Wood is not Free

Re: Wood is not Free

PostBy: tcalo On: Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:09 pm

Pretty heated discussion on this wood topic! Technically it is not free, even if aquired for free. I have a Coal Chubby and burn both wood and coal in it. I burn wood when I am home to feed it and supplement with coal when I am not around. This is my first winter burning coal and must say that I love it. I do however find wood ash to be cleaner to deal with than coal ash. Oh how I love that wood burning smell. I love everything about cutting, splitting and stacking my own firewood. I acquire all of my wood for free and split everything by hand, so the only cost to me is gas for the chainsaw...and of course time! The time cutting and splitting however is something I look forward to. Keeps me in shape and is very peacful for me. Now that I have a little girl my time is precious, but as she gets old enough to help it could be a bonding experience. Bottom line is that I heat my house for practically nothing, so in my situation it makes sense. Happy burning and stay warm!

If your not aching then your not working hard enough... :flex:
tcalo
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Chubby Coal Stove
Coal Size/Type: Nut Anthracite

Re: Wood is not Free

PostBy: Bootstrap On: Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:11 pm

I'll chime in....

I burned wood on a yearly basis since I bought my house in '07. I started back then cause Natural gas was expensive for me. To heat my 1250 ft/sq ranch upstairs only was about $300 a month, and only to 63 degrees or so.(with a freezing cold partially finished basement)
I put a couple wood stoves in with prefab chimney, and burned about 5 cords per winter through it. Never any smell in the house unless the smoke from the chimney went in one of my doors.(out the chimney, then back into the house).
Came across the warm morning model 520 because I wanted something bigger. Didn't know it burnt coal or wood. After I found out it burned coal, I tried it out last year and liked it. Now, I am burning about 1500 lbs per month MAX. With the stove located in the basement, I heat my whole house to a very comfy 70-75 degrees and sometimes hotter and I don't even fire the stove hot at all.
With coal, no beating the crap out of my truck yearly or sweating my tail off harvesting that "free" wood. No constant chain saw maint. no constant back pain. In addition to that, no splitting, stacking, unstacking and carrying the wood into the house. The coal mess is significantly less.
When you think about the gas in my truck, chainsaw and all the time it took me to process the wood from tree to split logs then haul that into the house on a daily basis plus constant attention to a wood fire, coal is a no brainer for me.
Bootstrap
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Hitzer
Stove/Furnace Model: 30-95

Re: Wood is not Free

PostBy: springer On: Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:58 pm

coal berner wrote:
lsayre wrote:
coal berner wrote:
it takes 24 ft x 10 ft x 6ft of seasoned hardwood at 60 % Efficiency to = 1 ton of Anthracite coal at 13.100 BTU per lb at 75% efficiency

You need a lot more wood to heat with then you do Anthracite Coal


That's 1,440 cubic feet of wood. A cord is only 128 cubic feet (8 ft. x 4 ft. x 4 ft.). Therefore 1,440 cubic ft. = 11.25 cords

It's probably closer to 1.3 to 1.5 cords of split and stacked mixed hardwoods (seasoned) to equal one ton of anthracite.

I know what a split cord of wood is I fallen split and burned plenty of wood in the past The calculation came from Penn
State collage of Agricultural Sciences Take it up with them but they are correct 24 ft x 10 ft x 6 ft season hardwood at 60 % Efficiency = 1 ton of Anthracite with a BTU Value of 13.100 btu per lb

http://energy.cas.psu.edu/
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.
I have there Energy selector hand held slide scale so you can compare all fuels.
Cost compare Energy /Efficiency

coal
corn
electricity
firewood
# 2 Fuel oil
Natural Gas
Propane
wood pellets


Wonder what wood they were comparing since a cord of oak or Black locust have as many BTUs or more per cord than a ton of anthracite .

http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/home/heating_cooling/firewood.html
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.


white oak @ 26 million BTUs at 60 % efficiency = 16.8 million BTUs
Anthracite @ 26 million BTU's at 75% efficiency = 19.5million BTUs

So if Penn are correct I would have to burn 33 cords of wood to heat my house based on past usage of 3 tons of Nut anthracite... no way in hell I use about 5 .. I must be getting super efficiency waahoo!!!!


Now wood isn't free even though I dont pay for it that I'll admit ... But after the last 10 years of burning wood with the same chain saw's, Yes I have several , truck that I would have had anyway and splitting by hand I would say after amortization the firewood is a hell of lot cheaper than 220$ a ton for coal and thats not delivered so add another 20 for fuel for my diesel . Plus I don't need a gym membership
springer
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant multi fuel


Re: Wood is not Free

PostBy: lsayre On: Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:18 pm

The Penn State website we are all scratching our heads over tells me that hard coal at $250 per ton (the going rate for anthracite around here) yields exactly the same heat energy per dollar spent as would a full cord of mixed hardwoods at $190 per cord (also the going rate around here).


http://energy.cas.psu.edu/EnergySelector.html
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.


