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How much does it cost .......

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by heaterman, May 24, 2013.

  1. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Assume a wage of $12.00 per hour.

    How much does your labor per year add up to for everything involved with burning wood?
    Cutting, hauling,splitting, stacking, loading and firing every day.
    Be realistic.

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  2. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    You are trying to burst my bubble aren't you?


    Hard for me to say because the last two years I have worked hard to get way ahead. I now have 6 years of wood split and stacked and another 3+ in the yard waiting to be split.

    gg
  3. tomahawk

    tomahawk Member

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    A lot.

    But if you enjoy doing it enough to the point where you sign up and post on a message board about it then the time invested probably doesn't bother you. For me it's a release or an escape for a bit. Throwing wood, swinging an axe and then watching and feeling the fire though out the winter.

    There's a lot of hours invested but some things are just worth it IMO.
    BoilerMan likes this.
  4. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    For myself about 10 hours per cord for 4 to 5 cords a year. For Granny, it is 6 to10 cords per year and because of ferries involved, getting the wood to her island home equals two 10 hour days per cord. For one handicapped friend it is about 2-3 cords per year at 10 hours per cord. There is also miscellaneous other people that I enjoy splitting their wood for them as well. I enjoy the whole firewood routine and at 64 , this exercise helps keep me in good shape with low cholesterol and that to me is priceless!
  5. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    I "wood" say 10 hours a cord. Thats for scrounging/felling, hauling (big variable) bucking, splitting, seasoning, restacking inside, throwing it in the fire. The fuel and equiptment involved "wood" have to be around $30/cord, assumeing the splitter will last at least 50cord with minor repair, the chainsaw the same, and hauling (big variable) truck and trailer are NOT in the math, I'd have those anyway, fuel only.

    For a total of 4 cord, not counting the getting ahead as gg said, $480 labor $120 for fuel and equiptment wear. I think that is a fair estimate, for me at least.

    All said, I still enjoy it way too much even if it took much longer/cord to do, the joy of having total control over my fuel supply and BURNING STUFF has a huge weight for me, more than the time involved. Plus we get to come on Hearth and rant about our latest wood burning system improvement/piping tinkering to make it better. We really are nuts!

    TS
  6. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    North central Alberta, Canada
    $2500 - 3000 per year with no allowance for fuel/maintenance/repairs/ammortization/depreciation or any of the other costs involved in cord wood. No piece of equipment operates for free & yes there is no such thing as free wood.

    Just a straight $12.00/hr on the conservative side for sure.

    BTW flippng burgers gets you $16.00/hr here for a fraction of the labour involved in wood.

    If I were to just compare the two I would be asking for $32.00/hr for wood on the low end.

    Pricey hobby! Maybe I should buy some Drones from Web mount some cameras on them & check out the country side from the air. Let someone else handle the labour of wood.
  7. I've always looked at as how much I save.

    But I get my firewood as close to free as one can -- my tree guy drops it off next to my wood pile for free. My saws are all 'free to me' since I've paid for them with the profits of buying and selling saws on CL

    Takes me 1-2 hours a cord to split and stack it. (10 cords) = 20 hour
    Figure 30 minutes a day to bring in the wood and tend the boiler (180 days a year) = 90 hours
    Gas and oil for the saws and splitter = maybe $75
    So I'd be in the 2k range assuming the 12/hour.

    But now for the fun math:

    I used to use 1000-1200 gallons of oil plus 3-4 cord of wood. And I was keeping the house cooler. I've also started heating the second floor addition that used to stay around 45 degrees. So I'd probably use 1500 gallons if I didn't burn wood.

    1500x$3.50 a gallon = 5250
    To spend $5250 you've got to earn at least 6k before taxes and commuting expenses are taken out. And probably closer to 7k (medicaid, social security etc)
    So $6000/110 hours of work tending, splitting and stacking

    = $54.54/hour that I am 'make' tax free to burn wood.

