How big is your woodpile?

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Turner-n-Burner

New Member
Mar 21, 2006
184
North of Boston
Another newbie question....

As you may have seen from my other posts, I'm trying to join the woodburning community and reduce my annual spend on natural gas? So my question is, how much wood do I need stacked and drying for next winter?

Figure I'll be heating about 1600 square feet using a fireplace insert. Most likely the fire will be burning whenever I'm home, so evenings, weekends, and maybe I'll chuck an armload of wood into it before leaving for work (not sure how comfortable I am with that)

I'm looking to keep the place comfortable, but not hot....

Would 2 cords be enough? 3? I'd rather have a little too much rather than too little. I'm leaning towards buying some soon so it can be drying, and plan on collecting anything I can get free in the future.

Oh - and I'm in the boston area. Peak gas bill was $330 this winter, but it would have been much higher if I had actually raised the T-stat enough to be comfortable ! :(


Thanks
-Dan
 

kregars

New Member
Jan 5, 2006
42
In reality it depends on the overall weather conditions. I bought 2 cord and split another cord early fall and I havent even gone through 1.5 cord thus far...this with an OLD POS BatCave insert. I started when I got home and had it rolling within 20-25 minutes and continued to pile on wood till ~9pm then depending on the overnight forcast I'd bank it, or let the coals go cold.

I figure next year, I will be heating more of the house (2 stoves going most of the time)...I have already ordered my 5 cord for next year, and I plan on scavaging at LEAST another cord during the spring/early summer and will set that to my middle late winter selection.

I've known ppl to go through 10 cord in the Mid Atlantic area, but they like it warm WARM..I like it to be ~64-68 year round...so I dont burn as heartily as others, but I can get the temps up in half the house to ~80 in a hurry if I need to.
 

Mo Heat

Mod Emeritus
Nov 18, 2005
848
St. Louis, Missouri
2 to 3 cords seems to be a nice round number for us supplemental city-folk burners.

I'd stockpile 3 if I were you, I had the room, and I could get them reasonable, cheap or free.

It's sad to run out before spring.

If you are close enough to the BioLog folks in CT to find them for sale, you could buy and try some of those if you run out of wood and want to keep burning late next winter. You might even consider burning some BioLogs (maybe a pallet) anyway, if you are planning to buy wood at higher prices. Never know. You might like them. I'd try them if I could find them.
 

Eric Johnson

Mod Emeritus
Nov 18, 2005
5,871
Central NYS
I'm guessing five to get rid of the gas bill altogether, but that depends a lot on the efficiency of your insert and the type (and dryness) of wood that you're burning.

On loading the stove before you go to work: Get over the hesitation. After returning to a warm (still standing) home a few times, you'll become comfortable with it. After all, the best time to have your house burn down is when you're not in it.

Seriously, if you have a safe installation and you are dilligent about your maintenance, no worries.
 

wg_bent

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
2,248
Poughkeepsie, NY
I have close to 6 cords out there right now, and I think I need 2 or 3 more to feel comfortable that I have enough. A pile like Erics would be better.
 

Eric Johnson

Mod Emeritus
Nov 18, 2005
5,871
Central NYS
How many times have I told you, Warren: You can never have "enough" wood!
 

wg_bent

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
2,248
Poughkeepsie, NY
Eric Johnson said:
How many times have I told you, Warren: You can never have "enough" wood!
For all you out there who don't get Eric...the man competing with Indian Point Nuclear power for BTU output using cord wood and he splits it by hand. His pile is very impressive!!!
 

ourhouse

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2006
727
Norfolk Ma
Between my dad and I we have 8 to 10 cords cut and split. Then another 10 or 12 cords in tree length ready to be cut and split. You can never have enough WOOD! All for FREE!
 

saichele

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2005
545
Coming at it a different way -

You probably need about 5 cords (not face cords...) split, stacked, and dried if you're going to burn the stove for primary heat (expecting the furnace to only kick on on the really cold days).

But wood doesn't go bad if it's stacked off the ground and covered. If you have some left over, it's a start on next year.

Steve
 

michaelthomas

New Member
Feb 10, 2006
286
I used about 4 cord of wood this winter to heat my 1600 SF main house area and the heat kicked on only a few times at night. I would like to have 4 cord ready for next year and four cord for the year after. Always a year ahead is where I would like to be.
 

berlin

New Member
Mar 6, 2006
299
Western NY
Everybody on here has different size woodpiles, just rememner its not the size of the wood pile that matters; its the density of wood that counts.

In all seriousness though, you would probably be fine if you had about 4 cords. Also, as was previously mentioned you really need to get over your fear of having a fire while you're away; if you expect to really make a dent in your gas bills.
 

martel

Member
Feb 9, 2006
207
next year will be my first full winter burning. i am shoot for 4 cords- half oak (bought) half cherry (free). we will see how this goes.
 

Sandor

Minister of Fire
Dec 9, 2005
917
Deltaville,VA
Start seriously collecting now and keep after it.

Measure your woodpile this fall before you burn, and keep track. The year after you will have a really good idea how much you need.

If you have some leftover, makes the next year easier..... its not going to rot!

I'm guessing you will need 4 cords.
 

PaulGuy

New Member
Nov 20, 2005
51
I'd say 4-5 for a normal winter. My use and area is very similar to what you laid out here. I had 4 cord going in and used about 3 but it was a very mild winter. I also sugest you buy now for next year so you can have it split and stacked all summer long. You'll have a better product to burn come winter. Your planning ahead will be rewarded.
 

got wood?

