Burning Wood
The Zero Impact Renewable Energy Source

Wood and Pellet Heating

Before the 20th century, 90% of Americans burned wood to heat their homes. As fossil fuel use rose, the percentage of Americans using wood for fuel dropped, falling as low as one percent by 1970. Then during the energy crises of the 1970s, interest in wood heating resurfaced as a renewable energy alternative.

Newer on the scene are pellet fuel appliances, which burn small pellets that look like rabbit feed and measure 3/8 to 1 inch in length. Pellets are made from compacted sawdust, wood chips, bark, agricultural crop waste, waste paper, and other organic materials. Some pellet fuel appliances can burn a wide variety of biomass fuels, including nutshells, corn kernels, small wood chips, barley, beet pulp, sunflowers, dried cherry pits, and soybeans.


Wood Heat Stoves: What you need to know


The truth about how our homes are powered.
By: Victor Alfieri, Editor woodlotfarms.com
Revised 12/19/11

It is illegal in the state of NJ for a power provider to produce power and also sell power. You can't do both. Power providers like PSE&G own the lines that deliver your power. The power they deliver is bought from someone else. That's why you have delivery charges on your bill. That's how PSE&G gets paid.  PSE&G can change that fee whenever they want, as we have seen over the last 18 months.

PSE&G buys your power from someone else.  That someone else is a Texas company called
TRANSCO Oil & Gas. They supply the whole east coast. Transco makes all their power from fossil fuels, polluting sources like coal. Natural gas is a byproduct of producing oil. This type of energy is called "Brown Energy."

Brown Energy is a energy produced from polluting sources like Fossil fuels. Fossil fuels contain high percentages of carbon and include coal, petroleum, and natural gas.
Fossil fuels are non-renewable resources because they take millions of years to form, and reserves are being depleted.

NATURAL GAS is described as the cleanest fuel, producing less carbon dioxide when compared to coal or oil. However, in absolute terms, it does contribute substantially to global carbon emissions, and this contribution is projected to grow. According to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report in 2004, natural gas produced about 5.3 billion tons a year of CO2 emissions.

The US consumes more petroleum (Oil) than any other country, over 20,000 barrels per day with population of only 312,000,000 million people. China consumes 9,000 per day, less than half of the US. China has over one billion more people than the US. India uses 4,000 barrels per day with 1.2 billion people.


So if you currently use PSE&G or any of the local providers for gas or electric to heat and power our home, fossil fuels "Brown Energy" is your source. This is in contrast to Green energy from renewable, non-polluting sources like wood.





Wood Burning Stoves
Wood is the most used heating and cooking energy source on the planet.

Wood is a renewable resource a natural resource with the ability of being replaced through biological or other natural processes and replenished with the passage of time. Renewable resources are part of our natural environment and form our eco-system.

Local town officials try to discourage homeowners from installing wood stoves.
This need to change. The truth is wood burning stoves have a positive impact on the environment. Burning wood for heat or cooking is a zero impact energy source.

The state and federal government encourage residents to install wood burning stoves.  If you install a wood burning stove in your home you qualify for a 10% tax credit on the total cost of installation up to $500 from the state of New Jersey and a $500 from Federal.

NJ and most states are encouraging homeowners to install wood stoves because it's more efficient and creates less impact and pollution then burning fossil fuels.

Local town officials need to do the same.


Wood Fuel - Carbon dioxide released from burning wood is equal to the carbon wood releases as it rots.  Wood burners might increase carbon emissions using gas powered saws and spliters in the production of firewood.

When wood heat replaces carbon-producing fuels such as propane, heating oil or electricity from a coal-burning plant, then
burning wood for heat & cooking has a positive impact on the carbon footprint.  Burning wood for heat or cooking is a zero impact energy source.


Any questions e-mail Victor: editor@woodlotfarms.com

Click For Tax Credit Information



Log Splitters

About Firewood
Gathering Firewood
When using a fireplace or wood stove for heat, you can, of course, cut and gather your own firewood. That not only requires a healthy amount of time, however, but also requires an initial investment of equipment like axes and saws and splitters. It also demands a working knowledge of cutting wood.

You Can Also Purchase Firewood
Although there are a variety of measuring units, firewood is normally sold by the cord, or a fraction of a cord. The dimensions of a "standard cord" is a stack of wood piled 8 feet long, 4 feet wide and 4 feet high. You won't get a full 128 cubic feet of firewood with a standard cord because of the airspace between the pieces of the wood; the amount of wood in such a stack will depend upon the size and straightness of the pieces, how they are split and how the wood is stacked. Because of this, the total cubic feet in a cord can vary from 70 to 90 or more cubic feet.

Firewood Cost
In Northern NJ a cord of seasoned split firewood will cost $150 to $225. There my be additional charges for staking and delivery. Find someone local and work out a deal. Ordering more than one cord at a time will save you money. Becareful some wood guys mix seasoned wood with newly cut green wood. 


Orders of firewood should be placed well in advance of the heating season. Wood purchased during the peak periods is in more demand and becomes more expensive. You will also want to purchase early to give the wood time to season.

Seasoned Wood
Seasoning takes place when the moisture content in wood reaches equilibrium with the moisture in the surrounding air.

When wood is stacked outdoors with good air circulation in a spot that's dry, sunny and open for about six months it will be dry enough to support efficient combustion. Seasoned wood has a higher heating value than green wood. In general, because of its moisture content, a cord of green wood will weigh 70 to 100 percent more than seasoned wood.

The time of year and the size of the wood pieces influences the amount of time that wood takes to season. You can help the process by properly stacking and storing your pile of firewood. The best way is to store it outside, under cover and close to the house and door that leads to your stove for easy access.

