$500 a cord in Mass

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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
8,685
Northern NH
I was watching the local news in southern NH, they were interviewing a legit firewood dealer planning on selling 2000 cords this year. He looked like they had a lot of inventory in the background. They claim the phone is ringing off the hook for deliveries and that the going rate was $500 delivered (note a cord in Mass and southern NH is full cord 4x4x8 not a face cord. The weather just changed from a warm spell for the first two weeks of November (70 F on Saturday) to a forecast week of colder than normal temps. I guess its time for us "ants" to sit back and watch the "grasshoppers" panic :(
 
I have a friend who just bought some quality wood in central ma and he said he paid $500 a cord. He said it's dry and he's fairly well off financially so he's happy but damn that's big money. The same company was charging $300 a cord + $50 delivery 2 years ago when I bought some to get me started back when I broke into burning. Yikes. That's a 43% increase in just 2 years.

It pays, literally, to be prepared!
 
On Aquidneck Island in R.I. $430 for kiln dried that seems ok considering cost of everything else going up. It’s quality wood and a full cord.
 
$320 up in Ossipee NH for kiln dried "shorts" picked up.
 
This spring I had to buy a cord up at the lake. It came as 1.25 cords and was $260. It won’t be ready any time soon though. It was primarily oak and sugar maple.
 
I always get sideways looks when I tell people I don't own a furnace. I kind of enjoy it. "what?!?!". They always marvel at the low cost of how I heat my home. Then when I explain all the labor that goes into it the look changes to ehhh I'll pay the oil bill lol.

Most of you already know my setup but for those who don't my house is 100% electric. That is uncommon for this area as most homes have oil or natural gas. I have the following:

- 12 kw solar system
- Osbourn 1600 insert
- Trane heat pump (getting old, r22 system. Will be updating to more modern r410a soon). Works well down to 40 . Has backup resistance coils. They only ever run when it's below 0 to help the stove out.

Average total annual electricity costs: $400. I typically only get bills in Jan/Feb/Mar. The solar covers the rest.

Average total annual wood costs: $200 for 4 cords of hardwood delivered long length from local tree guy(s). I keep 12 cords (3 years worth) on hand at once.

The only other costs are for gas, oil, parts etc to run all my tools and the occasional top coverring replacement. I haven't had the time or money to build a proper shed yet. Then of course my time and labor but honestly it's not that much work once you get going and it's fun. Of course the stove, liner, solar etc all have up front costs but they truly are investments. Over the course of their lifetime they will more than pay you back.

So I'm able to heat, cool, and run everything in my house for under $1,000 annually which is pretty cool. My neighbor pays $600/mo for oil. Looks I said above the big difference is the work no that goes into it.

If you're young and capable though and have a good setup it's really not hard to stay ahead. It just takes some doing pre year 1 to get organized. Paying $500/cord is just wild but not everyone is willing to use a chainsaw etc.
 
It's a cycle. Once the novelty of burning wood wears off the new wood burners will give it up. Most won't like the work and the dirtiness of burning wood. I remember all of this from decades ago, always runs in cycles.

I agree that it will go back down, but it's when oil/gas prices go back down that it happens.
 
I am thankful for my local tree service guy who now delivers me log length wood free of charge whenever I ask. Just got a cord of red oak delivered last week. And finally getting 2-3 years ahead.
I was buying spilt wood for $275/cord a last year from a large landscape company. Not sure how much they increased their prices yet this year. But likely have gone up.
 
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$500/cord is nuts. We spend around $100/yr to heat with wood. We use a small space heater in the bathroom when it's below zero.
I get $300/cord for dry wood when I do sell any, with delivery extra.
 
Natural gas costs me $12.20/mmbtu. Comparing my 95% efficient condensing gas furnace to my ~70% efficient wood stove, a cord of birch would have to be under $180/cord for me to break even, not including any of the labor to haul, stack, and operate the stove.

For me wood heating is a hobby and source of enjoyment, if I had to take one day off work per year to get firewood I'd be better off financially to just burn gas.
 
Natural gas costs me $12.20/mmbtu. Comparing my 95% efficient condensing gas furnace to my ~70% efficient wood stove, a cord of birch would have to be under $180/cord for me to break even, not including any of the labor to haul, stack, and operate the stove.

