One of the questions that we are frequently asked relates to firewood vs. heating oil for home heating. Yes, this is a question that is on many people’s minds in areas where temperatures drop in the winter, and Long Island is no exception.
We have firewood delivery customers who burn only wood during the heating season and others who consume gallons of heating oil each year. Those are the extremes. In the middle, we find customers who heat the house with both firewood and heating oil.
The question, though, is: which option is better? Is it possible to reduce your overall fuel cost by only burning wood? Or is burning oil a better option? And what about the blended approach?
It’s important to understand that there are lots of variables that come into play when comparing each as a source of heat. So, let’s try to clear things up with some real-world research.
There are many methods of heating a home with wood. Some people have a cast-iron stove that sits exposed in a room in the house. There are some wood-burning stoves that are not cast-iron but still are installed in open space. Some people use wood pellet stoves that burn small machine-made pellets of wood that you load into the stove. There are others who heat their homes with an open fireplace. This option not only provides heat to the house but also creates an ambiance that is warm and welcoming.
We also have seen wood-burning whole-house heating systems.
No matter which system you use, the method of producing heat is relatively easy to understand. You purchase wood in some form and burn it in the stove. Our Long Island customers buy large amounts of cut, seasoned firewood; the quantity of wood they are buying is called a “cord of wood.” The firewood is delivered and stacked somewhere near the house. The homeowner then burns pieces of the wood in the stove or fireplace.
A cord of wood can cost as low as $250 a cord; though always call us to verify as the price of wood can fluctuate from day to day.
If you are using heating oil, sometimes known as fuel oil, to heat your home, you will typically get delivery of many gallons of the oil. The oil is pumped into a storage tank or container on your property, and that fuel is burned by a furnace.
The furnace produces heat and distributes the heat throughout the house by blowing hot air through air ducts in each room. The furnace can also provide hot water for the home.
The price of heating oil can fluctuate, much like the price of gasoline. In 2018, the price of heating oil had been about $3.11 per gallon. That oil cost has gone as high as $4.00 per gallon and as low as $2.78 per gallon in recent years.
Understanding how both firewood and heating oil heat your home, the burning question is which produces cost savings.
In our very non-scientific research, we considered what it would cost to heat a 1200 square foot basic ranch-style home in Long Island for the winter months. Please keep in mind that our research is anecdotal, and there are so many variables that need to be considered. These variables include the average temperatures from winter to winter, the insulation efficiency of the home, the personal preference on interior temperature, etc.
When we looked at our clients who have homes similar to those mentioned above, we found that their average cost to heat with firewood for the season was about $800.
Because we are a firewood delivery company and not a heating oil delivery company, we cannot simply ask our clients about homes that burn oil for winter heat. Our clients burn firewood. So, to get answers, we turned to bot internet research and inquiries to people we know who exclusively burn oil in the winter months.
Again, in our non-scientific research, we learned that the average 1200 square foot ranch home burns about $2300 worth of heating oil in the winter season. We have to admit; we were surprised.
The results are pretty clear. In our research, the average 1200 square foot ranch home can save about $1500 per season by burning firewood compared to heating oil.
Your results may vary, depending on many of the factors listed in this article and others that have not been mentioned.
If you would like to learn more about how burning firewood can save you a substantial amount of money each year when it comes to heating your home, please get ahold of us for a free consultation.
If you’d prefer to jump right in, we’d be happy to deliver a cord or more of firewood to your home. We’ll deliver it and make sure it is neatly placed on your property.