Jump to content

How to heat with wood for free!

Recommended Posts

Scouts are famous for campfires and fire safety. With tongue firmly in cheek, I offer the following:



How to Heat with Wood for Free!

It is easy to heat your home for free with wood! I have done it for many years , and I have been asked by many to detail the economics of it. Here, then, is my accounting of heating with wood over the last few years!

Wood is available for free from many sources. Neighbors may need a tree cut down. Road crews leave wood by the road for picking up. Untended lots need thinning. One just needs a little equipment.

Install catalytic equipped wood stove, double wall stove pipe: $2,432.

Build wood rack from scrap lumber : FREE!

Purchase chainsaw, case, chain oil, hardhat, safety goggles, Kevlar chaps & vest, heavy gloves: (on special!) $444.95.

Two gallon gas can and 2 gallons of gas: $9.48.

Buy old second hand pickup from cousin: $850.

Rebuild engine, new clutch, new tires, pass state inspection: $1,347.85.

Pay fine for cutting wood without a permit on park land: $150.

Replace rear window in pickup (threw log thru it): $87.

Sharpen saw chain after hitting rock in tree crotch: $15.

Buy 2 extra saw chains: $53.05.

Repair neighbors roof edge after maple fell the wrong way: $327.

Repair chainsaw after using regular gas in it (needs 2 stroke mix): $98.47.

Buy two gallons gas and pint of 2 stroke oil: $9.48.

Doctor visit after wood rack falls on foot: $20. Copay.

Crutch rental: FREE (local service club)

Clean rug and smoke damage when wife forgets to open damper: $180.28.

Lawyer visit, recommendation of marriage counseling: $250.

Of course , not everyone is as adept at wood cutting as some, so your experience will no doubt be different. Good Luck!





Link to post
Share on other sites

We used to have a BUCK STOVE brand wood buring stove when I was growing up. IT was cool too. The delux model with the fan motor that blew hot air out of 4 seperate outlets> Had an auto thermostat that would cut the fan on and off depending on the temperature in the stove.


Woke up many times at 3 am to hear whirrrrr.....whirrrrrr....whirrrrrrr.....whirrrrr as the fan cut on and off repeatedly since the temperature was right at the switch point.


My mom used to put a metal bread pan on top of the stove to keep the air in the house from drying out, but all it really did was show us how hard our water was by the scale and limestone ring around the pan.


Now, that stove did heat the house...I will not dispute that! Woke up many a mornings and had to stick my fingers in my mouth to pry my tongue off the roof of my mouth where it dried - along with my sinuses, and the interior of my lungs.


I guess I miss the romace of having a nice warm fireplace to sit in front of when it's 31 degrees outside and the wind blowing. Except teh part when you finally walked over to a chair and when you sat down, you suddenly realized how hot a shirt can get without actually catching on fire!


Of course, it got to a point it was harder and harder to find wood, and with rthe cost of gas and oil going up and the cost of electricity being stable at the time...it ended up making more sense to just get a heat pump.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt and scars.


When I was in high school, my tight-wad father decided we needed to heat with wood. It was not long after the energy crisis and a lot of folks were doing it. It was fun for a while, being out in he woods, cutting trees, splitting wood.


But soon, reality set in. To burn wood the whole winter, you have to cut wood the whole summer. The house, your clothes, you constantly smell like smoke. The house is always tracked up with sawdust, bark and dirt from hauling wood in and ashes out. With 5 or 6 neighbors doing the same, the neighborhood looked like something out of a Dickens novel.


And no, it didn't heat worth a flip. We had a long, narrow '60s ranch which was not designed for single-source heat. You could hang tobacco in the den where the stove was and killed hogs in the bedrooms. Fortunately, I went to college after a couple seasons. When I'd come home with my girlfriend (now Mrs.), she would sleep on the sofa in the den to try and stay warm.


By the time my brother went to school and the slave labor evaporated, the cost analysis changed and he converted to a new gas furnace.

