Approximately 2.4 million households use wood to heat their homes. Heating your house with wood is a noteworthy choice because wood is renewable, newer wood stoves are energy efficient, and wood stoves are versatile household objects.
To heat your home with wood, you will need 1 cord every 30 to 60 days if you have a non-catalytic wood stove. A cord is a pile of wood that is 4 feet tall, 4 feet deep, and 8 feet wide. This is also the volume of 128 cubic feet. If you have a catalytic wood stove, you may only need 1 cord per season. However, there are other factors to consider in your calculation including the size of your home, where you live, and your lifestyle.
A cord of wood can cost between $150 and $400 depending on where you are located and what time of year it is. This range does not include other fees, such as delivery or processing fees.
If you are purchasing your wood in spring or summer, you may be able to get a better price because the demand is lower. If you are able to purchase the wood in the off-season, this can save you money as the prices surge during the fall and winter seasons.
Factors to Consider
There are many factors to consider to figure out how much wood you will need to heat your home.
Size of the Home
The larger your home, the more wood you will need. You can consider the number of square feet in your home, the number of rooms, and the number of floors. The larger your home is, the more wood you will need. Find out where you can buy firewood.
Weather Where You Live
Where you live will have a big impact on the amount of wood that you need for your home. If you live on the west coast in a milder climate, you might need less wood. If you live in the north or in Canada, you will need more wood due to the lower temperatures during the fall and winter.
You will also need to take into consideration your lifestyle. For example, are you home all day? Are other family members in the house during the day? If so, you may need more wood because you will want to keep the house heated during both the day and night.
But, if you are out during the day, you may be able to heat less wood and let the daytime temperature in the house drop if no one is home.
Tips for Purchasing Wood
There are many factors to consider when purchasing wood to heat your home. Following these tips can save you money and ensure you are getting what you paid for.
Clarifying Definitions when Purchasing
When you are purchasing your wood, it is important to clarify with the dealer how they define a “cord” because sometimes definitions vary with terms such as “face cord,” “kitchen cord,” and “stove cord.”
Additionally, when purchasing, be wary of terms such as “pile” or “truck-full” because those terms are non-specific, and you may end up over-paying for the firewood.
Asking these questions can ensure you are getting a fair price for the wood you are purchasing to heat your home.
Check out the Wood Before Purchasing
If possible, it is always a good idea to check out the wood you are planning to buy before you purchase it. You can check out the quality and also see if the wood is in a neat, organized stack and sold by the cord.
A Surplus of Firewood is No Problem
People who heat their home using wood state that it is better to have a surplus of firewood as opposed to not having enough. Therefore, it’s better to order more wood and use it later as opposed to not having enough wood.
Why Heat with Wood?
People heat their homes with wood for all different reasons. Some heat their homes with wood because wood is a renewable energy source and is deemed carbon neutral.
Others heat with wood because it is versatile. Consumers also appreciate that local firewood is a product that creates jobs. Other people support heating their homes with firewood because it connects them to their community, cultural history, and nature.
Tips for Maximizing your Wood
There are ways you can maximize the wood you have to keep your home warm and cozy.
You can use a fan to push the hot air throughout the house. You can also have vents installed in the ceiling of the room where the stove is in order to help the heat travel.
Have Good Insulation
Good insulation can really help to keep the house warm if you are heating it with wood. You will want to make sure any and all cracks are filled will insulation.
If you have single-paned windows, you might consider replacing them with triple-glazed wood windows might help to keep the heat inside for longer.
Choose a Good Location for the Stove
The location of your stove is important. If it is in the wrong place, it is likely that the heat will not be distributed throughout the house.
Having the stove installed downstairs is the best option. This is because heat rises and will more naturally keep the second story of your home warm.
Keep the Wood Burning All Night
There are several tips for keeping the wood-burning all night. Some of these tips include removing unusable ash, raking live coals, adding kindling, and paying careful attention to the wood you select.
Types of Stoves
There are two types of stoves that are most commonly used to heat your home with wood. The types of stoves are non-catalytic and catalytic.
A non-catalytic stove burns more efficiently at a moderately high temperature. If you choose this type of stove, a non-catalytic stove can burn 1 cord of wood in 30 to 60 days, depending on how much you use it.
Catalytic stoves are even more heat efficient than non-catalytic stoves. They work best at lower temperatures and are more suitable for places where a long, low-temperature fire is desired.
These types of stoves can burn for 30 hours without having to add more wood when used at a lower temperature. At a higher temperature, 8-12 hours is the average burn time.
Catalytic stoves require some maintenance every few years.
Is hardwood or softwood a better choice of wood?
Hardwoods cost more because they make better fires, but they are a better choice. Hardwoods can include oak, maple, ash, and walnut.
Try to avoid softwoods like pine, fir, hemlock, and spruce because they have a higher burn temperature. They also create more smoke. Because they burn at a higher temperature, they are also less cost-effective.
Where should I store my piles?
It is recommended to keep the pile a minimum of 20 feet from the nearest door. This is to keep any pests or rodents from having a straight path from the wood into your house.
It is recommended that you use a firewood rack to keep the wood organized.
Do I have to heat my home with wood?
Heating your home with wood is one option for heating, but it is not required. If you are interested in trying out a wood stove, consider installing a wood stove in your garage. It is possible to heat your home with wood, and there are many great reasons to do so. It is better to order a surplus of wood than to run out. Based on a variety of factors, you can estimate how many cords of wood you will need to heat your home.