Save On Your Heating Bill: Chop Wood Chapter 2
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Save On Your Heating Bill: Chop Wood Chapter 2

Heating your home with your fireplace is cost effective.

By the teachings of Karl Marx, the consumer is always at the mercy of the means of production. This concept is especially apparent with utilities, where users usually only have one or two choices of supply. Astute observers will notice that electricity and natural gas costs rise in the winter when their usage increases for the purpose of providing heat (basic supply and demand). Although, conceptually, the individual will always be at the mercy of the market, using your fireplace can drastically reduce your utility bill during the winter.

There are some practical considerations for chopping wood and using it for home heating. To be cost effective, you need a good supply close to your home. If you are lucky enough to have trees on your property, then you can cut them down and use your own wood if you wish. Most likely, you will end up using your local craigslist to find out about where trees need to be cut.

This raises the issue of transportation. Wood is messy (especially the bark and sap of the pine tree). If you have a truck with a bed, this is no issue, but I rely on my car to transport wood. No matter what vehicle you use, pay close attention to the GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) and maximum cargo capacity of your vehicle. My 1991 Honda Accord, for example, can carry 800 pounds, which leaves about 660 pounds for wood after me.

What kinds of wood can you burn? Anything, so long as you exercise caution. It is not recommended to burn pine, because it is rumored to start fires in your fireplace chimney (the sap leaves tar deposits on the inside of the flue which can ignite). It is recommended to cure all woods for at least a year before burning them. Not only is this safer for your fireplace, but cured wood burns much easier. A benefit of other woods besides pine is that they are generally harder, and burn longer and hotter. They do take time and effort to ignite, however.

If you do not have the luxury of time to cure wood, you will have to render the wood into very small, kindling-sized pieces in order to burn it effectively. Healthy trees pump 10-100 gallons of water or more through their trunks per day, and this water will still be there when you chop the tree down (note how much heavier new wood is!). If you can't wait, try to take advantage at the very least of summer's heat to dry out your wood.

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Comments (3)

At one time, I had enough property that I allowed tree trimmers to dump their stuff in a back corner. My daughter and I would take the car down and cut up enough wood to fill the trunk then bring it to the house and split and stack it. Hard work, but good work. Good articles, both of them.

Thank you! However much it annoys my wife, I really enjoy chopping wood. Happy times!

Back in the day we used a box trailer hitched to the back of a Farmall Tractor. In later years we switched to a 2 and 1/2 tom rack bodied truck. We cut down enough Elm trees and Oak trees to heat three farm houses not to mention the wood we used to fire up the kitchen stoves in those houses as well. .Chopping wood is good exercise.