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  1. #1
    Platinum Member Scrounger's Avatar
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    Default Wood Burning Add On Furnance (Price of Wood)

    I've followed the threads on adding a second source of heat for the house and I'm about ready to start the planning. THe only issue is the price of woods in PA these days. $175 a cord for Oak. With the burn rate of a furnance used to heat close to 3000 sq ft, I'm not sure how much money I'd actually be saving for the cost of the wood.

    What is everyone paying for a cord of wood or does anyone have a creative idea on where to get wood cheaper.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Wood Burning Add On Furnance (Price of Wood)

    Personnaly, I don't see how one could make it work if the wood has to be purchased. The price of wood will keep pace with respect to the fuels that are not being burned, like oil or gas.
    The extra cost of a wood burning appliance and the storage and volume needed for wood, seems like would take forever (if ever) to recover.
    Seems if one doesn't have a supply of firewood in the form of a woods at home or at least nearby, it would be best to stick to gas or oil and keep an efficient appliance to convert it to heat. The extra time invested in handling, caring for, and loading a wood burner could be better spent at an hourly job or one building things to sell.

    Purchased wood should be bought at least two years ahead of the burning season, so it can be split, stacked, covered, and dried for heating. That is a big investment. Counting on being able to buy wood that has been split more than a mere 6 months isn't likely to be a very good efficient conversion to BTU's. Most homes burn about 6 cords of wood a year (that is 6 real cords of 128 cuft volume, not a face cord). I'd suggest buying the wood ahead 2 years, and plan on investing that $1000-$1200 each year just for wood, and then get the wood burner set up (probably another $3-4,000) so when years comes up for starting to burn the dry wood, there will be about $6,000 - 7,000 invested. Then each year plan on another $1200 plus keeping up with inflated gas/oil prices.

    Don't mean to put a damper on any plans, as you are welcome to do whatever you want. But I don't see it in the cards as they are turned up on the table, so to speak.

  3. #3
    Super Star Member IslandTractor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wood Burning Add On Furnance (Price of Wood)

    I have heated with both wood and coal in the past. The economics are not as good as some might suggest, unless you have your own wood lot (or coal mine) and do all the work yourself. Even then it turns out you are paying yourself about a buck and hour. The real savings comes when you can efficiently harvest and process your own wood and don't need to transport it very far. Costs of cutting, hauling, splitting etc diminish the savings. Also, unless you can be sure that you will never be out of the house for more than 24 hours, you really need a fossil fuel backup system anyway so the cost of the woodburning stove is an added extra, not a substitute. Bottom line is that unless you have your own "free" wood lot and the proper equipment and you just like doing it, that using gas or oil is still pretty competitive. Supplementing with wood is a different issue as you can use whatever wood you get cheaply rather than needing to secure sufficient cords for a season.

    I've never used wood pellets so the economics might be somewhat different.

  4. #4
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wood Burning Add On Furnance (Price of Wood)


    Oh no -- Wood is not Free! [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    Egon [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  5. #5
    Platinum Member Scrounger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wood Burning Add On Furnance (Price of Wood)

    My main source of heat is Propane so anything that I can use to save some money is well worth the investment. I was thinking on a unit that can burn coal and wood since coal is DIRT cheap in PA since we sit on it everwhere. I can get some free wood from state game lands and also dead fall too. I'm looking into to bulk delivery of logs and then block and split them myself. With my propane costs, I would break even in a few years.

  6. #6
    Super Member Highbeam's Avatar
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    South Puget Sound, WA
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    Default Re: Wood Burning Add On Furnance (Price of Wood)

    The cost of cordwood by the cut, split, and delivered cord is much higher than the per cord cost of logs delivered by the log truck. Your savings come from your labor so it isn't free.

    Propane is about the most expensive fuel to use so there is lots of room for improvement.

    I would supplement the Propane with a good old modern woodstove.


  7. #7
    Gold Member
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    Mahindra 2810HST

    Default Re: Wood Burning Add On Furnance (Price of Wood)

    I reinstalled my wood boiler after taking in out of the system for about ten years.

    I had to buy my wood for this year and bought 5 1/2 cords of beach cut, split, and delivered that has been seasoned for two years.

    I have the system set up that when the wood boiler goes out the oil unit takes over.

    I have used about a quarter of a tank of oil so far and expect I will use a tank this winter.

    So I have bought five and a half cords for a $1,000.00 and a tank of oil for $600.00 that should get me through the year.

    When I am burning just oil I will burn 1,200 gallons a year.
    That's $3,000.00 for just oil.

    There is work involved but I should cut my heating cost in half using wood as my main heat and oil as my backup and even more when I can cut some of my own wood in the future.

    Besides , you don't mind letting the temperature go up higher,
    if we have a power outage I open the flow checks and cleanout door and it heats the house fine.

    And there is some satifaction knowing you aren't hostage to OPEC, Big Oil, or natural disasters.

    Dave in NH

  8. #8
    Super Star Member IslandTractor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wood Burning Add On Furnance (Price of Wood)

    Having used both, next time if I had a choice I would use coal. Much less messy and considerably less work (even if you have wood delivered, split and stacked hauling wood in the house means carrying more weight/day than coal).

    I haven't followed the technology regarding automated central coal furances but the stand alone stoves are pretty easy to run and can be loaded in a few seconds twice a day. If you have a choice, go for pea sized coal as it is much easier to work with (pour it from a bucket). I used a convertible stove from Vermont Castings (Resolute) which was adequate as the sole heat source for a 1500sq ft home in Massachusetts.

  9. #9
    Silver Member
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    Westmoreland Co., SW PA
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    CK30HST

    Default Re: Wood Burning Add On Furnance (Price of Wood)

    Lots of tough but good advice.

    I burn my firebox 24/7 with the blower on and doors closed so it dumps heat into the house constantly. It needs to be fed every few hours and consumes a LOT of wood. I estimate that I have a three year supply given what I cut down to make room for the house and what the sewage authority pushed over for the new line. After that I'll be like my neighbor who looks for free wood all year round. The wood isn't covered so it gets wet in the snow and I don't have enough inside storage to wait for it to dry out. Drying it out consumes heat and lowers the overall efficiently a noticable amount. However...it puts off enough heat so that the furnaces don't run at all during the day and the one on the second floor doesn't run at night unless the fire goes out.

    So far it's definitely worth the effort and if you have the time to invest you can save money.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
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    Tully, NY (Syracuse)
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    Default Re: Wood Burning Add On Furnance (Price of Wood)

    Mavrik02,

    Beautiful house you have there.

    Kevin

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