For a ton of coal at $250 to equal a cord of hardwood at $190, coal must either have more energy or burn more efficiently, or both. That said, they are relatively within the same ballpark.
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (if I ever get it fixed)

Re: Wood is not Free

PostBy: Rob R. On: Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:49 pm

Hey Springer, do you heat the house entirely with wood? -Or do you supplement with a "traditional" heat source like a furnace, etc?

The reason I'm asking is because I had a "coal stoker vs. wood boiler" discussion this week with a coworker. He was explaining why wood was cheaper for him...then we got to the part about him burning 300 gallons of fuel oil during the winter to supplement the wood boiler on cold nights, or when he didn't get home from work soon enough to reload the wood boiler. I had him do the math with the price of bagged coal vs. his cost for wood + 300 gallons of fuel...coal was an easy choice with the fuel factored in.

The previous owner of my home heated with wood boiler for 25+ years, and he burned mostly seasoned applewood from the local orchard. 15-16 full cords was pretty standard per winter...plus a couple hundred gallons of fuel oil for hot water in the off season. Fast forward to me heating the same house with an EFM stoker boiler, and I'm doing the same job for 9-10 tons per year. Everyone's situation is different, but anthracite costs me less than wood and all it takes is 5 minutes per day to move coal & ashes.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Wood is not Free

PostBy: steamup On: Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:36 am

Hypothetical question-

If you don't factor in your labor/time as worth something, does that mean you consider yourself "worthless"?
steamup
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman-Anderson AA-130, Keystoker K-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: HS Tarm 502 Wood/Coal/Oil
Coal Size/Type: pea, buck, rice

Re: Wood is not Free

PostBy: freetown fred On: Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:56 pm

Me personally, for burning wood for about 45 yrs before switching to coal.Yes, I logged & the wood was available to me, but the process was real beneficial to the basic health I enjoy pushin 67 this May. It's a younger mans game, but I surely would not of done it different. Was my time worth anything??? Again I attribute my health to staying real physically active & to me that is quite the payback. Sure, I'm startin to fall apart :clap: toothy but I think that's a given. Enjoy while you can my young friend.SU, that wasn't hypethetical, that was silly. ;)
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: Wood is not Free

PostBy: steamup On: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:30 pm

freetown fred wrote:Me personally, for burning wood for about 45 yrs before switching to coal.Yes, I logged & the wood was available to me, but the process was real beneficial to the basic health I enjoy pushin 67 this May. It's a younger mans game, but I surely would not of done it different. Was my time worth anything??? Again I attribute my health to staying real physically active & to me that is quite the payback. Sure, I'm startin to fall apart :clap: toothy but I think that's a given. Enjoy while you can my young friend.SU, that wasn't hypethetical, that was silly. ;)



Ah, fred you have me pegged at that one. :D Just trying to make a simple point that one has to put some sort of value to their time and activity.

I burned wood too, until all of the young-ones when off to college, but wood is not readily available to me. That and various other reasons made coal the logical choice for me. Wood is not bad, in fact it warms you twice (at least). It just is not "free".
steamup
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman-Anderson AA-130, Keystoker K-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: HS Tarm 502 Wood/Coal/Oil
Coal Size/Type: pea, buck, rice

Re: Wood is not Free

PostBy: freetown fred On: Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:08 pm

Twice (at least) INDEED my friend. toothy
freetown fred
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut/Stove mix

Re: Wood is not Free

PostBy: countryboy26047 On: Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:39 am

Figure I might as well chime-in here too.. lol As for the 'price' of heating with wood for those of that have a free supply, as far as what comes outta my pocket for it, I average between $130-$200/yr. depending on if I buy any new chains for the saws (multiple husqvarna's) ...also in these numbers I do take into account the more frequent oil changes in my truck as well as the gas for it, and believe me the ol' dodge is a thirsty critter! lol (lucky for me, I get my all my wood from my neighbors farm, only have to drive maybe 1/8th of a mile round-trip per load... As for my time spent, I look at it a couple ways, 1) my time is definately worth a LOT while cutting/splitting wood cause that means heat for my family, and also my two older boys are getting to the ages where they go out in the woods with me (they stay in the truck while I'm cutting (NOT felling), then when I'm done they jump out and 'help dad load the truck' which to me are unforgettable memories and times for 'life lessons')... 2) it helps keep me in good shape, and Lord knows I need SOMETHING for that lol....

