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Author Topic: $ per BTU: oil vs wood  (Read 6451 times)

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Offline rank

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$ per BTU: oil vs wood
« on: January 27, 2018, 09:39:19 AM »
Hello all. At these prices, I think I'm the most expensive in the area but I'm having a hard time feeling bad about it.  Does this sound about right?

1 Bush cord of hickory sells for $400 and has 28,000,000 BTU = $14/million BTU
1 Bush cord of Basswood sells for $200 and has 14,000,000 BTU = $14/million BTU
1 CDN gallon of oil sells for $4.50 and contains 165,000 BTU = $27/million BTU

Offline Grizzly

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2018, 10:20:45 AM »
I'm trying to calculate our coal costs and I'm running into some info that requires math. But so many zeroes!!

Our coal has 18GJ per tonne (2204lbs)
1btu = 1054.615 joules
1GJ = 1,000,000,000 joules

so each tonne of coal has 17,067,839.93 btu's? Something don't seem right cause that would put my cost at:
$80.00 per tonne / 17,067,839.93 btu's = $0.000004687 per btu or $4.69 per million btu........... something ain't right.

My slab cost are covered by lumber sales but don't burn near as efficiently as logs/firewood do.
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Offline DelawhereJoe

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2018, 03:35:53 PM »
 I saw 24-28 million  btu's per ton depending on what kind of coal it was. If it was 18 GJ/sec it would come out to 17060708.17 btu/sec.
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Offline Hilltop366

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2018, 07:46:27 PM »
To get the true cost per million BTU's you have to factor in the efficiency of the heating appliance.


Offline Hilltop366

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2018, 07:48:08 PM »
There are on line calculators.

Offline submarinesailor

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2018, 09:49:38 PM »
During Energy Management training both @ NCSU and with the Association Of Energy Engineers, we were taught to use 138,950 per gallon of #2.  In addition to that, all the calculations I did while at the Defense Energy Support Center, we used the same number or 7.19 gallons per MMBTU/DTH/million BTUs.

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Offline Kwill

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2018, 08:29:48 PM »
What is a bush cord?
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Offline starmac

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2018, 10:18:19 PM »
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2018, 10:48:51 PM »
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Offline rank

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2018, 12:03:21 AM »
What is a bush cord?
Is this sarcasm?

Offline rjwoelk

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2018, 02:10:25 AM »
Is there a difference between a bush cord and just a cord?
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Offline LeeB

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2018, 05:52:33 AM »
I'll join the ranks. I never heard of a bush cord either.
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Offline Roxie

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2018, 07:04:57 AM »
From Wikipedia:  In the United States and Canada, firewood is usually sold by the full cord, face cord or bag.

    A full cord or bush cord has a volume of 128 cubic feet (3.6 m3), including wood, bark, and air space in a neatly stacked pile.[11] The actual wood volume of a cord may be in the range of 80 to 100 cubic feet (2.3 to 2.8 m3) as stacked wood takes up more space than a piece of solid wood. The most common firewood piece length is 16 inches (41 cm).[12]
    A face cord is one third of a full or bush cord stack of wood that is 4 by 8 ft (1.22 by 2.44 m) by 16 in (41 cm) and has a volume of 42.6 cubic feet (1.21 m3).[12]
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Offline Woodcutter_Mo

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2018, 07:17:57 AM »
 I had never heard of a bush cord either, or atleast not locally. Learned something new.
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Offline Blue Noser

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2018, 07:20:34 AM »
What is a bush cord?

You too huh.
yeah that's a new one on me.

This is why I like the metric system. Cubic meters are so much easier on the head  :D

That being said, I have never seen firewood sold by the cubic meter (stacked) in my part of Canada. It is always done by the cord, as that is what the vast majority of people know and are familiar with.

We also have issues with variants of the definition of a "cord". A cord is 128 cubic feet of wood, bark, and air. That is the only measurement which is approved for use in terms of firewood sales.

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2018, 07:30:29 AM »
If you use the forum search you can find 3 pages of threads where bush cord is used.  Google is your friend.   :P
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Offline Kwill

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2018, 11:24:16 PM »
What is a bush cord?
Is this sarcasm?
no sir. Never heard of a bush cord. Around these parts wood gets sold by the rank ( cut 16-18 inch long stacked 4ft high by 8ft long) or by the cord which is 3 ranks or 4 ft high 4ftwide and 8ft long.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2018, 06:06:52 AM »
Bush cord is new to me. But the worst part is I have read posts that it was in.
I don't feel all that bad,Tom did not know either.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2018, 06:13:04 AM »
Based on the BTU & cost I assumed it was a federal / standard / full cord.

