other issues. 3-5 cord is burning about 24/7 for the hard part of the winter- that's just the rate it gets ett.
  12. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Good point All Purpose - I hadn't thought of that.
  13. CowboyAndy

    CowboyAndy New Member

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    heres a real world example... we used to go through about 1600-1700 gal of oil to keep the house at 66. house is 2100 sq ft with alot of walls. forced air furnace, about 5 years old.

    with a forced air wood furnace, we are going through 8-9 cords to keep the house at 74. that is 8-9 cords of good hardwood.

    this year i am burning basswood... but thank heavens we have had a mild fall, but ive gone through about 2 cords of it since mid september.
  14. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    If I were you, which I am not, but, If I were, I would set a goal of having 15 cords split and stacked. You see, that's about what I keep around. 5 cord ready to burn this season, 5 cord bought bucked and split last March, and 5 cord bought bucked and split the March before that. That's my routine. So the stuf I'm burning, which is mostly red and white oak, sits 3 years split before going into the stove.

    Soooo, this February, I'll contact my super secret lumber man, and have him drop another grapple load off to the side of the driveway, and I'll commence the "March routine" of sawing, splitting and stacking.....usually finishing up in a couple weeks if the weather cooperates.
  15. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    It would seem then the question is how much wood can be stuffed into this particular stove and how much of the 2000 gallons of oil will it offset. If that doesn't meet your goal, it might be time to consider an add on wood furnace. I forced the issue by removing our propane furnace and ductwork. Without a doubt, pushing 10 cord a year through our two previous stoves played a role in their early demise.
  16. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    face cords? 10-12 full cords is insane.
  17. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    10-12 cord is quite sane compared to the 2000 gallons of heating oil the OP is trying to offset or the 4000 gallons of propane the previous owners of our house consumed. Take a look at the link in Zap's post. Unless as someone mentioned there is something wrong with the oil burner, the math says it would take 10 cord of Hickory or Black Locust at low moisture content to replace the oil. The math is backed up with CowboyAndy's and my personal experience replacing fossil fuel with wood in the same area.

    I have since greatly reduced my wood consumption with 52 new windows and reframing the exterior of the building with 2x6 walls. However, 3000 sq ft in upstate NY with a lot of glass on a windy ridge is going to require significantly more than 3-5 cord if your goal is to completely eliminate fossil fuel use. I would much rather scrounge and process firewood than write checks to my former since ruled against by the state attorney general propane company.
  18. cshama

    cshama New Member

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    I will report back when the Winter is over.Even if I do use 10 cords I should end up saving a couple of grand.
  19. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    I'm all for it! Just sounds like a lot of work. Good work, though.
  20. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I am looking forward to the report.
  21. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    Don't wait until the end of the winter to report. I think there's a limit on what you can burn in the Isle Royale. You're going to be
    fighting with coals all winter trying to burn them down to allow the next load-up.
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