Link to post
Share on other sites





Trip to the Emergency Room for chainsaw injury--




Actually, I do use wood to supplement my heat. No trip to the ER so far ---



But I did have a trip to the Doc when I was using a ten pound sledge hammer on my set of splitting wedges. A piece of steel about the size of a .38 bullet buried itself about 3" deep in my upper thigh. It's still there.


I was lucky it didn't hit me in more sensitive tissues nearby....(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Heating with wood is thrisce (sp) heated.


Generate your own heat when cutting

Generate your own heat loading/stacking

Generate your own heat when burining.


We had a fan/Buck stove for years. 3 cord of wood a winter.


Had a new house built, and wife wanted a gas ventless fireplace instead of stove. :(

Link to post
Share on other sites

My father and I were a competent team on the crosscut saw. We were the only family on the block with sawbucks in the back yard. (Probably the only family in town, but I can't verify that.)

I put a Fisher Stove in the lower level of my first house. The firebox was deep so you could feed it longer logs (less cutting). I'd start the fire with cured wood and feed it a green red oak log before going to bed. Stayed warm all night and had coals to work with in the morning.

Now I'm feeding a 4 foot Rumford fireplace with scavenged wood from the neighborhood. When a tree falls, I get the call to remove it instead of $1000 tree service. FREE Firewood!

(But Mrs. JoeBob uses the four zone heat pump...)

Link to post
Share on other sites

My favorite wood stove of all time was in the ski club ski lodge my family belonged to in the 1950s and 1960s.


The main floor was probably 2500 square feet, with dormitory sleeping on the floor above.


The main floor was heated by a wood stove probably five feet in diameter and twelve feet long. It provided the heat for the main and upper floor during cold winter days.


Wood was taken from the grounds owned by the club. Wood cutting and splitting was minimiezed by burning bolts 3-5 feet long.


There was a steel grate fence surrounding the stove which served the dual purpose of keeping people away from the hot stove and serving as a place to dry wet clothing by exposing clothing to radiant heat from the stove.


In the 1970s the age of wood went away in favor of oil heating.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Heated my home with wood in college. The wood stove was the only source of heat. Bought the wood - 10 cords for $250, dumped in a pile in the middle of the yard. $250 was a lot for a couple of college students - still, it was cheaper than a chain saw. Wood was cheap - I was shocked to learn my parents paid $35 for a face cord of wood (about 1/3rd of a full cord) when I was paying $25 for a full cord (more or less). I suppose that was the difference between suburban Chicago and rural Maine. Dogs played king of the hill until we got a chance to stack it. First year it warmed us three times. First time when we stacked it against the side of the house. Second time when we spent a weekend breaking it out of the ice after an ice storm and stacking it on the covered front porch. And of course the proverbial third time when we burned it.


I often ended up sleeping in the living room where the stove was - not to get warm, but because it was too hot in my bedroom upstairs - heat rises. Typical winter temperatures in our part of Central Maine was in the mid-20's to mid-30's. Great for snow - but not too cold. One time we had a cold snap - a few days of -10 degree weather. Worried that the pipes would freeze, my roommate and I took turns feeding the stove every two hours. Unfortunately, we didn't coordinate the feeding of the woodstove - I had an early class, her's was an hour later, we hadn't seen or spoken to each other since the evening before. I went home and fed the stove every two hours, and so did she - alternate hours from me - between us, we ended up feeding the stove once every hour. We both got home at 6pm, the dogs whimpering at the door - not because they needed to use the nearest trees, but because it was hot in the house - the indoor thermometer read 120 degrees. The four of us (2 humans, 2 dogs) ended up sleeping on the open porch of the house, on a 20 below night, with the door open to allow the heat to escape from the house for a few hours. We were pretty darn comfortable out there too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

During the energy crisis of the late 70's, my folks added a wood/coal furnace to the oil furnace. We had baseboard hot water heat. The system was set-up so that the oil furnace supplemented the wood furnace if necessary. It was a rarity for the oil furnace to kick-in. We went through 4 tons of coal and 6 cord of wood a year to heat the old 12 room house. My folks got rid of that second furnace about 15 years back and I know my father has regretted that decision. Mother was always fearful of it, especially after the chimney fire when I was in junior high. Four story chimney--it was bound to happen.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...