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2018, 06:56:11 AM »
Lots of first time firewood buyers here that only want a face cord.  Not only is it best to specify bush, itís best to specify how many cu ft in your definition of face

Offline John Mc

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2018, 01:35:53 PM »
I've never heard a single person here in VT call it a bush cord, so I'm guessing it's a regional thing. I never bothered to look into the meaning, since no one around here uses the term. I always assumed it meant the same thing as a face cord (which is a pretty nebulous thing, since it doesn't specify length). Learned something new today.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2018, 12:03:52 AM »
I think Iím going to stop using the term face cord.  Being as you have to explain what it is anyway, might as well just call it a quarter cord or third cord

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2018, 12:40:26 AM »
Firewood here is sold by the Cube (cubic meter). So imagine a box, 1m cube, and fill it with firewood, that's the measure. So you measure your truck / trailer box, and work out how many cube, and charge accordingly. Easy enough to verify with a tape measure.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2018, 07:46:04 AM »
Firewood here is sold by the Cube (cubic meter). So imagine a box, 1m cube, and fill it with firewood, that's the measure. So you measure your truck / trailer box, and work out how many cube, and charge accordingly. Easy enough to verify with a tape measure.

I assume a Cube is defined as neatly stacked, not just thrown in?
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2018, 09:34:21 AM »
that is my question John.
I sold many thousands of cords of firewood stumpage in my career.
Here in NY the official measure is a standard cord 4x4x8, containing 128 cu ft of wood and air.
My sales were on an estimate basis but in doing this for 25 yrs only had a handful of complaints and I addressed them.
Firewood sales were while accomplishing TSI.
the fuel oil vs firewood figures cause my eyes to glaze over as I am a simpleton.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2018, 04:52:17 PM »
When figuring the fuel vs firewood are you taking the labor in account?
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2018, 09:28:43 PM »
When figuring the fuel vs firewood are you taking the labor in account?

Since he is using the market selling price he is taking into account the labor involved in producing it. Yes, it's also less convenient than fuel oil or propane, which is why it never will command the same price.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #27 on: February 05, 2018, 04:01:40 PM »
If you take into consideration the man hours it takes to log, cut, split, deliver, and stack firewood, I would say that  based solely on $ per BTU, your better off with oil/propane/natural gas.  But burning wood provides great exercise, time outdoors, and the peace of mind of not contributing to the oil/gas man's yacht payment......This is PRICELESS.

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #28 on: February 05, 2018, 08:10:39 PM »
Plus the fact that there isnt a replacement for wood heat. Most people who are use to wood heat freeze when they go to gas
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #29 on: February 05, 2018, 10:46:56 PM »
When figuring the fuel vs firewood are you taking the labor in account?

Since he is using the market selling price he is taking into account the labor involved in producing it. Yes, it's also less convenient than fuel oil or propane, which is why it never will command the same price.
Correct.  As an example I have a neighbor that puts 7 cords/yr through his wood fired boiler to heat his house and shop.  If he was to pay $400 delivered x 7 thatís $2800.  Based on btuís heíd spend $5600 on oil.  So he saves ~$2800 if he buys the wood and ~$5600 if he gets standing timber for free (which he does).

**not counting boiler efficiency

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #30 on: February 05, 2018, 11:07:44 PM »
400 a cord? That's expensive
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Offline rjwoelk

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2018, 12:07:45 AM »
My area wood goes for 160 to 175 for a 1/3 cord. Truck box load. 380 to 480 a cord.
That said just geting the 16 ft logs to my door is over 220. Then the processing labour and proffit.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2018, 08:36:58 AM »
400 a cord? That's expensive

There are people who get that around here for seasoned hardwood. We're in a fairly heavily wooded area, but just on the edge of the "bedroom community" area for Burlington, VT. $300-$350 is probably more typical, but the guys who sell for $400 delivered - dumped, not stacked (and have a good reputation) don't seem to have any trouble selling out. The least two winters were so mild, almost everyone had some left over. This winter, no problem at all getting $350 delivered.

Green wood goes for less. Then there are always the guys who sell for beer money...
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #33 on: February 06, 2018, 08:56:00 AM »
400 a cord? That's expensive
I should mention it's $400 CDNso ~ $325 US.

That is on the upper end of what guys are getting here.  My neighbor sold 40 cords for $300 last year.  Increased his price to $350 this year and still was sold out by early November.  Seasoned hardwood this time of the year you can almost name your price.

