After a few years - Cost of running my wood stove

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beermann

Feeling the Heat
Jan 16, 2017
317
canada
Just wanted to throw out an update and a comparison of costs/savings and mistakes of inefficiency using my wood insert (regency i1100s). I'll give my summery at the end.

First year I installed the insert I had no block off plate and I went through a lot of wood (a lot for my city living) About 4.5 full cords. We had a problem, as soon as the fire died down we could feel the cold creeping in. I only saved about $40/month in heating costs because temperatures inside would drop quickly and central heat would kick on nearly all the time.

Second year I installed an insulated blockoff plate. It now heated up a little faster and we did not get as much of a draft when the fire died down. Saving from doing this were negligible but we did notice more warmth inside the living room during the burn but as soon as it stopped we felt that chill again. I however was unable to find the time to get as much wood as I needed so ultimately we did not come out ahead.

Year 3 we replaced the 60 year old windows from 3 large single panel windows to 3 large double panel high efficiency windows, foam insulated around the windows and also replaced the door with a high efficiency door and insulated around it as well.

Year three to current date we save at least $100/month supplementing wood heat whenever I was home throughout the cold days.

This year however I am home nearly all the time. For about 3 months we did not turn on any central heating, nothing 24hrs a day. This month winter finally hit the -1c to -5c and the colder -20c is coming. I'll be saving about $200 on my next heating bill. This does not include savings after not running any central heating for 3 months. I only recently used up 1 facecord. My plan is to save more during the colder months by burning only during the day and running the central heating at night.

More savings are coming this year as I'm home more than ive ever been and I turn down central heating as soon as I wake. Then I start the insert up whenever I feel the chill. When no one else is in the house I keep central heat as low as 15° and only fire up the insert when I'm done doing housework or when the kids are about to come home from school.

On the weekends when everyone is home I keep the living room nice and balmy. I usually maintain +24°c and the hallway leading down to the bedrooms is usually 22° (while typing this out its 24°c in the hallway and very very warm in the living room, I have a window opened)....so year one was a struggle to get the hallway to 20°c and I had to burn allll the time to stop the cold from creeping in. Now we just fire it up and the temperature inside starts to climb and stay inside!

Bedrooms stay a little chilly but we like it that way.

In conclusion if you entertaining a wood fireplace I highly suggest evaluating your windows and doors. Make a plan on when and how your going to burn your wood and the savings should justify the cost. The biggest reason my cost is quickly justified is because my insert was $300 second hand, I installed it myself while being guided by a certified professional who I consulted regularly. My wood is free as it only costs me my time and labour. Without the Insulated windows, door and plateI I would be constantly feeding it wood. Getting these done were key features to make burning wood less of a chore to stay warm.

Hope this is insightful for anyone considering wood as a heating source. If money is an issue take note that I forego'd a lot of expenses but used a reliable and professional source to walk me through the installation.
 
Last edited:

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
2,997
Long Island NY
Nice summary. Good for you.

Given your windows, I suggest to go up in your attic and seal all the gaps (foam at head boards/drywall, and external walls, silicone at all electrical boxes), followed by adding insulation (I had R19 between the joists, which was a bit older, so not likely R19 in efficiency, and I added R38 bats (unfaced) perpendicular to the joists on top). Heat goes up. It goes through drywall and then inside those walls it empties into the attic. This cost me $1000 and 8 weekends or so.

Also add insulation in outlet boxes, especially on external walls.

In the end, savings are about how much energy you loose to the great outdoors. Whether it came from oil, gas, or wood. Save on wood labor by insulating more.

And of course, use dry wood. The less moisture (<20%), the less energy you waste evaporating that water.
 

beermann

Feeling the Heat
Jan 16, 2017
317
canada
Nice summary. Good for you.

Given your windows, I suggest to go up in your attic and seal all the gaps (foam at head boards/drywall, and external walls, silicone at all electrical boxes), followed by adding insulation (I had R19 between the joists, which was a bit older, so not likely R19 in efficiency, and I added R38 bats (unfaced) perpendicular to the joists on top). Heat goes up. It goes through drywall and then inside those walls it empties into the attic. This cost me $1000 and 8 weekends or so.

Also add insulation in outlet boxes, especially on external walls.

In the end, savings are about how much energy you loose to the great outdoors. Whether it came from oil, gas, or wood. Save on wood labor by insulating more.

And of course, use dry wood. The less moisture (<20%), the less energy you waste evaporating that water.
Sounds like I'm going to have a look in my attic. I'm not sure how it's all built up but I'll have a look and see.