As for those that are saying that heating with wood sucks because your fire doesn't last all night, I would say that has a few variables to it, one of the major ones being what 'device' your using to burn your wood... I have a hotblast 1557 (I know, not real great at burning coal) but I can put a load of good, seasoned, split either cherry or locust at around 9:30-10pm, house will stay between 74-76 all night, and when I leave for work in the morning around 7am, there's typically still a few good size chunks burning, with tons of hot coals..granted while I am working, if temps are low enough that the fire needs to stay burning, the wife usually has to throw in a small-medium size split sometime around 6pm since I usually work 12-14hr days...

So, for those of you that have stayed with me this far, I do have to say that, with this being my first 'year' (actually just in the past couple months) at burning anthracite, during the times that the highs were only low-mid 30's, and lows were dipping down in the teens and single digits, that anthracite was the only way to go mainly because during my 12hr work-day, my wife doesn't have to even think "crap, it's 6pm and I haven't thrown a log or two in the furnace"... Then the times like right now, hi today was upper 50's, but it's now 27 and I got the old hotblast burnin up some pin oak.

So, what's my point in this long, boring post? Wood can be an excellent source of heat with the right set-up, the 'harvesting' can actually be very valuable time-spent with yourself, or your kids...... Coal, ALSO an excellent source of heat, easier to deal with gathering (pick up the phone or jump in the truck as opposed to hours spent cutting), easier to control the heat output than wood.

Anyhow, didn't write all this to bash wood OR Coal, as I am a burner of both, just kind of a few points from the countryboy lol
countryboy26047
 
Stove/Furnace Make: US Stove Co.
Stove/Furnace Model: hotblast 1557M

Re: Wood is not Free

PostBy: springer On: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:36 pm

Rob R. wrote:Hey Springer, do you heat the house entirely with wood? -Or do you supplement with a "traditional" heat source like a furnace, etc?

The reason I'm asking is because I had a "coal stoker vs. wood boiler" discussion this week with a coworker. He was explaining why wood was cheaper for him...then we got to the part about him burning 300 gallons of fuel oil during the winter to supplement the wood boiler on cold nights, or when he didn't get home from work soon enough to reload the wood boiler. I had him do the math with the price of bagged coal vs. his cost for wood + 300 gallons of fuel...coal was an easy choice with the fuel factored in.

The previous owner of my home heated with wood boiler for 25+ years, and he burned mostly seasoned applewood from the local orchard. 15-16 full cords was pretty standard per winter...plus a couple hundred gallons of fuel oil for hot water in the off season. Fast forward to me heating the same house with an EFM stoker boiler, and I'm doing the same job for 9-10 tons per year. Everyone's situation is different, but anthracite costs me less than wood and all it takes is 5 minutes per day to move coal & ashes.


sorry I haven't been around in a while wood is my primary heat source . I got 150 gallons of fuel oil last Sept tank was empty as it ran out , I still have about 40 gallons in it . The furnace very rarely comes on most of the oil is used for domestic hot water but this summer I am having a solar hot water system installed by my neighbor who does HVAC and plumbing the system will have a 220v back up . I have a 1900 sq ft 1950's cape that I gutted and redid everything so its very tight.

Also my stove is a 25 year old Vigilant it will burn coal or wood. Never had a problem with either, I just prefer wood. My stove will hold a fire at least 8 hours on wood .I load it up at night around 11 -11:30 go to bed up at 7 and its holding at or around 400 throw in a few splits and by the time I get my coffee its roaring. I have a good situation as my son comes by every day for lunch while I am at work and he loads it again.I cut all my own wood and yes my time is valuable but I enjoy it so its worth it. Its just another hobby but one that keeps me warm ... Now my SS Chevelle is my passion but its a money pit
springer
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant multi fuel

Re: Wood is not Free

PostBy: NoSmoke On: Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:51 am

I agree with the original post on this; firewood is downright expensive!

I have heard this argument before, and will say from the start I am a farmer and have hundreds of acres of woods at my disposal and as I type this, I have 9 full cords (4x4x8 foot cords) stacked and ready to burn. But do not tell me any of it was cheap. If you really look at firewood's hidden costs, it is actually a pretty expensive way to heat your home.