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #34 on: February 06, 2018, 07:16:11 PM »
Sounds like I need to load a semi full of red oak and head that way. A cord here brings 120.00-180.00.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #35 on: February 06, 2018, 07:35:16 PM »
How many tickets for transporting firewood would you get? :o

My house would burn 300 gallons a month in oil or four cords dry hardwood. The oil is cheaper, but not as cheap as burning the slabwood that I have to dispose of anyway. I have time and no money, so slabwood it is. I tell people that if I had to buy wood, I'd buy oil.  :D
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #36 on: February 06, 2018, 08:05:10 PM »
How many tickets for transporting firewood would you get? :o

My house would burn 300 gallons a month in oil or four cords dry hardwood. The oil is cheaper, but not as cheap as burning the slabwood that I have to dispose of anyway. I have time and no money, so slabwood it is. I tell people that if I had to buy wood, I'd buy oil.  :D

You must have a heck of a deal on oil, or your cordwood is really expensive (or your cordwood burner is not very efficient). I don't think I've ever run into someone who says cordwood is more expensive to heat with - more hassle? yes, but more expensive?
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #37 on: February 06, 2018, 09:36:58 PM »
Oil is $2.67. 300x2.67= $801 4 cords of wood delivered has got to be $1,000, maybe more. Then I would have to feed the boiler twice a day. Minimum $200 a month savings in cold weather.  As far as log length, it's a minimum of $700 for a tri-axle, but most are $800 or more. Then you have to cut and split, that is worth something, too. I based the comparison on purchased split wood to keep the labor factor out of the equation. If you value your time, log length would probably be break even with oil.  If my house was well insulated, and my oil burner wasn't a 1947 Arcoliner stolen from a steam ship, I'd probably only burn $400 a month in oil.  :D
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #38 on: February 06, 2018, 09:54:53 PM »
I'd guess Dave is heating with a outside wood boiler, I've said for years that if I had to buy wood to feed my boiler, it would be significantly cheaper to buy oil or gas.

If you're heating with an efficient inside stove or maybe one of the newer gasifier units it may be different, but the old Central Boiler's are wood pigs, very inefficient.

How inefficient you ask, a 10 years back we went on vacation in Feb and had family stay to watch the house, kids & animals.  I didn't want them to have to feed the boiler so I hooked up an oil  burner (I have the dual-fuel option).  We left Saturday morning with the boiler full of dry hardwood, a 55 gallon oil drum full of #2 and 4 - 5 gallon cans of #2 sitting beside it.  By Thursday the 75 gallons of #2 was gone & they were burning wood..  That was the last time I used the oil burner..

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #39 on: February 06, 2018, 10:18:26 PM »
I have a 6048 Dual Fuel, but I didn't have a burner in it. I'm  burning oil in the house furnace, which is very inefficient.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #40 on: February 06, 2018, 10:26:51 PM »
I have a 6048 Dual Fuel, but I didn't have a burner in it. I'm  burning oil in the house furnace, which is very inefficient.

Me too same 6048 - I believe the dual fuel option was a waste of $$$...


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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #41 on: February 06, 2018, 10:29:58 PM »
In my situation, if the wood runs out, the oil burner will start as it cycles at a lower temp than the wood boiler. If there's oil in the tank.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #42 on: February 07, 2018, 05:21:13 AM »
All I have in the firewood is my time .It's just outside my back door .Other than  that it's a well fed geothermal which does nicely all things considered .Cheaper but certainly not free .In this area oil burners are almost non existent these days .Either natural gas or profane  er propane that is .You can't even find coal to burn .Firewood is abundant and judging by the prices already mentioned rather cheap at 180-200 a full cord .Plus it's good stuff Oak,hickory and just oddles of EAB killed ash .

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #43 on: February 07, 2018, 10:27:34 AM »
Oil is $2.67. 300x2.67= $801 4 cords of wood delivered has got to be $1,000, maybe more.
Using your prices:
OIL
1 gallon of #2 = 138,500 btu x 300 gals = 41.6 million BTU's for $801 = $20/million BTU
WOOD
1 cord of hickory/ash = approx 26 million btu x 4 cords = 104 million BTU's for $1000 = $10/million BTU

What am I missing?

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #44 on: February 07, 2018, 10:33:20 AM »
Oil is $2.67. 300x2.67= $801 4 cords of wood delivered has got to be $1,000, maybe more.
Using your prices:
OIL
1 gallon of #2 = 138,500 btu x 300 gals = 41.6 million BTU's for $801 = $20/million BTU
WOOD
1 cord of hickory/ash = approx 26 million btu x 4 cords = 104 million BTU's for $1000 = $10/million BTU

Your wood burning appliance must be awfully inefficient to burn 4 cords/month.

