Firewood as fuel

Firewood is the oldest source of fuel for heating. For many, it remains the optimum choice for personal use. Well-seasoned wood can be an excellent financial and environmental choice.

Bill Cook, Michigan State University Extension

Most of us who burn wood have already dug into the winter supply. The snows have fallen and the season has already seen extended sub-freezing periods. Nothing beats the feel of wood heat, but do the costs compete with other fuel sources?

Well, if we have only our own free labor and the expense of a few gallons of gasoline, then wood heat clearly makes financial sense. Not only does it heat the house during the winter but it keeps warm the person doing the cutting and splitting. If you buy cordwood, avoiding the need for a truck and numerous foraging weekends, and then chunk and split it yourself, you are still saving a lot of money.

But what if you have to buy cut and split firewood? How much should you pay if the objective is to heat cheaper than using fossil fuels? The answer depends upon the price of the fuels, species of wood, the type of stove or furnace and wood moisture.

Wood sold by the standard cord is equivalent to a stack of eight foot logs four feet tall and four feet wide. Green weights will be about 4000-5000 pounds per cord, depending upon the species. Dry weights will run 1500-4000 pounds per cord.

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