It should be stacked on a supporting base. Such as cement blocks, pallets or wooden planks. This prevents the wood from drawing moisture from the ground, allows air to circulate around it, reduces insect infestation and cuts down on the amount of dirt in accumulates. End braces or stakes can be used to keep the woodpile from collapsing; they can be built to measure accurately a standard cord.

The Best Woods For Burning
In either a wood stove or fireplace, the easiest and best fire is built by using a mixture of both softwoods and hardwoods.

Softwoods start burning easily, and the hardwoods provide for long burning and good "coaling" qualities. A bed of ashes underneath the grate produces steady heat and aids in igniting new fuel as it is added. The fire will continue burning if small amounts of wood are added at regular intervals. In fact, more efficient combustion results from burning small loads of wood with sufficient air than from burning large loads with minimal air.

Firewood Guide BTU Rating Chart

Type of Wood

Heat
Output

Easy to Burn

Easy to Split

Heavy Smoke

BTUs per Cord

Rating

Ash Black

Medium

Yes

Yes

No

19.1 Mil

Excellent

Ash Green

High

Yes

Yes

No

20.0

Excellent

Ash White

High

Yes

Medium

Np

23.6

Excellent

Red Oak

High

Yes

Yes

No

21.7

Excellent

White Oak

High

Yes

Yes

No

26.5

Excellent

Live Oak

High

Yes

Yes

No

25.0

Excellent

Beech

High

Yes

Yes

No

21.8

Excellent

Beech Blue

High

Yes

Yes

No

26.8

Excellent

Birch Black

High

Yes

Yes

No

26.8

Excellent

Birch Grey

High

Yes

Yes

No

20.3

Good

Birch Paper

High

Medium

Medium

Medium

20.8

Fair

Birch White

High

Medium

Medium

Medium

20.3

Good

Birch Yellow

High

Yes

Yes

No

23.6

Excellent

Box Elder

Medium

Medium

No

Medium

18.3

Fair

Buckeye Ohio

Low

Medium

Medium

No

13.8

Fair

Butternut

Low

Medium

Yes

Medium

14.5

Fair

Catalpa

Low

Medium

No

Medium

15.5

Fair

Cedar Eastern Red

Medium

Medium

Medium

Medium

17.1

Fair

Coffeetree Kentucky

High

Medium

Medium

No

21.6

Good

Hickory Bitternut

High

Yes

Yes

No

26.7

Excellent

Hickory Shagbark

High

Yes

Medium

No

27.5

Excellent

Hard Maple

High

Yes

Yes

No

29.7

Excellent

Pecan

High

Yes

Yes

No

 

Excellent

Dogwood

High

Yes

Yes

No

24.3

Excellent

Soft Maple

Medium

Yes

Yes

No

19.1

Good

Cherry

Medium

Yes

Yes

No

18.5

Good

Black Cherry

Medium

Yes

Yes

No

18.6

Good

Walnut

Medium

Yes

Yes

No

20.3

Good

Elm American

High

Medium

No

Medium

20.00

Fair

Elm Red

High

Medium

Yes

Medium

21.6

Good

Elm Rock

High

Medium

No

Medium

23.5

Good

Elm Siberian

High

Medium

No

Medium

20.9

Fair

Hackberry

High

Yes

Yes

No

21.2

Excellent

Sycamore

Medium

Medium

No

Medium

18.5

Fair

Gum Black

Medium

Medium

No

Medium

18.1

Fair

Gum Sweet

Medium

Medium

Medium

Medium

18.7

Good

Mesquite

High

Medium

No

Medium

 

Good

Aspen

Low

Yes

Yes

Medium

14.5

Fair

Basswood

Low

Yes

Yes

Medium

12.6

Fair

Cottonwood

Low

Yes

Yes

Medium

12.2

Fair

Chestnut

Low

Yes

Yes

Medium

 

Poor

Yellow Poplar

Low

Yes

Yes

Medium

16.0

Poor

Southern Yellow Pine

High

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

Good

Douglas Fir

High

Yes

Yes

Yes

21.4

Good

Cypress

Medium

Medium

Yes

Medium

 

Fair

Redwood

Medium

Medium

Yes

Medium

 

Fair

White Cedar

Medium

Yes

Yes

Medium

17.5

Good

Western Red Cedar

Medium

Yes

Yes

Medium

17.5

Good

Mulberry

High

Yes

Yes

Medium

25.8

Excellent

Eastern Red Cedar

Medium

Yes

Yes

Medium

17.5

Good

Juniper

Medium

Yes

Yes

Medium

 

Good

Piinon

Medium

Yes

Yes

Medium

 

Good

Eastern White Pine

Low

Medium

Yes

Medium

15.8

Fair

Western White Pine

Low

Medium

Yes

Medium

15.8

Fair

Sugar Pine

Low

Medium

Yes

Medium

15.8

Fair

Ponderosa Pine

Low

Medium

Yes

Medium

17.0

Fair

True Firs

Low

Medium

Yes

Medium

19.5

Fair

Tamarack

Medium

Yes

Yes

Medium

20.8

Fair

Larch

Medium

Yes

Yes

Medium

20.8

Fair

Spruce

Low

Yes

Yes

Medium

15.9

Poor

Alder

Medium

Fair

Yes

Medium

17.6

Fair

Apple

Medium

No

No

Medium

17.6

Fair

Ironwood (Hornbeam)

Very High

Yes

No

No

24.7

Excellent

Black Locust

Very High

Yes

No

No

26.5

Excellent

Honey Locust

High

Yes

Medium

No

25.8

Excellent

Magnolia

Medium

Yes

Yes

No

18.0

Fair

Madrone

High

No

No

No

30.0

Excellent

Willow

Low

No

Yes

Fair

14.5

Fair