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Lbs of cordwood per heating degree day

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by jldunn, Nov 14, 2006.

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  1. jldunn

    jldunn New Member

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    Oct 24, 2006
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    Loc:
    Syracuse, NY
    I've begun to notice that no matter how cold or warm it is I tend to burn wood at about the same rate. Since I normally wouldn't keep the house as warm as it gets when its warm outside and the wood stove is running it seems that I'm actually losing money over natural gas (since my wood stove is burning steady 24/7 regardless of temp whereas the furnace operates less in warmer weather).

    What I'm wondering is has anyone looked at how cold it has to be before you start saving money (thinking it'd be some function of heating degree days). I know I could probably just burn at night or something, but I'm still to pyro to let it burn out.

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  2. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    middleborough, ma.
    I know I will be more prepared for next season.

    We'll burn pine when its not so cold and oak when its really Winter.

    Its only my labor and gas for the chainsaw as expenses for me though.
  3. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
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    Midwest
    Sounds like this is your personal preference?

    I guess there are two ways you can go about it...fire the wood stove constantly and open windows and doors to control the heat...which seems pretty wasteful. Or burn low BTU wood, or small splits on the warmer days just to take the chill off. Then save the big splits of wood for the cold days when you need a roaring fire and whole house heat.

    True, the wood stove is not like a furnace, you can't just flip a knob and get less heat...even the air control will only go so far. It is kind of up to the operator to have one eye on the weather and one eye on the woodpile. Selecting the proper type, size and amount of wood for the given outdoor temp and desired indoor temp is a little bit of an art form as much as lighting a fire and burning it efficiently.

    Your lbs of wood per heating degree day is a good idea, but would vary for everyone individually. Variables such as housing layout, amount of insulation, stove efficiency, desired indoor temp, wood species burned, and more would all come into play. It would be fairly simple to determine your own requirements, though. Something as simple as a small scale to weigh the wood used to fire the stove and a notepad to keep tally of the total. Then just look up your heating degrees on the internet.

    Corey
  4. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Be interesting to track, but I guess I wouldn't have enough time to worry about it. If it's cold in the house the stove gets lit. If it's not that cold outside I dont' load it up and use lower BTU wood since it doesn't burn as long. Once house is warm and outside it's warm...House stays warm for many hours. 80 degrees in the livingroom gets the whole thermal mass of the house up if the outside temp isn't very high, so it stays there a while.

    I'm not burning 24/7 yet, athough I did for a few days a month ago or so... Just evening fires now and then.

    Burning wood is clearly an art form, and close track of temps helps a lot. If the correlation of degree days helps...sounds like an interesting project to track.
  5. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

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    Loc:
    Rutland, VT//Southern Quebec
    It is an art form....

    The last couple weeks we have the off and on cycles and getting the fire sized right and wood type..On sunday the Mrs. says to me, "I really appreciate the different wood you set up for me for the week"...We always start out with the poplar and then into the real hardwoods..this year i took it a step further, went from the poplar now we are into the silver and softer maples and it made me happy that she noticed.

    Got the apple and the hard hack for the below zero stuff on the other side..
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