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Stats on % of US that frequently burn wood?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by wahoowad, Jul 28, 2006.

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  1. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    I was trying to make a point with someone but didn't have any research to back it up.

    Anybody know or have a link to anything that suggests the % of all American households that make use of wood burning appliances? I know there is a difference between occasional use and regular use but any stats that break it down would be great. I'd like to be able to say "the percent of american households that use a woodstove or fireplace at least several times a season is X"

    Just for fun I'm gonna guess 8%. I have no idea. I live in Virginia and don't know how widespread the use is in colder northern states.

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  2. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    I'm sure the stove/furnace industry could tell you how many total units were sold in the last year, 5 years, or even 30 years. But that really doesn't tell you how many are regularly used and I doubt you will ever find such a number because it would require in the very least, a huge survey. I live in PA which has reasonably cold winters, but I only know two other people that use wood stoves. I don't know of any builders or developers in the region that offer wood stoves as an option for new construction, and not a single person that I know of in my relatively new development (7 years old, 80 homes) owns a wood burning stove or furnace. Only one guy has a wood pile, and he burns it in a stinky innefficient, traditional fireplace. Many of the homes have natural gas fireplaces, and a few traditional fireplaces that seem to be rarely used.

    The price of natural gas and oil has doubled recently, but we had a mild winter this year. I think a lot of people are about to get hammered with utility bills, so I expect wood stove sales to be up. Still, it seems most people don't want to bother with handling wood or building fires (maybe lazy, maybe just want to keep life simple, who knows?) so I can't really see it ever becoming very popular, which is good at least in the sense that it means more free or low cost wood for the rest of us. The only things I can think of that might change this is if there's ever a serious depression again in America, or we hit peak oil and gas and people have little choice but to find an alternative. But by the time you hit the point of not being able to pay your bills, can you really afford a stove? Probably not.


  3. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    I don't expect an exact number, just looking for whatever stat there might be. I would think someone in the biz might have access to some figures.
  4. KP Matt

    KP Matt New Member

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    I know you're looking for U.S. numbers, but I don't see why numbers in the northern states would be much different from Canada. Most of the variables are pretty similar - culture, climate, wood availability, regulation.

    I'm looking at a Canadian gov't publication that says that more than one million Canadian families heat their homes at least partly with wood. Let's assume 2.5 humans per family, so that's 2.5 million people. Probably 7 or 8% of the population.

    That publication was most recently revised in June 2005, I don't imagine the numbers have gone down since then.
  5. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    True nunbers will never be recorded. I know in my town ther are at least 25 un-permitted wood stoves in use possibly double that
    you will never get all unpermited users to admit to their use. One example on my street about 1/4 mile away
    I see the chimney sweep van and the liner laying out on the lawn Iam pressed for time and do not have the time to investigate or ask questions. Time goes on,, then 2 cords of wood show up in the driveway. I know they have an insert installed I see the familiar smoke pattern rising out of the chimney So We send them a notice reminding them compliance and permits are required.
    Weeks go by no response, so I called them, they deny the existance of an insert, but they are using a fireplace for heat?
    I did take the number off the installers truck, they told me they installed the insert. these people told I have the wrong home that it must have been in the neighboring home. At this point I know I am being lied to but the next step is such a hassle. Not worth persuing. I have to petition the courts and request a court order To enter the home escorted witha court officer. I also have to prove some sort of evidence that the owners have installed an insert and are in code violation. Believe me the installers do not want to get involved as they too can be facing dissiplanry actions. They promised me to never install another stove in my town without a permit, which is good enough for me. I have no intentions of put them out of business.

    Point being statistics will be impossible to obtain. Will it help you to know 236 deaths occured from wood stove fireplace incidents/
    74% of the wood stoves were installed incorrectly and not permitted or inspected. Also found chimneys do need to be cleaned. Fire depts across USA responded to 14,000 or more calls concerning fireplace /wood stoves (Year 2003 stats) Iam sure they increased in 2005 but not recorded yet that I can find
  6. PutnamJct

    PutnamJct Member

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    You'd also have to figure in people who use wood and (fill in the blank)

    I use pellets, next house on my right uses propane, next house on the left uses wood supplemented with 750 gallons of oil. Across the road wood only.
    I'm in a very rural wooded area.

    John
  7. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I would not expect Canadian culture and use to be similar to northern states. Maybe Maine and Vermont, but not Mass. or NY. Remember 8 million people in New York City, and I'd bet .00005 % have wood stoves.

    Where I live, 1.5 hours out of NYC, me and 2 out of 3 neighbors all burn wood. so that's 3 out of 4 houses. BUT that is very untypical demographics. I'd say percentage is growing fast. Based on inventory local dealers were willing to load up on this summer too. percentage? 10% would be high.
  8. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    Jeez, read this stat many months ago. Will try to remember where it came from.

    As I recall, the percentage that used wood as a primary heat source was less than 1%.
  9. jabush

    jabush Feeling the Heat

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    I don't know but I'd have to say a very small percentage burn wood. In my immediate neighborhood (bordering lots), three out of five of us burn wood. One of the three is a part time burner. But I don't think that is representative of the metro area. I think around here most people crank up the heat pump and groan about the electric bill.
  10. KP Matt

    KP Matt New Member

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    Not a lot of wood burners in downtown Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver, I don't imagine. Wouldn't you say the bigger the city and the closer to the core, the less likely people are to heat with wood - assuming a climate where wood heat would be useful. Exception to that might be the 'burbs... I really don't know to what extent suburbanites have embraced wood heat; my sense is that it wouldn't mesh with their sensibilities - too much mess, too much physical work. On the other hand the 'burbs are so sparsely inhabited that it's a great place for wood heat, from an air quality perspective.
  11. spot

    spot New Member

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    Before the 20th century, 90% of Americans burned wood to heat their homes. As fossil fuel use rose, the percentage of Americans using wood for fuel dropped, falling as low as one percent by 1970. Then during the energy crises of the 1970s, interest in wood heating resurfaced as a renewable energy alternative.

    http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/space_heating_cooling/index.cfm/mytopic=12570


    This website has lots of info on all kinds of alternative energy sources, wind, solar, etc.
  12. Dave_1

    Dave_1 New Member

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    The following is found on page # 10, first paragraph under the header

    A. OWB Operation and Smoke

    on this New York website http://www.burningissues.org/pdfs/ny-outdoor-wood-boilers-05.pdf

    <snip>

    "Wood smoke is one of the primarycontributors to certain types of air pollution in the United States, especially in rural areas. Even though wood combustion accounts for only about 9% of the nation's home heating needs, it accounts for an estimated 45% of the total fine particulate matter directly released by all fuel combustion used for residential heating."

    <snip>

    Dave
  13. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    dave that link has been discussed time and time again I used that info to get my local Board of health to pass regulations based upon the research of that atricle. One of the leading canidates for MA govenor has that info and is using it as part of his clean air enviorment friendly policy. I have a local state Senator also willing to introduce a simmilar leglislation bill to be implememted in our state of MA. We have discissed that issue here. The crux of it is to force that part of the wood heating industry to institute clean burning practices. They do not have to be EPA certified. They can burn green unseasoned wood pumping out huge amounts of polluntants . They are ineffecient and use huge vollumes of wood common use is 16 cords a year
  14. Dave_1

    Dave_1 New Member

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    Elk, found such when considering at catalytic conversion to my Fisher.
    Sorry, didn't know it had been discussed previously.
    My apology.
  15. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    The issue has not gone away and should be exposed time and time again till OWb clean up their act.


    Nothing to appoligise about Bring it out in a new post
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