    So in the end I figure will have repaid my boiler/install costs somewhere around the 2.5 to 3 year mark.
    woodsmaster likes this.
  8. ihookem

    ihookem Minister of Fire

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    Allenton, Wisconsin
    I would guess

    1hr to get it
    2 hr to load
    1 hr to go home
    6 to split it
    2 stack it

    12 hours of hard work for 250 bucks off the gas bill. Plus I have to load it 3 times a day. I am already home doing nothing so it foesn't matter. Not worth it at all and had I known this new house was so efficient I wouls not have spent the money on a gasser outside.
  9. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    It took me 3 days of work to get 4 cords for wood here, figure 6 hours of labor a day or 4.5 hours per cord. Add to that splitting and stacking, for another 3.5 hours per cord, for a total of 8 hours per cord. At $12 an hour that is $96 a cord, gathered, hauled, split and stacked. 3.5 cords a year burned here on average, 28 hours labor for a grand total of $336.

    However, there are deductions from the labor cost. If I was being paid $12 an hour, I would get syphoned off for taxes to the tune of a $1 an hour for SS/MC, and $1.25 an hour for state income taxes, and about 2.50 an hour for federal income taxes. So deduct $4.75 an hour for taxes, meaning the 'cost' of equivalent labor would be reduced to $203. Another deduction is the cost of gas and rent. I average $40 in gas and $7 in trailer rental per cord of wood, for $47 per cord. So the cost increases by $164 for gas and trailer to $367 for 3.5 cords of wood. Which is why I am considering paying $300 for a 3 cord dumptruck load of doug fir log ends, as all I would have to do is buck, split and stack them here, reducing my gas, trailer rental and time/labor substantially.

    And there are hidden costs involved here, like the overhead of a computer and internet access, costs and insurance for the PU truck, and the cost of my chainsaws. But for comparison, I am saving $30/million BTU by not having to buy heat here (electricity is the only option). A cord of Doug fir (average density firewood for me here) has ~26 million BTU per cord, for a 'value' equivalent of $780 in electricity per cord of wood. 3.5 cords equals $2,730 a year saved in heating bills, which is why I heat with wood here. To make $2,730 to pay the bills, I would have to earn $4,518 a year to do that and pay the taxes on the income. I believe that more than pays for the hidden costs, my chainsaw collection, and all the rest. To think of it another way, I would have to work 376 hours, or 9.4 weeks a year, at $12 an hour to earn enough to heat my house with electricity for a year.
  10. __dan

    __dan Burning Hunk

    Joined:
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    241
    All I know is it's cold and rainy here, 4" rain/day, and when I heard the forecast all I could think was "whoo hoo" an excuse to make a fire.

    I would budget ~ 16 hours for me to make a cord myself. The smart way to do it is to buy cut, split, delivered.

    I will also do the math backwards. Last month dropped a dangerous red oak threatening my neighbors house. I climbed it and put my rigging on it, blocks and 3'4" rope, to make it fall in my yard. 26" base and 24" rounds over 20' up the trunk. It's all cut, split, and on pallets, 4 days, ~ 1.5+ cord. To my eye it looks like three months heat in the coldest winter weather.

    So, dropping the dangerous tree was probably $1000., two tanks of oil annually would be ~ $1875., My avoided, other cost, would have been $ 2875.

    Dividing by $12./hr is 239 hours of work for heat and the tree removal. Since I am under 4 cord annually for all the heat I want, that works out to 60 hours per cord equivalent. I have more than four years cordwood cut and in the yard right now and it was *a lot* easier than if I had to work to buy 8 tanks of oil.

    Plus, I preferred being cold over burning oil so I'm loving the heat also. Less work, more heat.
    BoilerMan likes this.
  11. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Holy schnikies batman! You have to be a skilled trade to make $16/hr here, and Management to make $32/hr!