For me wood heating is a hobby and source of enjoyment, if I had to take one day off work per year to get firewood I'd be better off financially to just burn gas.
In your situation, yes. BUT, everyone's situation is different. Try heating a drafty 1860's cabin/farmhouse in northern WI, MN, or MI at -50°F with gas and you will soon run out of money and running water. Solid fuel is the best way to pump heat into many of the houses in this area. My wife's family spent thousands on propane to TRY to heat this place 10-15 years ago. We are making improvements and making it more energy efficient, but it takes a hell of a lot of btu's to keep a house almost 150° warmer than it is outside, even with the best insulation. We like the house to be close to 80° in the winter. At 70°, your feet get chilled by the cold air running down the walls and across the floor, and that's how you know to add more wood.
 
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At that price I'm pretty sure I could heat my home with LP. But I have all the wood I will even need, just have to process about 3 1\2 to 4 cord per year. Good thing I like that work so much! Beats my real job!
 
$500 seems very steep! It's $250/cord here in Central MA for unseasoned hardwood (probably cut/split this spring) and $350 for a "seasoned" cord. The claim is 1.5yr+. I found this to be pretty much true, however about half of the wood was pretty wet (but not green) from being in a pile outside somewhere. The rest was mostly gray and pretty dry. I also have about 2-3 cords of red oak c/s/s that still needs to dry out and about 1.5 cord of very dry stuff from last year. I bought two cords of the 1.5yr expecting it will be ready to burn later this season. We'll see.
I've been thinking about making a solar kiln for the red oak like @Woodsplitter67 told us about...
 
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If people are dumb enough to pay it I'd be raising the price to $600. It's all about what the market will bear and today the market is crazy. Why do all of the work and sell for $250 a cord when you can do 1/2 the work and make the same or more money selling at $500? There's a lot of people with a lot of money and the trick is to get them to part with it.
 
Unless you have different zones for heating in your house trying to compare cost between wood and other fuels is hard to quantify, with most houses when you set the temperature at 70 the whole house will try to be at 70, I believe that heating with wood changes that. We have heated with wood for many years in various houses and shaped our lifestyle around that, our current house was built around 1765 with scant insulation, our answer to that is we basically heat one room with wood and our kitchen with a plug in space heater the rest of the house is cold. I know this is not the answer for everyone but I think heating with wood requires a different outlook on how we heat our homes.
 
Unless you have different zones for heating in your house trying to compare cost between wood and other fuels is hard to quantify, with most houses when you set the temperature at 70 the whole house will try to be at 70, I believe that heating with wood changes that.
I agree, it's difficult to calculate and normalize. I've been trying to prevent my heat from turning on at all when burning the wood. I have a 2-story colonial, 2100sqft, not including a finished basement. Three heating zones, stove is on the main/first floor. The first floor zone never calls for heat if the stove is running. The basement I keep at a lower temp, plus the thermostat is near the boiler so reads artificially high anyway. Therefore the challenge becomes the 2nd floor. I've experimented with ceiling fans but I'm finding I get the best results (I think) without any fans and just allowing natural convection to do it's thing. It was pretty cold outside here for a few days (20F yesterday morning) and my upstairs only had a brief (10min) call for heat at about 5:30AM (scheduled set temp changes from 65F to 67F). I'm ok with that. Once I reloaded the stove, upstairs got up to 69F pretty quickly.
 
$500 is nuts, at that price you might as well buy biobricks.

We've been paying $250 a cord delivered, and based on the town facebook group $250-$300 still seems to be the norm here.
 
I agree with that, but there is also a moral line that one does not wish to cross.
I'm sorry, the moose at the gate should have told you what this capitalist society is all about today. morals? We don't need no stinkin' morals! Look at the price of crude oil compared to gas and diesel prices and look what it's been in the past.
 
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I understand the idea of charging what the market will bear, but I also don't want to take advantage of people. I dunno, maybe I'm just looking at it the wrong way. Maybe that's why I'm not rolling in money.
No, IMO I don't think you are looking at it the wrong way, Isaac. I have my own small business, and I charge a fair price for my products. I could probably charge more and get it from 80% of my customers and still bring in the same amount for the number of customers I might lose, but I think of the customers who may not have that extra money, and I don't want to take advantage or bleed people. It would be less work for me, but I just wasn't raised that way.