Does heating with wood really save money??

Swedishchef Posted By Swedishchef, Oct 8, 2012 at 2:17 PM

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  1. Beetle-Kill

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Sep 8, 2009
    Colorado- near the Divide
    In a word- yes. Not having to buy propane has off-set the cost of the stove, 3 saws, chain grinder, hearth, trailer,etc.
  2. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak
    Minister of Fire 2.

    Oct 17, 2008
    Eastern Central PA
    It seems your paying closer to 8c a Kwh if you divide 1890 Kw into 145.00
  3. Blue Vomit

    Blue Vomit
    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jul 12, 2011
    eastern PA
    I was just thinking about this the other day... when I ran my truck over the well cap and pipe in my back yard while transporting a load of splits. I think you can definately save money if...
    You get a good deal on a stove
    You get a good deal on a chimney or liner
    you get a good deal on install, or DIY
    you get a good deal on firewood or access to scrounges
    you get a good deal on equipment: saw, maul, axe, splitter. chains, fuel, etc
    now factor in a wood shed, or tarps, pallets to stack on, etc
    did I mention fire starters? super cedars, fatwood etc.
    can you sweep your own chimney? brushes and rods.
    how about replacement parts for that stove you got such a great deal on<>
    fireplace gloves, ash bucket, shovel, etc
    and dont forget mishaps... like being a jackass and running into your well pipe in you back yard and damaging your nice trucko_O
    how about overdoing it and straining your back while c/s/s ing. You cant do that by ordering oil or gas or electric
    I know, alot of this stuff you can make or do by yourself for free BUT, it takes time, and time is money. It takes 5 minutes to order oil.
    I know Ive probably forgotten other expenses.
    This being said, Ive burned wood for many years and will continue to do so.
    Have I saved money? Dont know, dont care.
    Burn on.
  4. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad
    Minister of Fire 2.

    Mar 19, 2009
    Central Kentucky
    As simple as it gets..

    I use "budget billing" on my electric bill.

    Before stove, $215 a month +/-.. after stove $140 a month +/-.

    My house is 6-10 degrees WARMER now.

    Electricity has gone up 15% since I installed.

    My heart is stronger since I process my own wood.

    My heart is calmer now that I know a power outage is no big thing to us.

    My love life is better because momma bear isn't trying to hibernate all winter.

    I figure the financial "break even" is late 2015. The emotional and security "break even" was about 45 minutes after my first solid burn started. First time my secondaries lit off.

    It's all gravy to me. The money is but a small thing.

    BTW, I don't count the cost of tractor, trailer, chainsaw(s), etc.. because I owned them all before I heated with wood. Except for the super splitter, and now, x27, I would own it all anyways. Life in the woods is like that.
  5. Waulie

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Aug 31, 2011
    Nothern Lower Michigan
    I save about $2,000 a year. Even if I bought wood, the savings would be huge! The new stove last year has already almost paid for itself, and I'll never have to feel too bad about buying a new chain saw, chains, etc. Even though all the little equipment adds up, in the grand scheme of things it barely makes a dent in my savings over propane. Also, we are much warmer with the wood stove!
    Backwoods Savage and rideau like this.
  6. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson
    Mod Emeritus 2.

    Nov 18, 2005
    Central NYS
    Warmer house and unlimited hot water, in addition to whatever the dollar savings are. In my case, considerable.
  7. Swedishchef

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 17, 2010
    Inuvik, Northwest Territories
    I agree, with taxes and delivery fees it works out to be 7.67c/Kwh.

    Supercools: the rate is in Canada dollars (which, for once, are worth more than US dollars. LOL). On that bill I paid 7.67c/kwh with taxes and service charges.

    Dennis, I agree with you 100% The time spending with the family and teaching the kids work ethic is quite valuable itself. My son is only 2 and he helps me stack wood (and know down my piles). But you also said it: you're retired. My problem right now is trying to get it all done: just built a garage, have a 8 month pregnant wife, a 2 year old and I work 45-50 hours a week. Don't get me wrong, I love heating with wood. It's a disease. But when you don't own any equipment (nor can I afford it) it gets frustrating. Imagine moving 4 cords of wood into a shed with a wheelbarrow alone. That takes time...

    I think everyone's answer is situational. In my case, financially it simply does not pay when considering I need to spend $250 for a cord of hardwood, $1500 for my chimney installation and $2200 for my wood stove. I still did it and have no regrets! I love heating with wood. I give myself the challenge to not let the baseboard turn on in the winter.... I was just curious to see who does it for moral satisfaction/personal choice vs who does it for financial gain.

    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  8. greenbrierwv

    Member 2.

    Oct 28, 2010
    Lewisburg, WV
    i li
  9. fossil

    Accidental Moderator 2.
    Staff Member

    Sep 30, 2007
    Bend, OR
    By golly, I'd say you've found your way all around the issue back to the answer to your question. :cool:
  10. SmokeyCity

    Feeling the Heat 2.