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #45 on: February 07, 2018, 11:06:13 AM »
Your wood burning appliance must be awfully inefficient to burn 4 cords/month.

Yup they are, and then some.

To be fair I've never tried just good dry hardwood, and probably wont. 

I always burn whatever shows up (free), be it (likely green) pine, hemlock, pallets, etc..  And all of it sits outside covered with snow & ice. I cut it all to 40" and split it to 6-10" in diameter.

Weather depending, (for 15 years) I regularly burn a cord of that junk a week in Jan, Feb and March, heating to 72+ degrees a 2K sq foot basement, another 2K sq foot 1st floor and 1K on the second floor, plus all the hot water my wife & kids can use.

All told this winter (Oct 1 - April 30ish) I'll go through 15+ cord & if I had to buy that same wood I'd be ahead of the game (time & $$ wise) with oil or gas, these outside boilers are inefficient but so is the wood I choose to use.  As I said a modern efficient wood appliance burning good dry hardwood would be a different story but that's sure not what I have. 

Lots of folks ask about my boiler and my story is always the same, its a wood pig and if you have free wood and don't mind the time it will save you $$, if not stay with oil or gas.

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #46 on: February 07, 2018, 12:07:20 PM »
Everyone is trying to look at this theoretically. The real deal is that the house uses 300 gallons a month or four cords of wood. That's it. There's no need for math. The house is horribly under insulated, the oil burner is from 1947, and while it is running very cleanly, it's still not an efficient design, and three owb is not very efficient either.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #47 on: February 07, 2018, 12:37:44 PM »
I beg to differ Dave.  I believe there is a need for math.  I would guess youíre burning junk Wood.

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #48 on: February 07, 2018, 12:54:17 PM »
I specifically stated dry hardwood. I know it takes 10 gallons a day to maintain my house at temperature. I knows it takes a cord of dry hardwood a week to maintain my house at temperature.  What math is required to compare that? Sure, if you wanted to do a study of where all that synergy is going, fine. To compare the monthly cost of heating my house? No. There are a lot of places to lose heat between the owb and my basement.

The dollar value may be a littler closer to even, as I used $250 per cord, and I was just told that the price may be cheaper than that here. However, oil still doesn't require twice daily input.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #49 on: February 07, 2018, 02:28:03 PM »
I tried that green wood,once with softwood and once with hardwood. Cut it down,saw it up,split,feed to OWB,all in the same hour. Softwood took some wood,And I mean wood. I was cleaning a pasture,so I wanted it gone. Just did not need to burn 20 cords in one winter.  :D That's probably a little high. But I do know I had to work to keep ahead.
The hardwood was no where near as bad. I try to get ahead now.
I burn dead,rotten wood and I burn less of that than the green softwood.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #50 on: February 07, 2018, 02:48:34 PM »
I don't see how the math works anyway. To many varables in wood. Different wood species burn different and last different.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #51 on: February 07, 2018, 03:35:12 PM »
I for one find this topic quite interesting.

Most sources I've found say a cord of hardwood like ash, oak, maple, hickory from 24 million BTU up to 28 million BTU.  If we take these numbers as gospel, I am flabbergasted to discover that these OWB's are so inefficient.  I was thinking about getting one to heat my 80x100 shop but not so sure anymore.

I have a neighbor with a indoor hardwood boiler.  I know he only burns the best wood because he takes it from my farm and he leaves the softwood for me.  He says it takes 7 cords a year to heat his house and shop....that's ~175,000,000 BTU or equivalent to approx 1250 US gallons of oil......approx $5,000 CDN for the winter.....that sounds about right to me looking at the sq footage he's heating.  Another fellow I sell firewood to says oil costs him $1,000/month.  He says he's saving money burning my 50/50 mixed firewood his open fireplace!

One more question for Dave: How far is your OWB from your house?


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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #52 on: February 07, 2018, 03:37:19 PM »
......and another question for those that are quoting hardwood prices in the $200 - $250 range.  Is this split and seasoned or in logs?

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #53 on: February 07, 2018, 03:51:27 PM »
200- 250 range around here that split stacked and your car washed for a year
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #54 on: February 07, 2018, 03:52:29 PM »
Those prices are split delivered and seasoned. The boiler is 40' of Central Boiler 1" Pex, the insulated stuff,  to the heat exchanger,  then 80 feet through the basement to the oil burner.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #55 on: February 07, 2018, 03:53:08 PM »
And that's for top of the line wood. Not hickory ash or any of that junk wood
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #56 on: February 07, 2018, 04:20:34 PM »
My experience with dual heating sources is closer to Dave's:
The real deal is that the house uses 300 gallons a month or four cords of wood.