New Member
Jan 4, 2006
164
Acton, MA
ditto what the other say...I live in the outer Beantown area too and this year went through about 3.5 cords...not 24x7 as some folks do....but I'd like to! I've got about 6.5 cords in various states of split, seasoned and only bucked and echo everyone else's sediment, you can never have too much wood! As Sandor said before, it will not rot if you keep it off the ground and dry plus it's darn good excersize when you fell/buck/split/stack your own!
 
E

elkimmeg

Guest
Burning 2 stoves I use 5/6 cords a year on premis 10 plus cords. All wood processed a full year or more in advance
Nothing better that burning seasoned wood. less cresote more heat consistant control of the stove. Best wood Hot Flame burnt this winter came from here he was amazed how well his stove ran with properly seasoned dry wood. Most wood dealers and Mo pipe in
sell semi seasoned wood at best. Their wood requires stacking and seasoning another 6 months to be ready Plan on 3 it never hurts to have extra. Remember running out after Jan. you are not going to find seasoned wood and pay a premium then. Buy now or within the next month or two it is cheapest now. Late Aug the prices escalate
 

Turner-n-Burner

New Member
Mar 21, 2006
184
North of Boston
Sounds like the magic number is 4 or so. Sounds like a lot to me, but I'm not going to argue with the experts!

Turns out there is a logger in the area that picks up timber from the local tree services and will drop log lengths in my driveway for $50/cord. 4 cord minimum, so 4 it is! :)

I figure for $50/cord or (one tank of gas) it's not worth me running around in my truck burning fuel to pick up a half face cord again and again.

Thanks again - next post will be on stacking wood!

-Dan
 
E

elkimmeg

Guest
That is a real good deal and price look no further almost everbody here wished they could get log lenght delivered for $50 per cord
 

Eric Johnson

Mod Emeritus
Nov 18, 2005
5,871
Central NYS
Sounds good to me, too. The only things to remember with tree service wood is that the logs tend to contain metal, and they tend to split harder because yard trees need a tougher composition to stand up by themselves, instead of being surrounded in the forest by other trees that shield them from the wind. So, be prepared to wreck a few chains and be aware that the splitting might not go so well. Still a good deal, IMO.

On the wood scrounging, if you've got a pickup and a chainsaw, you're going to be scrounging wood just like the rest of us before the summer is over. That's a fact; accept it and deal with it.
 

Turner-n-Burner

New Member
Mar 21, 2006
184
North of Boston
Eric,
That's a good reminder, I've been meaning to pick up a couple of extra chains, and I'll probably spot check the logs with my lumber wizard - a handheld metal detector similar to what they use in airport security. Very handy to use before running reclaimed lumber through a table saw or planer! I figure the gnarliest, hardest to split stuff will be reserved for the lathe - the more wild the grain, the better. And I'm probably going to rent a splitter - there is a place a few towns over that rents a commercial Split-fire with a 4-way knife and log lift. The entertainment value alone of running such a monster is probably worth the $100 fee!

As far as scrounging goes... I'm already always keeping an eye on road shoulder looking for burls and other bits of exotic wood to feed the lathe. That's not likely to change, but it'll be nice to know I don't *have* to stop.

Thanks again,
-Dan
 

carpniels

Minister of Fire
Dec 6, 2005
536
Rome, NY, USA
HI TNB,

is that $50 per cord or face cord? I am assuming since you are in the Boston area, it is the latter (prices tend to be higher there). It is still a good price except that you need to cut and split yourself. The cutting is easy with a good saw and chain; the splitting can be hard.

Make sure you have everything cut before you rent the splitter. Nothing is more aggravating that renting the splitter and then finding out you split all your wood in 4 hours and you still have 1.5 days left on your rental that you need to spend cutting instead of splitting. Get some big storng friends to help out. Lot's of fun and beer afterwards.

Carpniels

PS. I do not necessarily agree with most people here on the amount of wood you need. 4 full cords seems an awful lot for supplementary heat. I used 3 this winter for 24/7 from mid November through mid March. Last year and the year before, I used my stove for supplementary heat and I used barely 1 cord. And I am in Upstate NY that gets a lot colder than Boston. BUT, like most said, better have too much than not enough wood!!!!!!
 

Martin Strand III

New Member
Nov 20, 2005
763
NW MI near nowhere
Hey TnB:

What is your wood source?

If you pay for it, according to www.pscleanair.org, burning wood will cost you MORE (maybe 10 cents/hour or so) than burning natural gas.

For many burning wood is like driving a sports car. You do it because you like it (and can), not because it saves you money.

Aye,
Marty
 

Rhone

Minister of Fire
Nov 21, 2005
827
If you haven't burned wood you'll need more wood your first year as you get to know your unit. After the first year, you'll be pretty good on getting the most miles out of your wood. I've been burning wood for over 25 years and got a new unit before this winter. I must've wasted about a cord of wood before I learned how my unit likes to operate, when it likes to be turned down, how it likes the wood positioned, and the operations needed to get it started faster.

I burn pretty much 24-7 and was told 4 cords. Thank god it was a warm winter. So, my guess for evenings, nights, and mornings but not noons 4 cords. The second year, probably 3 - 3.5 but depends on how tight your house is. If the insulation in your attic is around R18, leaky windows, and you want to heat the whole house definetely 4 cords. If the insulation in your attic is more like R50 and have tight windows and insulated floors, better with 4 cords the first year but probably 3 cords the following. I guess in the end, I favor 4.
 
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