Do you save money heating with wood?

Alpine1

Feeling the Heat
Apr 27, 2017
366
Eastern Alps, Italy
Heating with the oil furnace would cost around 3.500 € per winter. Wood costs me about 13 € for TWO winters. The math is simple enough. In two winters I saved so much money that, at the end of this coming cold season, the break even point will be reached and for both stoves and related paraphernalia. One more winter and the splitter and saw(s) will pay for themselves and leave significant savings. From winter 5 on, 3000+ euros in my pocket every year.
Difficult to beat wood heating!
 
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Medic21

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2017
1,060
Northern Indiana
It all depends on how you look at the numbers. Install for my OWB is an 8 year payback based on average price of propane. But, that’s not including the $6k I have in chainsaws, I’m a bit of a snob and will only buy pro saws. $1500 for the wood hauler, $3000 for the trailer, $999 for the splitter, axes, mauls, and everything else.

And, time. Every hour I spend cutting, splitting, and stacking is $50 I didn’t make in my shop.

So, big picture, no. There isn’t a savings heating with wood.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Jul 12, 2006
7,378
Schenectady, NY
Swept the chimney today. Nothing exciting.

Well, I did find something new... dumped the sooteater box out. Must be 10 years I've been using it now, and found an instruction packet! Did anybody know it came with instructions?
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
3,125
Eastern Ontario
I have heated my home with wood for the last 40 years
up until the beginning of this month, I also had oil.
2new furnaces installed cost 12000 Canadian dollars
In 1979 I bought 2 tanks of oil burnt that very quickly
1 more fill up added a wood furnace started to burn wood
off my farm have continued to burn wood from the fence
rows and off a 200 acre bush lot I bought. I figure that in the
last 40 years oil would have cost me over 100 thousand dollars.
I have no idea what the total cost of wood products would be
But even with property taxes, transportation,gas , oil, chain saws
, and related bits and pieces it would be a whole lot less plus the
enjoyment of the work and the fire. I didn't add in the cost of the
bush lot because the land is worth 5 times what I paid for it now
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
85,094
South Puget Sound, WA
At this point now that we are buying wood, probably not. It cost us $900 for 3 cords of doug fir. When we started out, the savings was substantial over the poorly installed propane furnace system. That was replaced in 2006. With the heat pump able to do a lot of the work at a reasonable cost, the savings is now quite reduced. But we love wood heat and the glow of a nice fire. That also has value.
 
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NickW

Feeling the Heat
Oct 16, 2019
273
SE WI
Begreen, that suck's! I assume that's cut and split...?

I luckily/unluckily live in an area that has been hard hit by EAB. Right now I can get all the free wood I can haul from tree service storage yards, plus folks who know I'm a burner are often asking me to haul wood off... There are swamps and woods everywhere here that have thousands of dead ash standing.

Before I found my free sources, I could get a dumpster load with 5 cord of mostly ash logs delivered for $500. A few years back I got 5 cord of logs (mostly oak) from a farmer for $300... But I have the ability to haul it, not everyone does... and around here most folks aren't uptight about running a chainsaw on their property to get stuff down to manageable size. They're just happy to get it gone. The golden days of woodburning here!
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,222
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I used to lease a 500g tank for a dollar a year when I heated exclusively with LP but they wanted to Jack that up to $80 a year when I started to heat with wood and didn’t use enough propane for the Cheap lease any more so as soon as I got the letter saying so I called them and bought the tank. it’s better that way anyways so I can shop around for a better price but they are all generally at The same price within a dime a gallon. Tank owners also pay 5 cents less a gallon.
I have a much smaller tank -- a pig -- or maybe they call it a piglet which I use for domestic hot water and the oven . . . in any case, buying a new tank was one of the best decisions I made. There is the upfront costs, but the long term savings with the cheaper propane was a huge difference in price.
 
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Dix

Minister of Fire
May 27, 2008
6,356
Long Island, NY
At current oil prices ($1.30 a gallon for 200), I'm breaking even. Currently using 600 gal a year for partial heat & HW.

BUT, for the past 10 years, I am wayyyy ahead. Oil was $4 a gallon when I installed the PE, paid for itself the first year. The next year oil was $4 a gallon & I installed the 13, paid for itself in 3 months. House was using 200 gallons a month of oil from Nov - March.

OB covers 800 SF of this joint, and the PE covers the rest. The 13 can heat the lower level 800 SF, but with a 6 hour burn time,max . The PE, rated for 2000 SF easily handles 1200 SF on the worst day or night. Lower level heat on 62F from November through March, at least.

The splitter is a wash, paid $500 for it 7 years ago, and the F250, we won't count because I bought it in 2005 to pull the horse trailer ;) ;lol
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,295
Northern Maine
When I worked the math LP was stupid money when the wood boiler bug hit. We already had 2 wood stoves but burning them didn’t allow the warm floors that was already spent and that really was more important.
I’ve spent a lot of money buying tractor stuff to make life easier as I age. I just hope I live long enough to break even!!
I like the outdoors in New England so I get that benefit.
 

Prof

Minister of Fire
Oct 18, 2011
503
Western PA
Well, on the surface, I would appear to have some expensive equipment and spend a bunch of time processing wood. If that is the measure of value, then wood is expensive. But that is only part of the story... I hate going to the gym, so I don't--but people still think I lift. Apparently hauling and splitting (and occasional felling) by hand keeps me in some shape. I cook most of my meals in the fall and winter by wood--from Sunday eggs to the Thanksgiving turkey. Plus, cooking gourmet foods by wood gives me another hobby--the wood actually make the gourmet food much easier to pull off. If it wasn't for processing 4-5 cords per year, I'd probably be quite rotund--but I'm not. Then there is the time that I spend with my daughters splitting, stacking and burning wood. I can't really put a price on this and I suspect that they won't be able to either. Oh, and my house is far warmer than most--in more than one way!
 

