Which is cheaper - using your furnace or burning firewood?
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  1. #1
    Registered User MomToTwoBoys's Avatar
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    Default Which is cheaper - using your furnace or burning firewood?

    We have a wood burning fireplace in the new house. I've never had one before. I'm wondering how much it would save us to buy firewood vs cranking up the heat.

    A thing of firewood is about $200-300 here, depending on whom you buy it from. You can get a firewood permit here for $5 to get 2 cords of it, which is an option I might consider. This year's trees that are being cut down are going to be used for next year, but I want to get some birch.

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    Master Dollar Stretcher madhen's Avatar
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    I have a woodstove, and I have access to most of my wood for free (well, it doesn't cost me any money, but I have to cut it and haul it). My little woodstove can heat up the whole house (three stories), so when I have it cranked up, I don't have any electric heat on in the house. Obviously, for me, burning wood is the much cheaper (basically, free) option.

    For you, I think it would depend very much on how efficient your fireplace is. Some of them are more for show than productivity.
    DH aka Mad Hen
    (http://mad-hen-creations.blogspot.com/)

    Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want. Anna Lappe

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    Registered User zakity's Avatar
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    If you can get two cord for $5 and you have the equipment/health/gumption, then that is cheaper. As for the $200 to $300 thing, I think the furnace might be cheaper.
    Beak-1996, Toad-1998, and Q-1998
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    Registered User freebs's Avatar
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    i agree with madhen, all depends on the fire place! I would recommend just buying a small amount of wood and trying it out! I know our fireplace in our last home wouldnt hardly put out any heat at all! we couldnt depend on it for heat anytime of year..lol. Now we have a wood burning stove and i can heat my 3000 sq ft home with it. but we also get our wood free but with all the labor of cutting, splitting and stacking BUT we have no choice as we have no heater in this house at all!

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    Moderator monkeywrangler71's Avatar
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    What does your furnace run on, natural gas? It's probably cheaper than buying wood. If you have a traditional fireplace rather than a woodstove it's not going to heat very efficiently. A fireplace is for show.

    Our woodstove heats the whole house so it is cheaper for us to buy wood at $250 a cord than to spend $400 a month on heat.

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    Moderator ladytoysdream's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MomToTwoBoys View Post
    We have a wood burning fireplace in the new house. I've never had one before. I'm wondering how much it would save us to buy firewood vs cranking up the heat.
    A thing of firewood is about $200-300 here, depending on whom you buy it from. You can get a firewood permit here for $5 to get 2 cords of it, which is an option I might consider.
    Buy a face cord of wood to experiment with. Or do you have some place where you can get a small bundle ? Like what would be used for camping. You want seasoned wood, not green.

    See how the fireplace works on a trial. You may want to check out the chimney first to make sure it is clean. Would not be good if there was something in it, so it did not draw correctly.

    Cheapest way we can get wood is to buy from our farmer neighbor. He charges $ 45 a face cord at 16" cut. So times 3 would be a full cord of 4 by 8 by 4 ft. We could haul it on our truck. About a 1/4 mile from our house.

    Last wood we bought was a tri axle for $ 575 - about 16 face at 16" cut. Now a tri axle is amost a $ 1000.

    Your $ 5 for a permit is a good start. Then you will need a good saw,and a good backup saw. A way to sharpen the cutting chain. Maybe a back up blade. Gas for the saw, and oil for the blade. A good truck to haul on, and or a trailer. Gas for the truck. The reason for a second saw is if the first saw gets a problem. Would not be good after investing time, and gas to go to the woods to be standing there with the saw broke down or stuck in a cut.

    This is our 3rd winter with our OWB. It's been a lot cheaper for us to burn wood. If we were still using propane, we would be looking at 500 gallons a year times $ 4 a gallon. Not good.

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    Super Moderator Darlene's Avatar
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    If you just have an open fireplace without an insert and blower or wood stove your money burning wood is going to go up the chimney so to speak. We have a fireplace insert and heat mostly with wood that we take and process from our land. If we had to pay someone else for the wood it wouldn't be advantageous for us.
    Like some have asked, what kind of heating system do you have?

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    Master Dollar Stretcher madhen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladytoysdream View Post
    Then you will need a good saw,and a good backup saw. A way to sharpen the cutting chain. Maybe a back up blade. Gas for the saw, and oil for the blade. A good truck to haul on, and or a trailer. Gas for the truck.
    I would suggest a couple of back up blades, because they get dull quickly, if you are cutting all day, and no one wants to stop what they are doing to sharpen a chainsaw blade. Also, safety equipment (goggles, ear protection, chaps, GOOD leather gloves, and safety boots), and a splitting maul.

    And good health insurance if you are accident-prone.
    DH aka Mad Hen
    (http://mad-hen-creations.blogspot.com/)

    Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want. Anna Lappe

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    Moderator ladytoysdream's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madhen View Post
    I would suggest a couple of back up blades, because they get dull quickly, if you are cutting all day, and no one wants to stop what they are doing to sharpen a chainsaw blade. Also, safety equipment (goggles, ear protection, chaps, GOOD leather gloves, and safety boots), and a splitting maul.
    And good health insurance if you are accident-prone.


    My hubby does all of that, and even a face shield on his helmet. He borrows one from work. I mention a extra blade because he was cutting for his Dad in his woods, and the bigger saw got hung up and the blade was toast. Good thing, he had the second saw. His sister who was living there at the time, coughed up the money for a new blade. Not cheap.

    Hubby works for a town. They do a lot of cutting brush, trees, etc, in the good weather. Plus we used to burn only wood at the old farm house. One has to use good safety equipment.

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    Super Moderator Darlene's Avatar
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    Also helpful are: wedges, log roller, sledge hammer...

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    Registered User zakity's Avatar
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    Yep, definately "wedges". We only had one and it got stuck. Our neighbor gave us another that he found on his property. It was so sweet of him.

    And, bring a spare sledgehammer. We have broken several wooden handles. We just bought one with a fiberglass handle, but we haven't used it a bunch so we don't know how sturdy it is.
    Beak-1996, Toad-1998, and Q-1998
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    Registered User MomToTwoBoys's Avatar
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    I'd like to be able to use the furnace for heat and FIL said he could get some wood when they go out ice fishing, which is great. I think I'm going to have the furnace inspected and checked to make sure that it's going to function properly when we use it. It's already been in use (as evident by the ash and burnt wood in the fireplace at the moment) so I don't think there's anything wrong with it. Better to be safe than sorry in my world.

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    Registered User Libby's Avatar
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    Quick question - unrelated to the firewood - but didn't the furnace get checked when you had a house inspection done before you agreed to buy the new house? (or is that not a part of the home inspection?)

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    Registered User kimmy4433's Avatar
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    My parents have a wood burning stove. I love that thing!! I can remember spending summer weekends with my dad and sister (Mom was a work) driving up north to load up our trailer with firewood and driving back home in the same day. Now they just get their wood delivered. It is a bit more expensive, but for their age it is well worth it. Mom & I will also pick up bundles of sticks, branches, logs, etc that we find on the curb.

    When my parents first installed the WBS the gas company came out because they thought my parents had done something to get the gas for free, that is how much it lowered their bill!!!

    Now living in my own home, I miss having a WBS. It is a lot of work splitting, stacking, etc but the reward is so worth it!! DH & I both agreed that once we get everything paid off and we have a FFEF we are going to make the WBS our first purchase.

    OH and with it in the basement (because heat rises) the main floor is always WARM!!
    DH35 ME 34 DD 9 DS 3 DD 2
    Married my high school sweetheart


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