Has anyone every questioned the economics of heating with wood. Beyond the fact that you – or your wood supplier – have to massacre living creatures (yeah, read Peter Wohlleben’s bestseller, "The Hidden Life of Trees") so you can chop them up and throw them in a fire (are you feeling guilty yet), I have to inform you of the economics of the woodstove I had put in when we renovated the kitchen in our home a few years back (I say “we”: the only thing I was allowed to do was the demo work).
Anyhow, my wife got her island and banquet. Brilliant me: I got the woodstove. Here how that worked out economically:
Cost of stove $1500
Cost of installation : probably about $3000
Cost to redo heat shield three years later: $800
Cost of chimney sweep: $95
Cost of wood: I cut my own wood (or at least did). Probably about 80 hours a year cutting, hauling it off of the hillside in back, splitting (using neighbors splitter, otherwise add this cost). Anyhow, value of one wood cord each year if brought from dealer: $350 vs. probably $4000 a year if l value my time at $50,00/hour.
Cost of fixing chain saw this year: $149
Cost of chiropractor this fall, after health insurance: $90 (may be from lifting wood, maybe not)
Cost of chainsaw: $400 (brought in past but I will wear this out so must depreciate)
Cost of shed and rack now used to house wood: probably $3000.
Cost of negative feedback from wife: incalculable.
Besides this, does any one know how much time is involved with cleaning the thing out every day I use it, restocking the stove with wood I have to haul down from the shed behind my home.
Okay, on the plus side:
- I save $350 a year in oil costs (100 gallons of oil saved).
- I have back up heat should I lose power (I haven’t in ten years – ever since I brought a generator).
- I can live under the illusion that I have a small iota of self sufficiency (did I tell you I was heavily influenced by the 1960’s back to the land movement?)
- I can drive my car for about 3000 miles (or thereabouts) but am carbon neutral due to my use of wood offsetting my heating oil usage…
On balance, once you exclude the economics, it seems a wash….