Generally...How Many Cords Does It Take To Get Through The Winter?

AtTheCross

New Member
May 10, 2018
10
CA
Hello All -

I realize that this question comes with the obvious caveats, how long are my winters, how well insulated is the home, etc. But can someone give me a rough idea of how many cords of pine I will need to get through winter. I have an enclosed unit with a blower. I live in Flagstaff, AZ where the winter runs from late November to April. We basically don't have anything up here except pine and a little juniper. My wife wants the home at 70 degrees and our home is a single story.

Thanks for the help

Happy Splitting!
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
80,791
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, this is too general a question without knowing more. Flagstaff can get cold. I'd have a minimum of 3 cords of fully seasoned, dry wood on hand.

How large is the house and what stove will be heating it? An old stove is going to use a lot more wood.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,305
Philadelphia
Numbers vary widely, as much depending on your availability and willingness to keep feeding the beast, as your actual home heating needs. We see frequent reports of 2-10 cords per year, but I’d bet 80% of full time heaters land in the 3-4 cord zone. Again, this is not entirely dictated by the home’s heating needs, many will supplement their stove with central heating to stay within their abilities to process wood and feed a stove, week after week.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
80,791
South Puget Sound, WA
The stove is an area heater. Keeping the main stove area at 70º may be fairly easy, but if the house is a sprawling ranch then heating a far-end bedroom to 70º can be a totally different problem even if the house is well insulated. Another factor is how much time is spent awake in the house. Do you both work or is someone at home all day?
 
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Woody5506

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2017
745
Rochester NY
We see frequent reports of 2-10 cords per year, but I’d bet 80% of full time heaters land in the 3-4 cord zone.
I think this hits the nail on the head. I'm in that 3ish cord zone and I'm using mine as supplemental heat but running from about late October to early May, and if the high's aren't over 40 then its running 24/7.
 

AtTheCross

New Member
May 10, 2018
10
CA
Thank you all for your replies thus far. My wife works outside of the home and I work from home. When she is gone I keep the temp at 63 to save on propane. When she comes home it gets jacked up to 70 degrees. This will be the first year with heating other than the propane powered central heating unit. Propane was ridiculously expensive last year. This Spring, the Lord blessed us with a new Astria Montecito wood burning fireplace. We keep the temp at 61 during the night for sleeping. Hope this helps any other comments you all might be able to provide. Also, we spend most of our time in the living room where the fireplace is.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,305
Philadelphia
There is no way in hell heating only with wood you're only burning 3-4 cords unless you're in Kialua
Depends on the house. I can’t heat my place near Philadelphia entirely with 10 cords, but many do it on less. There are several past and present members here, with no central heating system, who entirely heat their house on 3 -4 cords per year. One of particular note lived in Michigan. Their houses may be smaller, and better insulated, than yours or mine.
 

Kevin Weis

Minister of Fire
Mar 3, 2018
928
Union Bridge, Md
Depends a lot as has been said on whether or not someone is of to try to keep it "at temperature" or not. I typically used around two cords and everyone worked at the house but I'm retiring October 1st so this season I'm betting on 3 cords.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,724
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
@Ashful 's 3-4 cords is probably pretty close for most normal homes using hardwood like oak. Using softwoods like pine it could be 4-5 since as ashful loves to point out, the amount of energy per cord is way less with pine.

I burn low btu woods like pine and use 4-5 cords per year for 100% of the heat in our single story home.

You're going to love heating a rambler with wood. In our home, the stove room needs to be about 75 to keep the farthest rooms in the upper 60s when it's really cold. That warm room is a great place to be.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
20,264
central pa
There is no way in hell heating only with wood you're only burning 3-4 cords unless you're in Kialua
Yes many people do it I used 5 in my relatively poorly insulated 2100 sq ft last year. And 20 gals of oil when we were away. With more work I will easily hit 4 cords. Maybe less.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,724
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Since you're planning... many of us have learned to put up two year's worth of wood. So if you need 4 cords each year, then get 8 cords stacked and ready. This means that you will eventually be burning 2 year old wood which will be better seasoned since it has sat longer drying. It also means that you are able to use a little extra one year if it's a bad year. You can also get sick, lazy, or put in jail but still have the next year's wood already covered. You're still only cutting 4 cords per year after that first year.
 

Rickb

Minister of Fire
Oct 24, 2012
1,025
St.Louis
I use manly ash and soft maples and I use 1 to 1.5 cords per year. That said I only burn in the evenings and weekends. I get enough solar during the day that my house is usually above the furnace setpoint. I run the furnace at 67F but with the stove the house stays closer to 71f.

Oh and its a 1500sqft 1.5 story
 
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xman23

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
2,021
Lackawaxen PA
You can also get sick, lazy, or put in jail but still have the next year's wood already covered.
I have always liked the fact that the wood pile was like money in the bank. Heat for a few winters was covered no matter what happens.

But never thought about jail, LOL.
 

charger4406

Burning Hunk
Dec 25, 2011
230
southern Quebec
This gave me and my wife a good laugh,thanks.
the wife says if I go to jail she'll have the oil company out to the house weekly.
There is no way she is hauling that much wood,
 

charger4406

Burning Hunk
Dec 25, 2011
230
southern Quebec
We use 10 cords plus our heat pump and at least a half tank of oil( when gone on holidays).
 

fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,326
North Eastern MA
There is no way in hell heating only with wood you're only burning 3-4 cords unless you're in Kialua
We average 4.0 - 4.5 cord in a fairly cold climate while not burning a drop of heating oil.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,724
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Who’s going to haul ten cords of wood up to the house and load two stoves, if I’m in jail?
The wife’s new boyfriend! The same guy that will appreciate the survivor’s benefit of my pension that I’m leaving for my wife!

You can replace going to jail with going on a well deserved international vacation if you’d like as a reason that you just couldn’t get wood put up for a year.

I often forget that we pnw folks are a little weird in that we put up our wood during the summer and not during burning season. Our summers are mild with very long days. Winters are mud, rain, and darkness for 9 months.
 

charger4406

Burning Hunk
Dec 25, 2011
230
southern Quebec
What are you heating and where
2900 sqft of 1841 stone farm house on the us/ca border, northern slope of the adirondacks.
Running two stoves, first gen ashford and jotul F600.
Nowhere near as much as Ashful is heating but we get longer cold snaps here.
And those cords are the better hardwood species (hickory/hophornbeam/red and white oak/sugar maple etc).
 

bcrtops

Feeling the Heat
Nov 14, 2016
277
NW Oregon
@Ashful 's 3-4 cords is probably pretty close for most normal homes using hardwood like oak. Using softwoods like pine it could be 4-5 since as ashful loves to point out, the amount of energy per cord is way less with pine.

I burn low btu woods like pine and use 4-5 cords per year for 100% of the heat in our single story home.

You're going to love heating a rambler with wood. In our home, the stove room needs to be about 75 to keep the farthest rooms in the upper 60s when it's really cold. That warm room is a great place to be.
Yes many people do it I used 5 in my relatively poorly insulated 2100 sq ft last year. And 20 gals of oil when we were away. With more work I will easily hit 4 cords. Maybe less.
With the above, using ~5 cords/year. Last 2 winters use 4 cords wood + 1 pallet NIEL's + 25-30 gals oil.
Used to use 8-9 cords/yr with the old Fisher & before replacing all the old single pane wood sash windows.
 
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