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My first season burning results.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by dsheehan56, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. dsheehan56

    dsheehan56 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Oil stats:
    Filled: 9/21/2012 - $3.389 gallon $833.02 (245 gallons)
    Usage: 9/21-11/26 = 67 days 3.36 gallons per day = $11.49 per day
    Filled: 11/27/2012 - $3.419 gallon $772.00 (225 gallons)
    Usage: 11/27-1/6 = 41 days 5.9 gallons per day = $20.59 per day
    VC Merrimack installed 12/20
    Filled: 1/7/2013 - $3.489 gallon $843.29 (242 gallons)
    Usage: 1/7-2/27 = 52 days 4.76 gallons per day = $16.64 per day
    Filled 2/28/2013 - $3.489 gallon $867.37 (248 gallons)

    Fireplace Insert was installed 12/20/2012. VC Merrimack.
    Insert shows a savings of $4/per day in oil heating costs.
    However, wood costs over that same period of 69 days of burning wood were $7.25 per day, resulting in a net cost increase of $3.30 per day than using oil alone.

    To be fair, it was mild before the fireplace insert was installed and was extremely cold this Winter for a good stretch. First year in this house, so I guess I really don't know how much oil I would have used in the dead of winter.

    House is 4200 sq/ft built in 2000.

    Disappointing results for me. I burned 24x7.
    OldLumberKid likes this.

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  2. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    1,960
    Loc:
    southern ontario
    If you are really interested in feeling a bit better about things: Check your utility's website. Probably shows the degree days for heating for each day. If not, then you can get the info at one of the weather sites. Look at how much oil you used per degree day Sept to Nov. How much used Nov to Jan. Figure out how much that increased with decreasing temps (straight line, exponential?). Should give you a good rough guide for estimating how much oil you would have burned each day during the period after you installed the stove, had you not had the stove. With how much colder the weather was, I'm betting you you'll be pleasantly surprised at your savings. Your oil usage jumped over 50 % per day from Sept.-nov. to nov-Jan. And 18 of those 41 days you were heating with wood 24/7 as well as the oil....bet your usage actually would have doubled.... Bet the temp decrease was a least as much again during the next period. I'm betting you would have used a minimum of 10 gallons per day during the really cold weather, perhaps as much as 15. You actually used 3 1/2. If I'm right (using the 10 gallon figure) , you saved 6 1/2 x $3.50 (?plus tax or tax included?) = $22.75 per day, minus $7.25 per day for wood = a net gain of $15.50 per day. For 70 days.

    Maybe as much as a thousand dollars saved. Heating with oil is expensive.

    Feel better?
    OldLumberKid, PapaDave, Joful and 2 others like this.
  3. dsheehan56

    dsheehan56 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Thanks rideau...

    I do feel better now. ;-)

    Forgot to add, that since I've been burning, the downstairs is definitely warmer than I would keep it while using oil only.
    gyrfalcon and PapaDave like this.
  4. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    southern ontario
    :)
    gyrfalcon and PapaDave like this.
  5. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2012
    Messages:
    676
    Loc:
    NW CT
    Is your insert supposed to heat over 4000sf? Do you have zoned heat and I so did you run it less in the zones near the fireplace? Were you warmer than usual inside the house? Burning 24/7 shoul have given you some improvement in these areas...
  6. dsheehan56

    dsheehan56 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    The insert is good for 2200 sq/ft. There are 5 heating zones. The heating zones downstairs definitely worked less than they would have. The room the insert is in has it's own zone and it remained off and was the warmest room in the house.
    The room the insert is in is 24x18 with 15 foot ceilings, so that is a task in itself.

    I guess I just expected more with hearing the stories on here.

    I will have burned 4 cords+ by Spring.
    Far more than I expected and the moving/stacking/loading/cleaning ash is enjoyable still for me, but It's not for everyone.

    I just wanted to get this out there for the next newbie to read.
    My expectations were skewed, but now I know.
    Would I do it again? Probably, but I'm a glutton for punishment.
    OldLumberKid likes this.
  7. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    southern ontario
    15 foot ceilings. How is your draft? Are you burning the wood slow enough to get all the energy you can out of it? Is the wood seasoned? (If not, you'll find next year if you use seasoned wood you;ll get more heat from less wood) How long are your burns? How tall is your chimney? How quickly are you closing the air down? 4 cords (real cords?) is a lot for two or three months. How large is the opening from the insert room to the rest of the home? Have you tried fans to try to move warm air into the rest of the home? Are you using a ceiling fan to push the warm air down? If not, you may have really hot air near the ceiling. What is the usual temp in that room at 3 foot height? Does that big room have lots of windows? Face N or S? E or W?

