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How much did you invest in order to burn wood, and save money? Where is your break even?

Post in 'The Gear' started by mywaynow, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. jotul8e2

    jotul8e2 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Messages:
    296
    Loc:
    Ozarks
    If you don't count the 50 acres, the truck, the trailer, the saws, and the assorted tools, gloves, and boots, then I am into my current setup at around $4500. It would have been more but I designed and built the house with the stove in mind.

    Since my house is super-insulated, it costs about $500 per year to heat with the high efficiency heat pump. So the payback is lousy. But I hate the "heat" from the heat pump. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

    RE the value of the time spent on wood processing: It takes me about 24 hours a year to work up the roughly three cords of oak and hickory I burn. Trivial in the overall scale of things.

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  2. salecker

    salecker Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    341
    Loc:
    Northern Canada
    I have a 20x26 boiler building 90% repurpased
    Econoburn boiler and 2 500 gal repurpussed tanks and copper pipe
    several sthil chainsaws
    1/2 ownership in a splitter
    i also have a skidder,graple loader,pole trailer and Western star,and various other heavy eqyuipment.
    The list could go on,a boiler installer told my wife to replace our system would cost over $50K where we live.
    .....But we have no flame source in our home,which is worth every penny.Last month a family of 4 and their friend which was staying with them died of carbon monoxide poising in Whitehorse which is 100 miles from us.Made all the work that went into our outbuilding system worthwhile.
    So far no oil this winter,and the wood was free,at least two more years left.
    It may be years till we get our money back,but it's a lifestyle.
    My dad always said wood always warmed you twice,once cutting it,and once burning it.
    Thomas
  3. Excavator

    Excavator Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    229
    Loc:
    Central NJ
    I would be a fool not to burn wood as I am excavating contractor with all the saws and skid steers and heavy equipment to work with.
    I get all the wood free or paid to take down trees. What ever money I spend on my stove or chimney or time is well worth every minute and dollar.
    Last year I also installed old upright stove in my office trailer and never used the electric heat in trailer since. In my office trailer I also burn all the odd ball scrap wood I don't bring home.

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  4. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,219
    Loc:
    NE Maryland
    Original smoke dragon came with the house, but then I discovered Hearth.com...

    SS Liner: $880.
    NC30: $475
    MS192TC: $320

    BGE bill WITHOUT wood: minimum $275, often over $500.
    BGE bill with wood: under $200.

    Without major analysis and calculus, I's say break-even is pretty much now.
  5. valley ranch

    valley ranch Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    Messages:
    394
    Loc:
    Ranches in Sierra Nevada mts,Calif & Nevada
    I've never lived in a house without wood heat. We bought another ranch last year, one of the first things we did was to install a wood stove I've had for sitting here, I did buy a damper and beauty ring for the installation.
    I do have a few chain saws, a splitter and a couple tractors. There's no thought about breaking even.

    I agree with the fellows that say they like the wood heat, it heats the walls, warm your clothes, and when I sit down and put my feet up, with a book, I'm wakened by one of the girls kissing me on the forehead saying "Daddy dinner".
  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,253
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Holy old skool, Excavator. That is a pretty nifty looking old stove. (and who doesn't like jiffy pop.)
  7. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    15,972
    Loc:
    Anderson, Indiana
    I have about 10k or so in my system and saws extrude. 3-3.5k to heat my home in a year. Started in 2006 so its paying me now. Lokking to put in a free standing stove this year as-well.
  8. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,507
    Loc:
    Arrow Bridge,NY
    I think I have about $3500 into 2 furnaces,pipe and misc. over the years.
    Saws, trucks, loaders,processors, and other chit I have to have ,,,so getting wood done fast and easy is a free bonus.
    I think my wood burning appliances paid for themselves easily the first year burning.
  9. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,444
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Honestly . . . I never took the time to break everything down to figure out how much I've spent over the years and when I've "broke even."

    The way I figure it . . . in time this will (or may have already) pay off. In the meantime, I am warm . . . I don't need to worry whether the price of heating oil climbs above $4 a gallon . . . I don't have to worry about keeping the house warm when we lose power in the winter . . . and honestly I'm fat and out of shape and need whatever exercise I can get while processing the wood.
  10. Bocefus78

    Bocefus78 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Messages:
    539
    Loc:
    Just Outside Indy
    Insert w/ install, liner, etc: $3400 (minus 30% tax credit)
    Saws are a business expense for me so I already had everything but the 066 which I really didnt need, but thats another topic: $400
    huskee 22T Splitter: $1100 after tax---paid for by being the only guy in the county with ice melt in last years ice storm :)
    Truck, trailer, etc was already paid for : $0

    Now for the fun numbers. I used to keep the thermo at 65-67 at the most. Gas bills were easily $200+ in the really cold months. Nobody was ever comfortable in my house. I know that seems low compared to some. Now its around $45/ month but $25-30 of that is water heater and distribution costs...and it seems the gas is running a little more this year, but prices are down compared to years past. The house is now 70+ all the time. Its been 77 with the windows open while single digits outside. I cannot begin to think what that would have cost in Nat gas $$....and for that matter, I KNOW my furnace wont do it, no matter the cost. Never mind the power outtage comfort level, enjoyment, exercise, and all that.

