One Year Of Heat

So, the circle has come around: it’s been one year since the first fire in our wood stove.  And in the end, yes, we used less than one cord of wood— in fact, we have 37 pieces of wood left!  This first cord of wood was super-expensive kiln-dried stuff, costing $300.  A cord of field-dried would be more like $200, and green, even less.  

I’ve also tried to estimate how much electricity we used for “intentional” heat, but this is hard to figure.  Our electricity usage has varied from 16 kWh/day in mid-summer to about 29 in mid-winter.  How much of that difference represents space heaters, though, isn’t clear.  A large percentage (possibly the majority) of our electricity goes to making hot water, a process that takes quite a bit more juice in winter (because [a] the water is much colder coming in, and [b] the standby losses are higher).  Another considerable fraction is for cooking and baking, which we do less of mid-summer.  Also we surely use more lights in the winter, and the clothes dryer probably requires somewhat more in the winter.  On the other hand, the fridge uses more in the summer.  The electric blanket is a winter staple, but uses less than 0.2 kWh daily.

After working through various methods of guesstimating, the best I can say is that we probably used somewhere between 500 and 1,000 kWh of purposeful electric heat.  That translates into $75 to $150 of ‘lectric.

So, all told, we are “heating” the house for an annual cost of somewhere between $275 to $450.

Lastly, after judging that our cord of oak had about 22 million BTU, and doing a little math, I find that our heat was supplied somewhere between 87-93% by wood, and 7-13% by electricity (comparing actual units of heat, rather than the dollars it took to buy those units.)

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