    Don't get discouraged yet.
  8. Nick Mystic

    Nick Mystic Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    766
    Loc:
    Western North Carolina
    A house that big must have a lot of different rooms to heat and wood stoves or inserts have a tough time moving heat like a forced air furnace does. We have a Woodstock Classic in our 1100 sq. ft. lower level and it does a good job heating the space, but not much heat makes to the upper level of the house. Inserts generally don't throw as much heat as a free standing stove, so that's going to be a factor, as well. If you were getting your wood for free (not counting the cost of your effort) you would of course be seeing much more savings. If we didn't have our own wood lot I doubt I would heat with with wood if I had to buy my wood. I'll be interested to hear if you see more savings once you get a better feel for how to make the most efficient use of your insert.
  9. dsheehan56

    dsheehan56 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    The draft is superb as far as I can tell. I say that because, when it was the open fireplace I'd get smoke when it was windy outside. Now, with the blocker plate and 6" insulated stainless chimney....I never get smoke. Even during that hurricane Sandy when the winds were 80mph, I just cruised along with no issues. Also, the burns are very well controlled by the stoves air controls. The only time I lose the ability to slow down the burn as much as I'd like is when I feed it kiln dried wood without mixing in some regular seasoned wood.

    I got 4 facecords of wood. 2 kiln dried and 2 regular seasoned. I have 3/4 facecord left. The kiln dried is 15-20% on the moisture meter. The regular seasoned is 20-25%.
    I know I shouldn't be using the kiln dried stuff, but I love it. Burns very hot and clean. I just make sure it's a 50/50 load and all is well.

    My chimney is 18 feet tall.

    The room with the insert is open to the kitchen and living room. Big openings.
    The ceiling fan in the insert room is always on low in reverse with airflow going towards the ceiling.
    The insert room is on South side of house. 6 large windows spread on South, East and West sides. North side is connected to house.

    A full load burn will burn with a flame for 6-8 hours. Then a good coal bed for several more hours.
    The firebox can take quite a bit of wood. North/South or East/West. I can get 10 good sized splits in there North/South.
    A typical load day: I load at 10PM and wake up to coals. 7AM Load her up and she lights up to full flame with 15-20 minutes. 3PM rinse/repeat.
    Many times I keep feeding her 3 split loads during the day and skip the 3PM load.


    The insert room is typically 70-73 degrees.

    I never use fans, other than the ceiling fan in the room to move the air around.
  10. claybe

    claybe Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    263
    Loc:
    Colorado
    Does your insert have a blower? If so, do you use it? I keep my blower on high all the time and it moves the air into my back rooms only on 1 floor. I would seriously consider using some fans to move the air around. Also with that much square footage I don't think you will find any inside stove to heat that much space. Can you add another wood stove? Good luck!
  11. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    southern ontario
    You would find that if you put a small fan on the floor at the northern end of the home, pointing toward the area heated by the insert. This will push colder air into the stove room and force warmer air out of it into the entire home, and get more even temperatures. You might then be able to use even less oil. If I were you, I would try turning the thermostats way down in the zoned rooms, and attempt to circulate the heat from the stove. See what happens. Many of us don't use any supplementary heat. Just have to tweek your home with fan placement until you learn what works for you. You may well need supplementary heat, but can likely reduce it significantly. Have you ever tried measuring the temperature near the ceiling in the great room?

    I shut curtains as soon as the sun starts to set, because that is when you start to lose heat out the glass. Even if there is still a good deal of light out, I close the curtains. Makes a big difference.

    You've burned a full cord in a little over two months. That is not bad at all. $7.25 a day for wood x 70 days = $500 for the full cord? Roughly? That is pretty steep. Most pay a lot less than that.
  12. claybe

    claybe Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2008
    Messages:
    263
    Loc:
    Colorado
    I paid $200 for a mix of mostly hardwood cord. I estimate it is costing me 4 dollars a day to pay for wood, but I started behind. I won't pay for wood again. We have radiant heat and were paying over 10 dollars a day in electricity, so I think we are doing good.
  13. dsheehan56

    dsheehan56 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    I've burned 3 1/4 cords out of 4 so far. Some of it went into the fireplace before the insert was installed.
    I paid $250 for each regular seasoned facecord and $350 for the kiln dried facecords.

    Burning 24x7 I burn 1 1/4 facecord per month.

    The insert does have a blower, which is on full speed unless I am cleaning out ash.
    The insert does put out a ton of heat, I guess it just gets gobbled up in the square footage.