My indoor oil boiler used 700gal for heating season, while I burned 7cord of seasoned hardwood once I installed e-Classic as alternative.
Made math real easy.  If hardwood delivered is $235/cord (price i paid in my area); then if oil was less than $2.35/gal it was cheaper and easier to burn oil. [1 cord = 100 gal; for my situation].

I have new house now and wood heat is not an option (currently).   Each home and heating unit will have differences, this is just how it worked out for me.

         JJ

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #57 on: February 07, 2018, 04:45:11 PM »
so here is a question that I did not see talked about. Are you guys that are getting what to me looks like very poor economy running forced air furnaces?

I have a switzer dual fuel boiler. It holds 700 gallons of water and is pumped through my concrete slab in the house. I have a 1000 gallon fuel oil tank which feeds the fuel oil boiler. I can run 2 winters using that as my primary heat source and burn roughly 600 gallons. The other fuel option for that boiler is wood. I rarely use that because I am lazy. The fuel oil is automatic I have to do all the wood.

I do have a wood stove in the house that is used to take the chill out of the air since the upstairs is not heated at all.

So are you guys all running forced air heat?

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #58 on: February 07, 2018, 05:01:43 PM »
 I'm tied into my oil boiler. Cast iron baseboard and radiators.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #59 on: February 07, 2018, 05:02:51 PM »
how big of a reservoir? or is there any? its amazing how long 700 gallons of water stays warm. That is probably why mine is so efficient.

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #60 on: February 07, 2018, 05:05:02 PM »
400 gallons on the wood side of the exchanger.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #61 on: February 07, 2018, 05:07:05 PM »
No, Baseboard hot water with radiant heat in slab for 1/2 of the lower floors.
My home had several additions, with quite different r-ratings for each build.  Older walls were 2x4, newer walls 2x6 with higher grade insulation.
Sounds like your house is considerably better built (tighter), or smaller (I had 3500 sq ft to heat), and a has a very efficient heating system.
In Maine, I was not that much further north than Canadice, so climate should have been similar.

Each home and heat system will have differences, so going by pure BTUs will not give the answer if it is saving money to heat by wood, or oil.   I think end result is what matters most.

         JJ

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #62 on: February 07, 2018, 06:22:29 PM »
And that's for top of the line wood. Not hickory ash or any of that junk wood
Whatís wrong with hickory?

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #63 on: February 07, 2018, 06:45:10 PM »
Each home and heat system will have differences, so going by pure BTUs will not give the answer if it is saving money to heat by wood, or oil.   I think end result is what matters most.
For someone trying to decide on installing a wood burning appliance, The home is a constant in the equation So I guess Iím thinking if it takes x btus of oil at a certain efficiency it should take the same btus of wood at a certain efficiency. 

installing a boiler just to find the answer seems expensive

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #64 on: February 07, 2018, 07:44:33 PM »
And that's for top of the line wood. Not hickory ash or any of that junk wood
Whatís wrong with hickory?
burns up to fast
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #65 on: February 07, 2018, 07:52:22 PM »
It must not be the hickory we have in the north . Our stuff has slightly more btu's per cord as ton of hard coal .--Google it ,shag bark hickory .Try ash too it isn't far behind oak .
You want a hot fast fire stoke it with little pieces .Longer lasting fire  larger pieces ,simple . ;)

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #66 on: February 07, 2018, 08:10:39 PM »
Now here is good ole Dave in Mass .Big old drafty house,cord a week .Then comes old Al in the middle of a corn field who burns  a little over a cord a month in the coldest of weather .--Now  this is 2200 sq feet on one level,brick with thermopane  windows and insulated like it were in Alaska .There in lies the difference .

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #67 on: February 07, 2018, 08:17:58 PM »
I think I will stick with the red oak. I mix in some hickory occasionally. I actually got several I need to cut down. May burn some next season as I will let it season from now till then.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #68 on: February 07, 2018, 08:30:01 PM »
Yes indeed red oak is good firewood with one drawback .It doesn't weather well .Unlike white oak that does .I burned up several  cords of red  in my slash pile  last summer that had laid  on the ground too long before I got to them .< long story .The white oak,same length of time in ground contact,solid as a rock .That said you have to burn whatever you have .--it all produces heat . 8)

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #69 on: February 07, 2018, 08:39:53 PM »
No, my owb isn't the greatest choice, but it is what I have. I have $2500 and three days of letting my plumbers dog out while he was on vacation invested in  it.  :D I only burn sawmill byproducts and hazard trees removed by my town. No trees have been taken down solely for the purpose of heating my house.