    So you ask, whats my breakeven point? Itll probably be year 3 for me financially, but the comfort levels have already paid me back as far as Im concerned.
  11. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,938
    Loc:
    Peru, MA
    Stove, chimeny, homemade hearthpad and installation/permit fees. about $4000.
    Basic wood splitting tools, cheap chainsaw and the cost of two newer saws now. $800.
    Electric splitter $250.

    Annual savings in the cost of oil, easily $2000 every year. Realistically I think its well above that.

    This is my 5th season with the woodstove, so at this point I'm a couple years minimum past the initial ROI. Break even was during the third winter...not many investments with a return like that.
  12. RowCropRenegade

    RowCropRenegade Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Messages:
    302
    Loc:
    Southwest, Ohio
    I got 25 grand in my heating system. That includes Garn, underground insulated tube, manifold, pumps, wiring, insulation, wall covering, etc. Already had all the wood gathering equipment and pickup.
    I'm beginning expansion for next winter to heat my shop and garage. So more than just a home heating operation.

    Financed for 5 years. Including interest charge and tracking oil prices, breakeven comes for me in early 2014. I also was burning over 2000 gallons of fuel oil each winter. With 3.5 fuel, it don't take long to payback.
  13. Halligan

    Halligan Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    Messages:
    327
    Loc:
    Southeastern Massachusetts
    Went halves with a family member on a Huskee 22ton on sale so figure $500, new husky 346xp with 18" bar, 2 chains +tax $580, saw chaps $79, cant hook $70, new 16" bar and 2 chains for old Husky 45 $70. Whats that around $1300? Now the big expense will come this spring when I install the wood stove. Quotes are around $4,000 for new Jotul F500 with pipe, hearth pad and install. That will put me around $5,300 total. I already had the truck and my scrounging has netted about 3 cord of maple and oak that is c/s/s. A buddy of mine has some seasoned oak I may purchase this fall because my oak will not be ready so add $150 more.

    As others have stated I like the exercise and to me using the saws and splitter is play time. As for break even $$$$-wise? Who knows, 5-6 years. Break even Me-wise, first time I lose power and can heat my house.
  14. Larry in OK

    Larry in OK Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Messages:
    103
    Loc:
    NE Oklahoma
    I got the stove set up and running for just under $2K. Already had a good saw, truck, maul, axes... Did buy a X25.
    For the money I save on NG I estimated a 2 year payback on initial investment based on year over last gas bills.
    One extended power outage would make it a instant payback.
  15. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2009
    Messages:
    937
    Loc:
    Mount Cheaha Alabama
    $3600 for stove/liner/misc installation stuff - less 30% tax rebate
    Went halves on the splitter with my coworker $550/each. He's the one who brought this up to me 2 yrs ago when we installed his stove - spending all the money/time to heat with wood.
    Had a saw already but" upgraded" to the 041 - $150+ 80 in new chains/bar.
    Already had the truck and quad.
    Bought the small trailer for $50/frame + 50 for wood bed/sides.
    Loadhandeler for the truck bed - bought to haul stone but works awesome for unloading FW $120

    Have propane heat, ran ~1100 to fill at the start of the season and bought another 200-300gal ~$600 in February every year to get me through til spring.
    Since the install I've used ~100gal of residual propane in the extreme cold snaps, when my wood wasn't really seasoned. Haven't even lit the pilot this season
    So I guess I'm even after this season, and as many have noted I keep the house way warmer now than when I was burning fossil fuels.
  16. cwill

    cwill Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Messages:
    182
    Loc:
    W. MI
    I'm in about 3200 total. Already had a truck, trailer,and saws. Borrow a larger saw from a cousin and splitter from a friend. Used about $1200 a year in propain, that was keeping the house at 64 all day and going down to 60 at night. Now the house is usually 74 and we are cold if it gets to 70! ROI is about 2.6 years if we don't buy a bigger stove like we want to. I'd do it all over again in a second!
  17. Gabby

    Gabby New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2012
    Messages:
    2
    Loc:
    Puget Sound foothills
    We haven't actually broken down the costs. We do buy a large logging truck load of logs every 3 years of so - bought that way, a cord is about $130. Dh chainsaws it up, I split and stack it. So - our price for wood isn't bad. We don't normally use our furnace at all - only during burn bans. Our heating costs are really outrageous then, and we don't even warm our house much - if it gets to 60, we feel too warm!

    With us - yes, we know we're saving money by using wood heat. But we also love the warmth - something about a wood fire that beats heat from a furnace. Also - I split about 95% of our wood (dh does a bit of it). I am a middle aged gal and I really like the exercise. If any of you men have wives that are watching you do the work, tell them that if *I* can do it, they can also! Swinging a maul really isn't difficult, and I'm saving money by not having a membership in a gym!
  18. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
    Messages:
    1,006
    Thirty years ago.