    Mar 6, 2011
    Western Pa
    The purpose is not to save money. The purposes are as follows:
    1) Get a great workout cutting and hauling the wood
    2) Get a great workout moving the wood from your pile into your house.
    3) Get a great workout lugging 400# stoves up and down stairs
    4) Get a great workout cleaning the chimneys
    5) Get a great workout hauling buckets of ashes out of your house
    FireBones likes this.
  11. Swedishchef

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 17, 2010
    Inuvik, Northwest Territories
    LOL. indeed. I guess I should have done a survey instead. I seem to have flustered a few feathers in the nest!

    I think the consensus on this forum is quite obvious: people do it for the love of doing it. My question was more along the lines of "who does it to save money?" If there wasn't some enjoyment out of the activity, most people wouldn't do it.

    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  12. jharkin

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Oct 21, 2009
    Holliston, MA USA
    What it cost you to install the stove is irrelevant now. In business we call that a "sunk cost". You already spent it, you cant get it back, so it therefore has NO bearing whatsoever on whether or not continuing to burn wood will save money going forward.

    The cost of the stove would have been a factor before installing, but that ship has sailed....

    Using your corrected $0.08 per KWh and $250/$175 wood prices I get

    $14.29 per Million BTU of Heat delivered to home
    $1,357.55 per year for normal home for Hardwood
    $15.50 per Million BTU of Heat delivered to home
    $1,472.50 per year for normal home for Softwood
    $23.44 per Million BTU of Heat delivered to home
    $2,226.80 per year for normal home for Electric

    Looks like wood is the winner, by quite a margin.

    BTW, that electric rate is amazingly cheap. We pay .0699 generation charges here, but have another 8 cents of distribution, transmission, green charges etc for a total of .154
  13. PapaDave

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Feb 23, 2008
    Northern MI - in the mitten
    For me, wood runs about $200/year and is a mix of purchased and scrounged.
    Natty gas would be somewhere around 1500. I save using wood.
  14. Armoured

    New Member 2.

    Feb 6, 2012
    Another situational response, but here goes:
    -Electricity about 11.5c (US$).
    -Savings (guessing) appears to be $100-$200 mo. This is a lowball guess for winter.

    This is being cheap for a weekend place, heated (electric) to keep pipes from freezing. Savings above are for weekend use. Alternative would be to pay much more to keep it at a (much) higher temperature, with the stove, the place is cold when we arrive, within about an hour (roughly while doing other stuff anyway) it's comfortable in the same room as the stove, within two-three all over. With the electric heat alone, it could easily take 12 hours to be comfortable.

    So the savings above really don't account for the much higher comfort level.

    Oh, and the installation cost I don't really count because I would have done it anyway for the sheer pleasure of the fire, and the open fireplace was useless for fire and a heat sink when not in use. Anyway, even including installation, I think a single cold season was enough to pay for itself, with $2-3k savings per year after that. But entirely situational.

    Quebec really has crazy low electricity prices.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  15. chipsoflyin

    Member 2.

    Dec 11, 2008
    nw ohio
    Saws, my friend, saws, plural
  16. mfglickman

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 17, 2012
    NW CT
    Coming back to this...we moved into this house in November last year. A mild winter. Our first 3wwwks of oil cost $900. We got two more such bills, with the thermostat set at 58-60 for about 20/24 hours. We were freezing, miserable inside - and it was not even that cold out.

    We spent about $2500 (don't remember exact liner and install numbers) and turned off the furnace. Spent maybe $600 on fuel, some wood to burn, some to season, and so
    E BioBricks, and then we enjoyed being warm.

    So yes it probably broke even on last year based on oil costs alone.
    Backwoods Savage, dylskee and milleo like this.
  17. osagebow

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 29, 2012
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Love this thread - interesting to see how people figure it. I think I'll probably will start saving 5 years out or so, after stove, setup and saws price reclaimed. Have free wood, though.
    +1 on Backwoods, BobUrban and many others. 'specially the getting kids out there stuff. Excercise is the next best benefit for me. Recently dusted our 195 lb. state wrestling champ at arm wrestling -he wouldn't stop asking to try me.
    That was great for the 'ol midlife crisis.;)
    ailanthus and Backwoods Savage like this.
  18. clemsonfor

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Dec 15, 2011
    Greenwood county, SC
    I save $50-150 in the winter months. Our electric ranges from $0.12 to $0.14 cents a KWhr. If it was $0.05 an hour it would probly not save anything.

    But my savings are based upon half my house being 60F and the other side being 65F and a fire place chunking as much wood as i could each evening, the stove heats the whole house to over 70F easily, with the bedroom being in the 60s at the coldest.
  19. heatwise

    Feeling the Heat 2.