If one was building a new house, I would suggest putting every available penny into insulation and high R windows. Netzero would be my goal at a minimum.

$15,000 for a gasifier installed with Pex and a heat exchanger.
$15,000 for a hydronic primary system to tie into.
$40,000 for 25 years worth of wood @ 8 cords per year (Remember, you spent all your money on an owb, you couldn't afford the good windows or extra insulation, and let's assume the boiler actually survives the 25 year warranty :D).
$ for your time to feed the boiler, and clean up the mess.

That's $70,000 That could be spent on net metered solar, high R insulation, good windows, and a little electric heat for the days that the planned for solar gain isn't available.

Sure, my numbers are generalizations, but it is food for thought. At the end of either plan is the replacement of the boiler or pv system. In 25 years boilers will probably be illegal and a new pv system will probably just roll out as the new roof you needed anyway for a fraction of what either a roof or pv system cost in the beginning.

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #70 on: February 07, 2018, 08:50:54 PM »
... I only burn sawmill byproducts and hazard trees removed by my town.
Is the bark still on these slabs?

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #71 on: February 07, 2018, 09:07:01 PM »
Usually, but not always.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #72 on: February 07, 2018, 09:17:14 PM »
Yes indeed red oak is good firewood with one drawback .It doesn't weather well .Unlike white oak that does .I burned up several  cords of red  in my slash pile  last summer that had laid  on the ground too long before I got to them .< long story .The white oak,same length of time in ground contact,solid as a rock .That said you have to burn whatever you have .--it all produces heat . 8)
I will have to disagree with you on red oak not weathering good. We had the place logged the end of 2012 first of 2013. Had red oak and post oak logged. The tops from the red oak stayed in good shape unlike the post oak. They got soft within the first year. Some of the red oak was 3 years before I got to it and it was all still in good shape and solid.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #73 on: February 07, 2018, 09:26:01 PM »
Usually, but not always.
that certainly answers some questions for me about missing btuís

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #74 on: February 07, 2018, 09:47:13 PM »
I'm not using slabwood when I'm talking about dry hardwood, I'm talking about cut, split and seasoned ash, hard maple, cherry, and red oak. Most of my slabs are pine. It takes almost two cords of slabs a week when its really cold.

Couple days wood when it's near zero. No ash from the softwood, which is nice.



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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #75 on: February 08, 2018, 08:09:31 AM »
No, Baseboard hot water with radiant heat in slab for 1/2 of the lower floors.
My home had several additions, with quite different r-ratings for each build.  Older walls were 2x4, newer walls 2x6 with higher grade insulation.
Sounds like your house is considerably better built (tighter), or smaller (I had 3500 sq ft to heat), and a has a very efficient heating system.
In Maine, I was not that much further north than Canadice, so climate should have been similar.

Each home and heat system will have differences, so going by pure BTUs will not give the answer if it is saving money to heat by wood, or oil.   I think end result is what matters most.

         JJ

I am 2200 sq ft. concrete slab downstairs with radiant heat. No heat upstairs living room is clearstory to the roof so I have a lot of volume to heat which is where the wood stove comes in great.


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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #76 on: February 08, 2018, 07:17:25 PM »
I'm not using slabwood when I'm talking about dry hardwood, I'm talking about cut, split and seasoned ash, hard maple, cherry, and red oak. Most of my slabs are pine. It takes almost two cords of slabs a week when its really cold.

Couple days wood when it's near zero. No ash from the softwood, which is nice.


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do you hire a neighbor kid to set by the stove and throw wood in every little bit.
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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #77 on: February 08, 2018, 07:31:06 PM »
Like it or not it's just a fact an outside burner uses a lot of wood as compared to an inside stove .Then you have to factor ,the mess isn't inside the house .they can take not only huge amounts per load but also larger pieces .Plus they will burn anything that fits through the door .Hickory to swamp willow ,dirty diapers you name it .
I know a guy in Ohio who heats two rental trailers plus about 4000 sq feet of house and shop .He claims he burns 24 cords a year .He loads it up with a skid loader .They aren't for everybody .

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #78 on: February 08, 2018, 08:21:52 PM »
I'm not using slabwood when I'm talking about dry hardwood, I'm talking about cut, split and seasoned ash, hard maple, cherry, and red oak. Most of my slabs are pine. It takes almost two cords of slabs a week when its really cold.

Couple days wood when it's near zero. No ash from the softwood, which is nice.


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do you hire a neighbor kid to set by the stove and throw wood in every little bit.

