Wood Cutting Season is Here


Right now, even though we are in the middle of November here in Missouri, the weather still seems fall like. I am by no means complaining because that is less wood that we have to burn and more we have in stock. It is odd looking out to see that there are still leaves on the trees and roses are still blooming. Just recently it has began to frost so there is a sign that it will get cold soon. I’ve heard that it’s supposed to be a bad winter but you never know since Missouri is kind of in the middle when it comes to hard winters. Last winter was definitely an easy one and wasn’t too bad.

Anyway, I just thought I’d do a simple post on heating. This isn’t going to be a big detailed post, just a couple short examples.

These are averages of popular heating methods

Cost of natural gas = $1.10 for 100,000 BTU
Cost of electricity = $2.93 for 100,000 BTU
Cost of heating oil = $2.50 for 100,000 BTU (This info I think is for Oregon just as an example)

Electricity is in cents per kilowatt hour, and gas units are in dollars per therm
In Missouri the average cost of electric heat 8.87
The natural gas 1.18

Propane Heat

I grew up with propane heat so I always thought I liked it and when I was in my teens I lived in an old house that wasn’t well insulated that had a regular stove in the middle. My bed room was in the attic right over the stove. Heat rises so it wasn’t half bad. Then I lived on my own for a bit and I purchased 3 of those water radiators and they did a decent job but my electric bill was pretty high and it always took forever to heat up the house. Otherwise it has always been propane heat that I have been around. As an adult, I never had to pay for the price of propane so I tried to look up an average of what a household would use.

Honestly, it will be different for everyone. It depends on the square footage of your house, the temperature that you leave the thermastat on, how cold it is in the area you live, how many people live in said household, etc! Let’s say you live in the midwest and you have a 1200 sq ft house and the propane is for heat only and not a stove or water heater. Just looking at averages, it seems like you’ll need 750 gallons and depending on what time of the year you buy it ranges from $2-3 a gallon. (In most cases) Let’s pick $2 a gallon, that equals to: $1500 (If you have a different outlook on this, leave a comment)

Wood Heat

Here is what we do. Wood heat is pretty cheap if you are cutting it yourself. Initially a saw can be pricey but compared to electric bills and propane bills I don’t think it’s too much especially for an investment that you can use every year. You’ll have to buy gas, the oil mix to put in the gas, chains, and chain oil. Other than that, it’s pretty much just your time. I will say this: It’s hard work and unless you want to hurt yourself, you need to take it easy and pace yourself. Big thing that I often fail at is when you need to lift, lift with your legs and not your back. Last Saturday, I just tried to not lift logs that were heavier than I can handle. Usually, I want to get it done as fast as possible so I push myself too hard but I did pretty decent this time and left the heavier to Jeremy who can handle it better than my wimpy self.

We have a wood furnace. We upgraded a few years ago from an outside furnace that didn’t do a very good job. We’ve also upgraded the place a bit. We’ve run new ducting and moved vents around to where they made more sense being at. We’ve also put thermapane windows in the whole house which has been awesome! I think last year which was an easy winter we went through… 3-4 cords of wood? We’ve got that cut right now so we are doing good for the year so far. I will say, I’m so ready for those fires though! You can buy wood around here for $125-160 a cord. Different areas I think average is $150-200 a cord. We used around 4 cords last year so let’s go in the middle at $150×4=$600. So we saved money for sure but I still consider that lower than other options I’ve listed.

Pellet Stove

I know people like the idea of wood heat but don’t want to do the wood cutting and pellet stove seem like a cheaper alternative but the price of a stove runs from $1700-3000. That being said, any start up cost is usually high. Our wood furnace ran us around $2000 but I can handle the investment because cutting wood isn’t going to cost.

With a pellet stove, you have to buy pellets for said stove. Pellets are measured in dollars per ton. Average costs usually run $250 per ton. If you buy early in the year before cost and demand hits, you can get them cheaper. There are 3 different grades of pellets: Premium, Standard, and Industrial. They are measured by the amount of ash they produce. The standard grade is mostly composed of bark so it burns really fast and you won’t get much out of them even though they are less expensive you’ll end up buying more. Premium wood pellets have less bark which means less ash and more burn. It is usually comprised of pine, spruce, or oak wood. Industrial is only to be sold for industrial use and has a production of 3% of ash or more. The average home uses about 7 tons of pellets (During a mild winter like this one so far it would be less). So let’s use the 7 just for an idea. That’s going to run you $1750.

What this all leads up to is… Cutting your own woods, save money. Hope this helps anyone who isn’t sure of what heating system they want. I don’t have a lot of information on this just some basics but, this gives you an idea anyway.

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