    Sep 13, 2009
    Just came up with a total of $5,200 Total ,That's for 2 stoves including installations , small log splitter and chainsaws with the accessories. Spread that over the past 14 years and it works out to be $371 a year for heat. The wood I use is from the area and does have cost associated but its under $30 and a cleaning for $100. Don't plan on replacing this set up any time soon so each year the average should go down.
  20. eclecticcottage

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Dec 7, 2011
    Yes...we figure the stove isn't part of the equation for us since we had a beat up and possibly inoperable 1981 boiler and lines full of blow outs from improper winterization. We would have spent at least what we did on the stove to replace it all.

    We've never filled our propane tank so I don't know what it would cost for propane here.
    Backwoods Savage and milleo like this.
  21. dave_376

    Burning Hunk 2.

    Feb 14, 2012
    central Ct
    wood 1400
    oil 3600
    electric baseboard 3000

    those were the calculations for me but in reality I think they are different. I get all of my wood so far for free. 2 years ago I paid over $4000 in oil during the winter. between saws and tools and gas and the used stove and line I'm in it for roughly $1500 -$1800. So I hope everything goes well for my house and keeping my heating bills down.
  22. Swedishchef

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 17, 2010
    Inuvik, Northwest Territories

    Thanks Jharkin! I realize now based on those "revised" rates wood is cheaper. And after 30 Kwh a day my rate gets bumped to 7.51c/Kwh so the savings are even greater.

    However, I can't agree with your sunk cost mentality. I understand the principle of it but don't agree with it. When you purchase a house, do consider the mortgage insurance fees, real estate agent fees and home inspection fees to be sunken costs or do you take them into consideration when looking for a home and apply for a mrotgage?

    With my utility company there's a great rate option for people who need dual energy (even if you burn with wood you will still use electricity):

    Electricity prices at Rate DT vary with the temperature. Find out how.
    Rate DT principle
    Lower electricity price
    Electrical heating
    Threshold of -12°C or -15°C
    Higher electricity price
    Fuel-fired heating
    Rates have three main components that account for the different costs of providing electricity service. In this way, rates reflect the costs of meeting customer demand.
    • Fixed charge (40.64¢ per day) times the multiplier
    • Energy charge
      • Energy consumed when the temperature is equal to or higher than –12°C or –15°C: 4.30¢/kWh
      • Energy consumed when the temperature is below –12°C or –15°C: 20.39¢/kWh
    • Power demandexceeding 50 kW (or 4 kW times the multiplier)
      • Winter period (December 1 to March 31): $6.21/kW
      • Summer period (April 1 to November 30): $1.26/kW
    It is certainly an incentive to shower in the day time (when warmest) and keep the wood furnace/stove/etc going.

    One thing is certain, I would NEVER heat with oil!!

    Osage: it's nice opening a can on a younger generation eh?

    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  23. rwhite

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Nov 8, 2011
    SW Idaho
    If I had to buy wood then no I wouldn't save a dime. I either scrounge town or bring home 1/2 cord or so everytime I go hunting or camping so I get enough wood. I don't calculate the bringing home wood because I would have been there anyway. Bottom line is wood is different (better IMO) heat. and I never seen to many pics of familys gathered around the NG furnace playing games or having a glass of wine. If you factor the cost of install you would also have to factor the cost of install of a furnace or the maintenace of running it full time.

    Bottom line is "man needs fire".
  24. bren582

    Member 2.

    Oct 16, 2008
    Monmouth County NJ
    I've never actually sat down and tried to figure out in detail how much i'm saving or how many years it would take to recover my investment but the wife tells me since we started burning wood (3 - 4 cords per season) our monthly heating bill (Natural Gas) has been about half compared to what it was pre EPA stove. It's kind of an apples to oranges comparison . Before the stove we would keep the thermostat low maybe 65 to 68 range and we were always cold. Turning it up to say 75 to 78 was out of the question, would cost a fortune. With the wood stove we keep the house so much warmer, to the point of being comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt during the coldest days in Jan. I don't know why but the wood heat feels so much nicer compared to the forced hot air furnace. Thanks to my open floor plan I can maintain 75+ degree heat in all rooms except the bedrooms and the room the insert is in goes to 80+ easy. I can't imagine what it would cost to do the same with the furnace. I don't mind the work of stacking, moving the wood around and tending to the stove and I love watching the fire. I just can't find a down side to heating with wood..
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  25. dylskee

    Feeling the Heat 2.

    Sep 28, 2008
    Central MA
    I save a lot of money burning wood, I spend $600. a year on wood and Oil would be $3000+ for the heating season. When we were using oil we were cold most winters, so not very comfortable at all. Started using wood as a main heat source about 7 years ago and never looked back! And now the entire house is nice and warm...... I made some excel sheets to track all my utilities so I have 10 years of data on my oil usage, I use 1 tank of oil per year now because I also have an Oil fired hot water heater that's going to get pulled when the tank starts to rust out! So I don't care how much work goes into splitting, stacking and hauling wood...... It beats knowing the oil man on a first name basis! :p
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
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