I fill twice a day. In cold weather, -10 at night,  teens during the day, 12 hours is about as far as I want to go. If I'm burning softwood slabs, a fill means 42" long wood completely filling the box.
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Offline Klunker

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #79 on: February 08, 2018, 08:40:05 PM »
No, my owb isn't the greatest choice, but it is what I have. I have $2500 and three days of letting my plumbers dog out while he was on vacation invested in  it.  :D I only burn sawmill byproducts and hazard trees removed by my town. No trees have been taken down solely for the purpose of heating my house.

If one was building a new house, I would suggest putting every available penny into insulation and high R windows. Netzero would be my goal at a minimum.

$15,000 for a gasifier installed with Pex and a heat exchanger.
$15,000 for a hydronic primary system to tie into.
$40,000 for 25 years worth of wood @ 8 cords per year (Remember, you spent all your money on an owb, you couldn't afford the good windows or extra insulation, and let's assume the boiler actually survives the 25 year warranty :D).
$ for your time to feed the boiler, and clean up the mess.

That's $70,000 That could be spent on net metered solar, high R insulation, good windows, and a little electric heat for the days that the planned for solar gain isn't available.

Sure, my numbers are generalizations, but it is food for thought. At the end of either plan is the replacement of the boiler or pv system. In 25 years boilers will probably be illegal and a new pv system will probably just roll out as the new roof you needed anyway for a fraction of what either a roof or pv system cost in the beginning.

I have a new house, lots of insulation (8 1/4" insulation on the walls for R33), 6" on foundation. I have the most glass on the south side, triple pane windows and a PV system. I heat with a masonry heater that burns wood. So far this year I have not hit 2 cords yet. Maybe around end of Feb I'll be there. Oh, and house is 2800sq ft story and a half not including 1900 some sqft basement. Basement is not heated at all, its approx 58-60deg usually. House is ALL electric.

So my house is efficient and my wood use is as good as it gets. Lets say 2 1/2 cords/year to be generous.
I have electric air source heat pump for back up heat if I don't want to mess with firewood. I don't want to guess what it would take using electric to heat the place. $200-$300/month? Probably more.
Going price for fire wood around here is $250/cord. So I use about $625/yr if I purchased wood. I cut my own. I'm retired, I have the time, the out of pocket cost is less than $100. Heating season runs from Oct to April generally, figure 6 months. No way electric is going to be $100/month to heat my house. Oh, and with the wood main floor is 72-74 and upstairs is 75-80. Try that with electric.

solar gain, yes I see it. On a sunny day my heat will go up a couple of degrees. Too bad sun does not shine at night.

Problem with solar is not enough sunlight in winter. I have electric bill of approx $150/month in Dec and Jan so far. No way I could heat my house with solar in winter. We had snow covered panels for a day here and there, no solar. Lots of cloudy days, very little solar. Oh and around here, if you don't have any storage (batteries) when the power goes out, your PV shuts down too. I would need to double my system I'll bet to live off grid here.

Summer time I'm in fat city, getting paid by the power co.

Smaller house, 1500 sq ft or less, more insulation then maybe I could do it. I'm sure it can be done. Now I'm at $14/sqft of solar cost. does not include insulation, better windows.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #80 on: February 08, 2018, 09:11:07 PM »
Dave,I better not say what I feed my OWB with.   ;D Dead cedar,I mean the kind that don't even have any limbs on it. Been leaning against another tree for many,many years. No limbs at all. Then I suppose the dead standing fir would not sound good. I won't mention the stuff that has fell on the ground either. I have a tractor and driving across a dead tree on the gorund 8 inches through is hard on the tractor. Might just as well burn it. I burn alot of dead white pine too. My OWB will take a 54 inch stick,but very seldom it it really filled. With crooked wood and maybe a limb that is sticking out,makes it next to impossible to fill it to the max. I had my logged about 4 years ago,I'm still picking stuff up.
I need a  way to get rid of this wood and a OWB is the answer. Been a few times when I had a water temp of 140į,but throw in some more wood and those blowers come on and in less than an hour,I have it back up to 180į.
I has alot of dead standing white pine. Still have some left to cut. Like one of my friends tells me,I'm just giving it more drying time.  :D
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #81 on: February 08, 2018, 09:46:53 PM »
--Like I said they don't care what they burn no fuss about who has the best wood .Just throw it in there .Forced air draft it just does it's thing .They aren't for me but would work well for others .
Although good ole Dave mentioned cast iron radiators he didn't specify .If they are the ones made about 1930 they weigh about 300 pounds a piece and aren't nearly as efficient as modern hydronic units used on modern hot water heating  .Ya gotta do what you gotta do at times which I can certainly relate to .
Now these prices on firewood seem a tad bit high if one were to heat that way .I'm 70 years old and grew up with at least some form of wood heat all my life  and I've never ever paid for firewood .I wouldn't bother with if I had to buy it .

