Can using firewood save money during the coming winter?
Russia’s war against Ukraine, the unstable world situation, growing inflation and Europe’s unified goal to reduce its energy dependency on Russia have caused an energy crisis. The ongoing crisis is above all about energy sufficiency so to make it trough the coming winter, all of us should save energy where we can.
But no matter how hard you work to save energy the increasing prices might hit your wallet hard, especially if you heat your home with electricity. Using firewood for heating during the coming winter can help you to save a lot of money as well as help us all get trough the worst.
Firewood usage helps to reduce the amount of purchased heating energy
This winter firewood plays an important role as part of security of supply and crisis preparedness, especially if it can help you to heat your home alongside electricity. In this case, firewood is a significant safety feature for example in the event of power outages during the winter. If a longer power outage hits in the middle of a worst frost season, firewood can be a real savior.
Even if won’t have power outages, using firewood helps to reduce the amount of purchased heating energy. When electricity prices rise firewood is an excellent help in reducing energy consumption and the total amount of electricity bills. Firewood is therefore an affordable way to heat your home and reduce the cost of your own energy consumption.
When you use firewood for heating, it is important to maximize its heat output. The heat output is highest when you burn your firewood efficiently and cleanly. Clean and efficient firewood burning can be ensured by making sure that your firewood is good quality, dry and clean.
Always bring your firewood inside at least a day before you plan to use it. This way the moisture accumulated on the surface of the wood has time to dry and the firewood will ignite more easily as well as produce significantly less emissions during ignition. Make sure you light the fireplace correctly and leave free at least a third of the fireplace. Remember to open all the doors inside so that the heat spreads evenly through every room.
Also the stove in use affect in heat output. More energy efficient modern stoves heat up faster and recover more heat with the same amount of wood than older fireplaces with lower energy class.
Does firewood help you save on your electricity bill?
It is fact that the strong demand has also increased the prices of firewood during the past autumn. Despite that, firewood is still a fairly inexpensive form of heating.
When evaluating the price of firewood, you should be careful about the volumes. Many for example mix up liters and throwing cubes. Different trees also have different calorific value, which of course also affects their price. So always remember to consider these aspects when you compare prices.
Rough calculations can be made, for example, as follows. One throwing cube of wood means the following weights and heat values for different types of wood:
BIRCH: 243 kg/i-m3 and calorific value 4,15 kWh/kg
SPRUCE: 193 kg/i-m3 and calorific value 4,10 kWh/kg
ASPEN: 198 kg/i-m3 and calorific value 4,10 kWh/kg
PINE: 195 kg/i-m3 and calorific value 4,15 kWh/kg
In addition to the price of the throwing cube, you should therefore pay attention to the type of wood you are buying. But how much can you save on your electricity bill by burning, for example, one cube of birch or spruce?
The rough calculations can be made based on the price of the energy per kW from the alternative energy sources like firewood and gas or electricity. In addition to the price / kW you will need the efficiency % for your fireplace / stove. If that’s unknown to you, the manufacturer should be able the deliver you the information. For example with energy efficient modern stove the calculation could be as follows:
- One throwing cube dry birch weighs about 243 kg. The price for the birch is about 80 € / throwing cube. If the efficiency of the fireplace is 85%, energy is obtained approximately 857 kWh. If the price of electricity is 20c/kWh, saving on the heating bill is about 91 € / throwing cube.
- One throwing cube dry spruce weighs about193 kg. The price for the spruce is about 50 € / throwing cube. If the efficiency of the fireplace is 85%, energy is obtained approximately 673 kWh. If the price of electricity is 20c/kWh, saving on the heating bill is about 85 € / throwing cube.
- Two carrying rack birch (about 20 kg) i.e. one heating session produces energy approximately 83 kWh and costs approximately 9,7 €. If the price of electricity is 20c/kWh, saving on the heating bill is about 7 € / heating session.
As the price of electricity rises, the financial benefit achieved by burning wood also increases. And don’t forget that decreasing consumption also helps curb the energy crisis and its negative effects as a whole.
We all have impact on overcoming the energy crisis
Although using firewood can save on the heating bill, everyone should still pay attention to their own energy consumption as a whole. The current energy crisis is above all about energy sufficiency, so by reducing consumption we can together make a huge impact. Even small actions can make the difference. Easy tips for reducing your own energy consumption include, for example, the following:
- Lower the room temperature by one degree – you save about five percent of heating energy.
- Adjust the fresh air valves for the winter, and ventilate with a quick cross draft if necessary.
- Do not leave windows open for long periods of time.
- Take care of the condition of the insulation of the windows and doors.
- Lower the room temperature during trips (still remember to have a good basic temperature).
- Turn off appliances and lights when not needed.
- Use water sparingly.
Remember that the timing of energy use also matters. Try to use as little energy as possible during peak hours to reduce the risk of power outages.
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