    TS
    woodsmaster likes this.
  12. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    Havnt ever figured it out like that, but I know that each time I fire the boiler with a full load it takes $10.00 off my electric bill. My work is slow in the winter so I have the extra time to cut and split, etc...
  13. curtis

    curtis Member

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    I figure it takes me about an 1-1.5 hours to cut and split a cord, not sure how long it will take to stack it as its just piled up for right now but with the bigger wood for the garn it shouldnt take too long maybe 45-60 minutes? So say 2.5 hours to cut split and stack a cord. Thats $30 labor plus maybe 6 dollars for gas and the $67.50 it cost for the cord of wood to be trucked to my house that works out to $103.50 a cord. Not sure how much wood ill burn this coming up year but at I used around 500 gallons of fuel oil from december to april and i figure if i would have burned oil the whole year starting in october to april I would have burned quite a bit more. Say 700 gallons thats $2800 for oil and if the 150 gallons to a cord is correct i shoudl only burn around 5 cord at $517. So a possible savings of $2300 a year. Of course that didnt include the labor to fire the boiler everyday either.
  14. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    If I had to pay my self, working at the speed I work at, then it would be in my best interest to either buy wood or look into pellets or something like that.

    I guess it all comes down to what you have more of, time or money. I don't have a ton of each at the moment but generally it's easier for me to find extra time then extra money.

    K
    BoilerMan and woodsmaster like this.
  15. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Goose, I'm not trying to burst anyone's bubble. ;)

    What I am trying to do though is get a handle on the amount of time/$$ are involved in putting up a years supply of firewood and then using it up through the winter. I realize there are a lot of variables involved there and there is no absolute hard and fast number that applies to everyone.
    I recently had a couple customers decide to sell their wood burners and go with a pellet boiler because circumstances/jobs have changed. Both of them had Garns and you can't get a wood burner that requires less "user interaction" than that.
    Both of them are finding it difficult to not only come up with the time needed to procure/process their firewood but also be around the home when it's time to fire another load. One has run into increased family and job schedule problems and the other one is a surgeon so being there to load the wood burner is probably a bigger issue than actually putting up the wood. You can hire that done in the worst case.

    So I'm just searching for some "back of the napkin" math on how many hours are involved in the entire wood burning process in order to give people a better answer when they ask if burning wood is a good idea for them. I have to say that I see a fair amount of wood burners sitting around abandoned after 2-3 years of heating use. I have a feeling that along with issues related to typical maintenance, repair and outright failure of some of these boilers, (99% of which are OWB's) the user just flat out did not understand what they were getting into when they decided to burn wood. (Such as the lady that Boiler Bob posted about)
    I feel it's incumbent on me to provide at least a semi educated "picture" of the whole process when people ask "How much does it cost"?
    Any input or experience from any of you is welcome.
    BoilerMan likes this.
  16. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Feeling the Heat

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    Burning wood is like owning a pet.

    Pellets are a great 2nd best to burning cordwood.

    $3,624in labor
    BoilerMan likes this.
  17. hobbyheater

    hobbyheater Minister of Fire

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    Our house was rented out for 17 years. If the tenants' only reason for burning wood was to save money, hindsight would have told me this reasoning spelt trouble.
  18. Burning wood is like having a dog.
    Burning pellets is more like a cat. Doesn't really care if you are around every day.
    heaterman and goosegunner like this.
  19. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    For the wood I heat just my house with, about $60. Takes me about 5 hours to cut, split, haul to the house and stack 3 cords. The longest part of that is carting it from the driveway to the backyard with the lawn tractor and cart since I can't drive my dumptruck back there (septic system is in the way)

    Of course I have close to $100,000 of equipment I'm using and will process about 3000 cords this year if all works out.

  20. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    That's cheating ;)
    BoilerMan likes this.
  21. curtis

    curtis Member

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    I also am able to proccess wood with machinery. But know that when all I had was a chainsaw and splitter it would take about 1 1/2 hours of cutting and splitting (16inch small splits) to produce 1/3 of a cord so 4.5 hours a cord. I would say alot of it depends on what size wood you have to cut and split also.
  22. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    As with most things it is relative. If you are earning upper end & have other family/time pressures the labour of cord wood makes no sense. If the reverse is true & cash is tight well then cord wood makes alot of sense.
    woodsmaster likes this.
  23. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Yeah pretty much. Around here $16/hr would be barely over the poverty level. Not all that hard to find work that pays $30-50/hr, just have to work in the cold/hot and do a 2-3 week on/off schedule.



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