Offline starmac

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #82 on: February 09, 2018, 01:31:30 AM »
Outdoor boilers being able to burn junk is what got wood outlawed up here. They tried several years to just outlaw the outdoor boilers, but never could get it done, finally added wood stoves, pellet stoves, coal and waste oil and got her done.
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #83 on: February 09, 2018, 05:42:04 AM »
-so much for the story Alaska is the last frontier ---

Offline thecfarm

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #84 on: February 09, 2018, 06:22:14 AM »
junk wood ???   :D New word for me. I don't want to turn this thread into a junk wood debate.
I burn ALOT of dead standing wood. Did I all ready say ALOT?  ;D I know when a tree falls over and lays on the ground it starts to rot and adds all that good stuff back into the ground. But I'm not about to walk by 30-40 dead fir and start cutting 30-40 good hard wood trees. Those are my money trees. Last I knew I can't sell dead fir,cedar,hemlock,and pine. But it will and does make heat for me. Again,the reason I bought a OWB.
Just so others know,my type of OWB will smother the fire out when it's not needed to heat the water. So,when I open the door,there appears not to even be a fire in the firebox. When I went and looked at the Heatmor,the dealer did that. He left the feed door open and we talked about the OWB for a few minutes and with the door being open there was air getting to the wood and it started to burn.
I have burned all types of wood off my land.Good seasoned hardwood. Green hardwood and pine. I do mean green,cut it and a Ĺ hour later burn it. No more green for me. First off the smoke, there was a thread on here,or is it steam? All I know for sure is it took ALOT more wood. Won't do that again.
Now I have nothing to back this up,no fancy graphs or power point.  ;D  Just 10 years of burn time. I feel I don't burn much more dead wood than hardwood. Yes,I know I burn more,but it's a way to get rid of something that is not worth anything. And as far as smoke,I don't see that much of a diffeance. There again,I have no way to check out the particles in the air. Now if I am burning some of that wood dead wood that has been on the ground,now that will smoke,due to it not being dry. I do noticed I burn more with that wood.
And I burn what slabs I have. I only saw for me, I don't get 10 cord a year.In my area I can still burn my slabs.So on matter what,my slabs will make smoke.
OWB does have a bad name for smoke. The gasser are much better. I have an old cook stove that we use to use. That thing will smoke. But that's OK,because it's not a OWB.
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Offline Grizzly

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #85 on: February 09, 2018, 01:03:17 PM »
So most of us use an OWB for waste recovery and not so much for a calculated cost of btu. Makes sense. I used to go through about $1700.00 worth of coal each winter and now I use up some chainsaw hours and extra wheaties for the boys to cut it all and keep it fed. I'm happy with my waste recovery program and I haven't wasted a minute counting how much wood goes in cause its already been paid for by my sawmill and dumped as waste. But I'd sure like a better boiler for wood. One designed for coal does not do as well with wood.
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Offline Kwill

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #86 on: February 09, 2018, 02:52:29 PM »
The water type owb seem to smoke more or worse than the force air units. I would guess because they spend more time smoldering than the force air.
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Offline rjwoelk

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #87 on: February 18, 2018, 06:16:45 AM »
What is a bush cord?


You too huh.
Thats when you have cut a pile of wood in the bush, and your now totally "bushed." :D
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: $ per BTU: oil vs wood
« Reply #88 on: February 19, 2018, 09:21:02 AM »
As you can see by my profile I am pretty old but still feed my 13 year old classic OWB twice a day, usually 10 pieces of medium size split and DRY (2 years) wood, more if really cold.
My house is well insulated, about 3200 sq feet heated to 73 degrees.
I still cut some but my son and grandson now do most of  the heavy lifting.
My 65 acres of Northern Hardwood forest has supported 2 households for 25 years now, burning tops from 2 timber sales and doing TSI work.
Regarding green wood cfarms comment is right on.
When I sold standing firewood in my forestry career, I would tell the green burning proponents to take 2 paper towels soak one, wring as much water out as possible, light, or try to light both and see which burns better.
Seemed to open their eyes.
My classic is not forced draft and burns fairly clean, smoke for a few minutes and then pretty clean.
I had a Taylor in the 90's forced draft that ate wood almost as fast as I could carry it to the unit.
Dont know if they are still made.
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