Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Accounting for Firewood

With the "heating season" behind us, I did some accounting on our expenditures for firewood (the primary heat source in the house) for the past two years. Somewhat to my surprise, it turned out to be almost exactly the same for the past two "seasons," which I reckoned as June-to-May. For the past two years, we spent between $1500 and $1600/year on firewood and related supplies like fire-starters and Enviro-Logs and "tips" to the the local industries who kindly drove down and unloaded pallets of North Idaho Energy Logs from the flatbed trucks. The only difference was that in 2019-2020, we had two deliveries of two pallets each of the North Idaho Energy Logs, while in 2020-2021, we bought five pallets of Pres-to-Logs from Big R.

Nobody in Fernley sells the North Idaho logs anymore, so we have to pay to have them delivered from Fallon because we don't feel comfortable taking the utility trailer on long trips until we can spend the rather substantial amount of money to have the axle replaced so we can put new tires on it. (It has proven nearly impossible to get replacement tires that will fit the current wheels, and for complex reasons, it appears that new wheels aren't available for this particular axle. It's a long story.) With the utility trailer, we can get Pres-to-Logs from Big R, which is only about 1 km from our house and is thus a short and slow drive that Lisa doesn't consider too taxing on the trailer.

The North Idaho logs are bigger and heavier, and we think the pallets have a bit more total heat capacity than the Pres-to-Logs. We can only store about one pallet at at time in the wood box, so this means when we were buying two pallets at a time, we had to unpack and store the overflow in the garage, which was not ideal, but did work.

I say this is a surprise because it seemed easier to heat the house this past winter, and we attributed this to the partial completion of Lisa's project to install under-floor insulation. The previous year was the biggest improvement, though, when we discovered that we were leaking all of our heat out of unsealed roof vents and plugged the vents and put in more ceiling insulation.

If it's possible to complete the under-floor insulation project this summer, we'll know by next year about this time whether it reduced our heating expenses. for now, though, it's good to know about how much wood we're using and how much we should expect to pay for it. I just hope that Big R continues to stock the firewood. We would have bought one more pallet this spring (the wood box is effectively empty right now and I'd rather have wood in stock when it turns cold this autumn rather than having to scramble for it), but by the time we were ready to buy it, they'd sold out for the season.
Tags: budget, wood

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