First you have the land costs. I know of a homesteader who raises beef cows, and has 27 acres. He has to buy his hay because his place consists of woodlot which he uses to heat his house. He would actually be better to clear his 27 acres and put it into grass, that way he would not have to buy hay. He would be able to buy tree length firewood off someone else and be WAY father ahead money wise. And owning land is expensive. Here in Maine it is about $10 per acre for land taxes alone. If you get 1 cord per acre per year to be able to perpetually sustain you, that is $10 you would have to calculate into your "free" firewood per cord". And do not forget, those trees do not just appear there, it took 40 years to grow or more. Someone payed for that; either you in taxes if you have owned it a long time like I have, or you bought the value of those trees in the purchase price of your land.

Then there is the cost of equipment, even buying a small chainsaw will run you 400-500 dollars. Add in a wood splitter and a tractor, and you have at the minimum, $12,000 dollars in equipment costs. Granted you can do other things with a chainsaw and tractor, but all this can be broken down by hours which is what I have done.

With my chainsaw and tractor, I can fell, limb and twitch about a cord per hour, so it would take me about 10 hours to harvest 10 cords of wood. The Maine Dept of Transportation figures my tractor is worth about $29 per hour, and a man with a chainsaw is worth $12.50 per hour. These are not inflated numbers, they were calculated for a lot of hidden costs. Now taking those figures, you can easily see that 10 cords of firewood is equivalent to $515.

Now you have to process that tree length wood into firewood fit for the stove. It is going to take another 2 days to cut the wood into block lengths, split it and move it to a shed of some sort. That requires the chainsaw, tractor and woodsplitter. Figuring the same labor rate of $12.50 per hour for chainsaw/splitter use, assuming half the time is spent cutting/splitting, and the other time moving it with a tractor, you have added another $415 to the cost.

You still have to get it from the shed to your stove, plus chimney cleaning and other messy issues with wood, so you should add 15 minutes per day for all that. With a 150 day heating season in Maine, you must add another 37 hours for that. Because there is no skill involved in that, Maine Department of Transportation figures labor rates of $9 per hour. So that is an additional $337 per year.

But there are additional costs. For one we have the added cost of insurance since solid fuel heating sources have more risks then do propane, oil or electric heating sources. Because of that, homes with wood stoves pay an additional $150 per year on average.

With simple math, we can calculate that to get from stump to stove, we have an annual heating cost of $1417 for 10 full cords of firewood. For the average home owner, when you figure in all the hidden costs of heating with wood, it costs just about the same as heating with oil or propane. That is a lot of work for no real net gain.

There is an additional issue to consider too. That firewood could be sold for hardwood pulp, so if you did not use firewood at all, you could sell it as stumpage, never touch it, and make $33 per cord. Or you could do what I have done for years, taken the same amount of time to cut up firewood, (3 days) and cut it tree length wood and sell it. Since that would be 30 cords of wood at $75 per cord, I could buy $2250 in propane/oil/coal etc and have more then enough heat my house for the year, in the same amount of time I could do it working up firewood.

No matter how I calculate firewood, it always comes out expensive.
NoSmoke
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: New Yoker WC90
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vogelzang Pot Bellied Stove
Coal Size/Type: Stove/Nut/Pea Anthracite
Other Heating: Munchkin LP Boiler (Back-up)

Re: Wood is not Free

PostBy: blrman07 On: Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:12 am

Hmmm. Never thought to figure in the land taxes divided per tree per acre!
blrman07
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Bucket a Day
Hand Fed Coal Stove: installing a VC 2310
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Wood in the VC and anything that will fit in the Bucket a Day. It's not fussy.

Re: Wood is not Free

PostBy: marsoviy On: Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:50 am

Yes, high-quality firewood is very expensive because it invested a lot of effort and time.
After all they have to be more specific and humidity,
depends on combustion efficiency
marsoviy
 

Re: Wood is not Free

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Thu Oct 18, 2012 12:54 pm

You can lead them to water, but you can't make them drink! You can hold their head underwater, but you still can't make them open their mouths. Some folks will never see the Forest, the damned trees are always in the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


OK, OK, I guess I stirred up a hornets nest so I need to restate my position.

Put a Jotul 507 on line a coupla days ago. Firstly, I'm SOL on being accepted into the one match club this winter, I even failed the "well you get two tries with a new stove bylaw". More reading and bingo she's glowing and I'm in love. In so doing I went to ACE and bought Kingsford charcoal and a little bag of firewood "twigs" kiln dried. I used three twigs (which I did not need) and so now I am a wood burner too. I still have the balance of the little bag so if anybody is in the area they can spend $20 in gas to come over and get the free bag of twigs - I'm done with wood now........

Wood is free..

HAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHA ... I slay myself.
coalnewbie
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 180K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93,
Baseburners & Antiques: Invader 2 Wings Best, Glenwood #8 + Herald 116x
Coal Size/Type: Rice, Chestnut
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22