Zack R

Feeling the Heat
Sep 27, 2017
416
Sisters, OR
flic.kr
One thing worth mentioning is that with wood heat you can have the house at a comfortable 70-73F even during the coldest part of winter (below 0F). My heat pump would be running 24x7 on auxiliary heat to maintain those temps and racking up the electric bill while doing so.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
85,094
South Puget Sound, WA
Begreen, that suck's! I assume that's cut and split...?
Cut and split and delivered, along with a ton of splitter trash.

One thing worth mentioning is that with wood heat you can have the house at a comfortable 70-73F even during the coldest part of winter (below 0F). My heat pump would be running 24x7 on auxiliary heat to maintain those temps and racking up the electric bill while doing so.
Yes, like with wood stoves there are lot of factors. We're warmer than up in the mountains and live in a mild climate so technically our heat pump could handle almost all of our winter temps except for 2-3 weeks without switching to resistance heating. It's set for 25ºF as the crossover point. Modern units can cover 100% of the heating load in our area easily. My wife's cold tolerance gets worse every year and I like the fire view, so for now we heat primarily with wood. We'll always have a woodstove for backup heat at least, but it's possible that in a while we may be running the HP more and burning only one cord instead of 3.
 
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xman23

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
2,171
Lackawaxen PA
For me it was the wife wanting a fireplace in the cabin, and me stove. It was never going to be fireplace, but a few weeks of fireplace / stove shopping. Zeroed in on the green Oslo and never looked back.

So the the BTU were going up the chimney, and now we heat the house. Saving money? maybe by now
 

tlc1976

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2012
547
Northwest Lower Michigan
Burning wood was the only way I survived financially in the old house. 21 years ago I started out burning about 800 gallons of propane a year but it was under a dollar a gallon. I was also married and doing pretty well.

After she left she took me to the cleaners in child court. Almost no money left for anything. Ate from the food bank. Collected and sold scrap for extra money and often used stuff from those piles. While using up what propane I had the furnace cracked the heat exchanger so good time to switch to wood. The house already had a woodstove which I had used occasionally for ambience. I also grew up burning wood for survival.

I bought a box of 3 Poulan saw parts and made 2 running ones. Was given an axe for splitting which I did myself but occasionally would get to use a splitter. Already had a 5 lb sledge to help split. Or use the saw. Replaced the axe handle once. I already had a trailer. I cut for free at my dad’s or later on at the father in laws when I got remarried. He gave me a Turbo Craftsman which was largely compatible with my Poulan parts. First year I ran out of wood so I sneaked some downed ironwood from the woods behind my house with a hand saw to get me through. Nobody noticed. After that I really stocked up and got a year ahead. I just stacked it outside with fence poles to hold the ends, covered with tarps I scrounged.

10 years later I finally got in a better predicament and was able to move to a better house and switched to pellets. I now own the woods and could cut right here and burn wood if I wanted but I don’t miss the survival lifestyle and bugs in the house and higher fire risk. I don’t mind paying for the cleanliness and consistency of pellets, and I have a generator to keep the stove going. If I absolutely had to I could go back.
 

Jason H

New Member
Oct 9, 2020
13
Hudson, Quebec
I just installed an insert and plan on heating the house with wood this winter. I reached out to local arborists who didn't mind dumping loads of wood on my driveway when they were doing a local job. One guy asked for 100$ for a trailer full which was a nice option when the wood preping season's ending and you need wood then and there. So besides the cost of the insert I'm in at about 100$ for 10 face cords this year. Last year we spent about 1000 bucks heating the house (cheap Quebec electricity). Next year I might rent a splitter though so in the end I might be saving 600-1000$
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,261
07462
I save in more ways then one, money wise its prob near $1,600 a year on heating (oil heat) but I also save money by moving around with cutting and splitting, plus its a nice hobby to have.
 
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vwmike

Feeling the Heat
Oct 7, 2013
322
Chilliwack, BC, Can.
Also do it more out of a hobby than need. We moved into our house 8 years ago and it had a vista insert in the basement. Hadn’t burned wood in 15 years since I lived at home with mom and dad, where that was our primary heat source. Every year I probably spend what I save, buying chainsaws, renovating my hearth, couple stoves later, this year built a hydraulic splitter. Like someone posted above all this stuff has value and could be sold off and most of my costs would be recouped back.

The best part of it all is having the house at 72 all through the season and having no guilt about it. Once your used to radiant heat, the cycling of a forced air furnace drives me nuts and feels drafty. This also keeps the wife happy and she never gives me a hard time about the wood outside and all the time I spend on it....
 

awicherr

New Member
Sep 5, 2020
18
Ohio
Money saving? Maybe a little due to having a farm house built in 1900. But it is insulated well and we shrink the windows in the fall. My reason for burning wood. I don't like writing those checks mid winter when heating fuel is double what i pay for in mid summer when i fill it for basically pennies. The reason i burn wood I know i will never have to choose if i am eating raimen for a month while my normal month grocery bill is spent on fuel . Its nice to know you arent at the mercy of supply and demand. Secondary wood furnace was already here when i bought the house. Already had a chainsaw, axe, maul, wedges. Had them growing up when i moved out of my parents had to buy them open pit cooking being my favorite past time had to have them. Lastly when its cold out side and you have been in several layers all day and it cold its nice to come home and the house is 78 and you arnt watching the float on the fuel tank bob up and down... (a bit warm for me but happy wife happy life)