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Two Cords Enough for N.E. Massachusetts?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Mass. Wine Guy, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Mass. Wine Guy

    Mass. Wine Guy Feeling the Heat

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    I realize this is totally subjective, but I'd be interested in hearing from folks in New England, especially northeast Mass./southeast NH. I have a little over two cords of nice wood for the winter. My house is about 1,500 sq. feet, two floors. The stove is in the newer, insulated addition. I have radiators heated by natural gas for the rest of the house in case it gets unbearably freezing, but I try not to use it if I don't have to.

    How much wood do you generally go through in a typically cold winter? Last year was definitely an exception to this.

    Thanks.

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Obviously depends on how much you run it, and how hot you like it. For my situation, I went through 3.5 cord last winter heating pretty much exclusively with wood. A normal winter is 4 to 4.5.

    Just remember, that every bit of wood your burn is going to be saving your money. That said, if you don't overheat the house and waste wood, then that will help maximize the savings with the amount of wood you have.

    If I only had 2 cord of wood to burn, I think I'd be burning in evenings only for the time being, and save most of it for Jan / Feb.

    ETA: Also, do you have next year's wood lined up so that you don't have to worry about being short again and you can be guaranteed it's well seasoned? If not, get on it!

    pen
  3. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    The classical answer is 3 cords plus/minus 1. You will probably be running a bit short unless your house is really well insulated. What kind of stove do you have? The kind of wood may also make a difference; two cords of dry oak will certainly go much further than 2 cords of pine (to take the extremes). If I would heat our upstairs floor (~ 1200 sqft) exclusively with wood we would probably need 3 to 4 cords but our insulation is not the best. Given that nat gas is so cheap right now I do not mind supplementing our woodstove a bit.
  4. KarlP

    KarlP Feeling the Heat

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    Get four. Its better to have a cord too much than a cord to little. If you don't burn it this spring it will just burn better next fall. As long as you store it off the dirt (on pallets or whatever) I wouldn't even think about it going bad until you have 5+ years supply on hand.
  5. Mass. Wine Guy

    Mass. Wine Guy Feeling the Heat

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    I know natural gas prices are said to be low now, but my company charges amazing rates just for transporting the gas. The gas I use could cost, say, $45, but the total bill would be closer to $100 or more. A typical winter bill if I use it a lot can run close to $400.

    I use a Jotul Castine, my wood is all decent hardwood that's pretty well seasoned (a tiny bit of hissing sometimes, but burns well). We generally do use the stove in the evenings, unless we're home and it's a raw day outside. Maybe I'll try to lay in another cord.

    I plan to get wood for next season around April so I can pay less for it and get it ready to burn.
  6. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    If you are in Mass you probably are getting a lot of Oak. Oak requires 2 years of seasoning so if you buy wood now it still wont be ready for next year but will be a lot closer. If the wood is hissing you are loosing a lot of heat. Two cords is fien for weekend and supplemental heating but if you pln on seved days a week, buy more.
    firewoodjunky likes this.
  7. firewoodjunky

    firewoodjunky Member

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    I go around 5ish cords a year. Sometimes 4, sometimes a bit more than 5. This is in a 2900 square foot, two story house a little bit south of you.

    If you can afford it, you plan on burning to be a significant part of heating your home, and you have space to store the wood, I would recommend buying 4 or 5 cords of "seasoned" wood and 4 or 5 "green" cords, then you just need to order more "green" every year.

    Or, if you have the time and inclination, start scrounging/cutting to reduce or replace having to purchase wood.
  8. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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  9. WoodPorn

    WoodPorn Minister of Fire

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    I'm South of you and heating primarily w/wood and a bit of pellets 28hundred(ish) sq ft and with a non epa stove I'll hit about 5 cord.
  10. mikey517

    mikey517 Member

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    Kenny, is that you??
  11. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Can you give us an idea of how often you plan on burning?
    Just to the east of you, so I work from home 3 days a week. I burn from 6:00am to about 8:00-9:00pm at night for those days I am at home and on weekends. House is a 2 story colonial with decent insulation. I burn about 2 cords per year with my setup. If you are going to burn 24/7 I would think you would need to be in the 4 cord area.
  12. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    As others have said we also need to know how well insulated/ sealed your house is and how hot you like it.

    I live in a 1400 ft2 antique. Its pretty tight for an antique but drafty by modern supertight standards. Retrofit insulation of around R8 in the walls and R18-R30 in the roof.

    I burn weekends Nov-Mar, and occasional weeknights when its really cold. I keep the stove room around 73-75F which keeps the rest of the house in high 60s to 70. This plus the occasional fireplace fire will consume around 1.5- 2 cord depending on the winter (I think we average around 5000 HDD). I'd plan for 3-4 cord if I was heating full time.
  13. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    $400 to heat the entire house with n.g. for a winter? Sounds like a good deal to me, compared to bought wood.
  14. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    He has to mean monthly... Even supplementing with wood I burn 800-1000 $ of gas, and that's at the current dirt cheap rates of around a buck a therm including the transportation charges and fees. I use $400 - $500 a year in gas just to run the water heater.

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