    I guess the moral of the story is, don't think you can shutdown the boiler for the winter in a 4200 sq/ft house when the insert is only rated for 2200 sq/ft. ;)
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  14. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    29,086
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    I burn a cord of three year dried oak a month in a 2500 sq. ft. house here in the tropics of Virginia. 1 1/4 face cords a month ain't even trying hard in a barn the size of yours.
  15. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    676
    Loc:
    NW CT
    Agree. We've burned 3 real cords in 2000 sf in CT. Your stove is a miser with the wood, if anything. But if you're not getting enough heat out of it, talk a little about your loading and burning habits and schedule and see if the more experienced folks here (not me!) can make some suggestions.

    ETA you do know that a face cord is way less than a cord, right?
  16. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Try the fans. You may be amazed.

    And you are paying way too much for wood. That is more like what people pay for full cords (three face cords).
    How can they get away with charging $1050 for a full cord of kiln dried wood, and $750 for air dried? This is way over 50 % more than it should be.
    1 1/4 face cords per month is not much wood: a face cord nominally is about 43 cubic feet, but actually consists of more like 32 cubic feet. But a 3 cu foot firebox doesn't hold 3 cubic feet of wood either. SO: 1 1/4 cords =
    about 55 cubic feet, divided by 30 days, equals 1.833 cu feet a day of firewood. Not a lot of wood in each fire. At three fires a day, we are talking .611 cu ft per load. Pretty good to be heating that well with that much wood a day. We are definitely talking face cords and not full cords? If so, you are averaging $300 a face cord, or $375.00 a month for wood

    Hope you have room to dry your own wood, and have been able to buy and stack your wood for next year.

    ADDENDUM: Going back to the earlier savings calculation post:
    10 gallons per day (min) times 30 days = 300 gallons per month x $3.50=$1050 - $375 cost of heating with wood) =$675 savings per month heating with wood this year during coldest months.

    Sort of warms the heart, doesn't it?
  17. sailor61

    sailor61 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    112
    Loc:
    Warwick, RI
    250 for a face cord? YIKES....that means a real cord is likely in the 750 range? or is a face cord made up of more than 16 inch splits? I was concerned about paying 220 for a full cord of 20 month seasoned stuff here in RI.....
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  18. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Meadow Valley, CA
    That was my thought...the prices you are paying desheehan are outrageous. Here the price for 11% pine or cedar split and delivered are about 160 per true cord out of season and 200 in season
  19. dsheehan56

    dsheehan56 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Perhaps I am not using the correct term with facecord?

    I thought a facecord was when you fill two 8 foot long racks 4 feet high, but the splits are shorter than a full 24 inches.

    Isn't a true cord 8'x4'x4' high, no?
  20. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    a face cord is 1/3 of a cord that is 4X4X8....still too high if a price IMHO
  21. dsheehan56

    dsheehan56 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2012
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    Loc:
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Yeah, I guess they saw me coming. My "cords" are 32"x4x8.

    So, only 2 stacks of 16" splits 4 feet high and 8 feet long.

    Those basturds owe me another row of 16" splits 4 feet high and 8 feet long.

    Season 1 under the belt. A bit humbled, but I'm ready now.
  22. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    It is very common for unscrupulous wood sellers to load up a pickup truck and tell you it is a cord....you have to trust who you deal with and know that it is is true cord 4x4x8....heard a story of a Honda Accord that had the license plate that said 4x4x8....get it? a cord? accord? from then on I never was able to forget exactly what a cord measured. call em up and chew em out. you paid a premium price as it was for the wood, then they short you...shame on them
    Woody Stover likes this.
  23. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    "Face cord" is a unit of area, not volume; it means a single-row stack the side of which measures 32 square feet. There is no fixed relationship between the number of face cords and the number of actual cords because it varies with split length, which is why "face cords" is not a legally recognized unit of measurement.
    Trooper and PapaDave like this.
  24. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    560
    Understanding or looking at the floor plan of the house would be helpful. My guess is the heat isn't moving around much to the other rooms. I also don't think an insert is capable to support the whole place. 4K ft is a LOT of space to heat.

    But more power to you for being one of those rugged yankee Massholes like me that is gonna burn come hell or high water to do his best to keep that EVIL OIL man away from our door!

    ...and Go Sox!
  25. nate vignola

    nate vignola New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
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    I figure I'll end up at 12 tons of pellets burned for this winter (includes DHW). I haven't seen cord wood less than $225 for the past few months.
    Maybe a small pellet stove could be added to the basement?

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