Because they want to save on power costs incurred from using their heating systems and stoves, many homeowners are now switching back to firewood. In order to truly save on costs, use of firewood should also be properly allocated. If you buy more firewood than you need or can use, you are defeating your aim of cutting down on energy costs. Hence you must know how to estimate how much firewood to buy to precisely meet your heating needs. Read the following tips for your guidance:
- Consider the size of your house, the number of fireplaces and stoves you have in your home, their respective sizes and how often you use them during certain periods.
- Know that firewood is sold in cords. A cord is a term of measurement used by firewood sellers to refer to each bundle of wood. One cord of firewood has standard measurements of 128 cubic feet. This is equivalent to 4 feet in height, 4 feet in width and 8 feet in length. One cord of firewood (hard quality) is estimated to be equal to heating oil in the amount of 150 to 200 gallons. Wood types that are considered hard wood are ash, sugar maple, beech, hickory and oak.
- Take note of the other bases of measurements for firewood such as truckload, rack and pile. These terms actually have no legal acceptability especially in the state of Oregon, but they are nonetheless used in firewood business. Hence to get a close estimate of how much firewood to buy, you just have to ask the vendors their opinion. Give them an idea about your personal usage and they will help you arrive at a close estimation.
- Compute your consumption of heating oil. With its given equivalent of a cord of firewood, compute how much firewood you need for the entire year. You should also consider how efficient your firewood stove is before finalizing your estimate. Large stoves naturally require more firewood, as do massive fireplaces. Be informed too that a cord of hardwood produces a heat amount of 21 million BTUs. Compute your firewood requirements now against the amount of energy yielded from 100 gallons of oil, which is 14 million BTUs.
- Draw a comparison between the price of firewood and price of oil. Wood sells roughly at 250 dollars per cord while oil pegs at 5 dollars per gallon. Doing the math you will come up with this estimate: for 1000 gallons of oil a year, you will spend 5,000 dollars, while for 5 cords of firewood, you will shell out only 1,250 dollars for one whole year supply.
- Count how many times you buy firewood in a year. Some people buy in bulk (for one year supply), others buy in staggered basis. Now if you use wood several times in a month (alternately with oil), you need to buy approximately half a cord for each buy. If you do your firewood purchase two times a week, one cord will suffice. With a moderately sized house (with three bedrooms), you need around 3 to 5 cords of firewood a year, assuming that your home has excellent insulation system. For larger homes, you need to buy 6 or more cords of firewood.
To ensure the quality of the firewood you are buying, purchase seasoned wood because it has 20 percent or less water content. Also, it is wise to buy firewood during springtime so you have time to dry them until the summer months.