    Boiler $ 3500.00
    Wood Splitter $ 4000.00
    Storage x steam boiler with tubes removed free .
    Added 10'by 24' concrete room onto the basement for the boiler and storage with a wood shed above , don't remember the cost ! :cheese:

    Wood has always been free , cost around $ 35.00 in chains ,gas , etc to collect .
    Have fun wood gathering . :)
    Have fun burning wood. :)
    Have fun yakking on "Hearth " :cheese:

    Burn 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cords per year. :cheese:
    Hydro bill about $ 60.00 per month . ;-P
    Would do it all again. :cheese:

    Attached Files:

  19. fireview2788

    fireview2788 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    Messages:
    855
    Loc:
    SW Ohio
    Fireview= $2,400
    Install- $1,000
    Huskee Splitter- $0
    Stihl Chain Saw- $0
    (they both came with the house)
    minus $300 tax rebate
    Total= $3,100

    Electric bill has been 1/2 what we paid in the warmer months last year at $175/mo (avg)
    Which means I will re-coop the cost in 2 years.

    fv
  20. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,468
    Loc:
    Greenwood county, SC
    I had a 65cc saw before the stove and mauls and axes because i use to cut wood for family in open
    fireplaces as well as myself before i put the stove in. I also had 2 trucks as i am into trucks and outdoors,
    and need a tow vehicle for tractor and boats etc.

    Ignoring the truck and saws like i said before.

    I have a used EPA stove i paid $900 for that im running as a slammer till i buy a $400 SS liner.
    You have the fuel to haul wood and the trivial amount in the saw. I split about a half cord or more by hand the
    rest is split with my buddies splitter.

    Last feb was installed and save about $100-150 that month, march i saved about $75. This year
    I saved about $50 is October or heatpump the previous year, nov, another $50 or so,Dec, about $150 and january,
    about $100-150 and february maybe another $100 (this would be for a normal year not this mild winter we have
    had as the HP would not work as hard) and march maybe $50 i estimate. So im where.. calculating calculating..

    Im about $100 from breakeven for just the stove. Even buying the liner this summer i figure i will totally breakeven
    after next winter.


    BUT my house insted of 60F in the day 62F waking up, 68F in evenings, and 62F overnight its closer to 64-70F at night in the
    bedroom and 75-80 in the tv room with the stove. Also am heating most of my 2500sqft first floor. HP did not turn on at all this last winter.
  21. valley ranch

    valley ranch Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    Messages:
    394
    Loc:
    Ranches in Sierra Nevada mts,Calif & Nevada
    Let's see. When I bought the Centnnial stove that is in the mountain ranch, it cost new $250, made by a company in Oregon a long while ago, I added a glass door and secondary air, window wash $45. The tripple and single wall wasn't expensive then maybe another $100, changed the single wall once.
    The stove in the lower ranch was being thrown out, Mack's wife prefered the fireplace. That stove was free, a Nordic, made by a company in Lovelock, Nevada.
    The spliter was used $350. The tractors were less than $10,000 but I didn't buy them for the firewood. I have a good collection of chainsaws, only bought one new less than $500. For a load of bolders I was given $1800 and a 034 Stihl

    $250 Centennial Stove

    $300 stove pipe
    $350 splitter
    $500 chainsaws
    ____
    $1400

    This is over a lot of years, The stoves owe me nothing.
  22. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Okay, here is my list of goodies:

    Present stove is Woodstock Fireview. This is our 5th stove; some old stoves sold when we moved. Have yet to wear one out. Don't remember the cost of most of the stoves.
    Chimney - $1,000
    Hearth - about $150
    Chain saw. Have owned many over the years and do not remember the costs.
    MTD 20 ton splitter - $800 or thereabouts over 20 years old; repair costs to date = zero.

    Total "investment" = ?

    Have not purchased heating oil since 1979 and then was only for a short time living in a rented house waiting to move. Have purchased some wood in the past but very little. Almost all wood has been cut on our own place. Have sold some.

    It might be interesting to know our costs over the years compared with some others but it would be difficult to calculate.
  23. mywaynow

    mywaynow Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Messages:
    1,369
    Loc:
    Northeast
    Don't forget to factor in your seat for that oh-so-dangerous vertical splitting!
  24. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    The only danger is in falling asleep because it is so easy! :lol:
  25. perchin

    perchin Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    Messages:
    95
    Loc:
    Six Lakes, MI
    Stove came with the house = 0
    Husky saw = 359.00
    Fiskars, sledge and wedges = 150.00
    Total = approx. $509.00

    Paid for itself within the first two months of winter........ this is not including the free splitter I just got. I put a new $100 engine on it.

    I also in the cold months, and when I'm out of town for work, run the pellet stove... gotta love options :cheese:

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