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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Wood BTU's

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Guido

01-10-2017 14:10:45




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Hello,

This year I am burning wood that is over 4 years old. It ha been always under cover and dry. Some mixed in was dead standing from last year. Are the BTU's of this wood more or less then wood say a couple years old? It does seem to burn good, and looks like it produces less hashes. Just wandering?

Guido.




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Bret4207

01-13-2017 05:31:43




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Guido, 01-10-2017 14:10:45  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

What I meant was, if you don't have the cash to buy pellets (or oil or gas) then worrying about whether or not wood is economically viable is a moot point.



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Dusty MI

01-12-2017 11:56:08




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Guido, 01-10-2017 14:10:45  
I once read where you got more BTU per acer per year growing popple. because it grows faster.

Dusty



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Bob

01-11-2017 11:33:12




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Guido, 01-10-2017 14:10:45  
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I find that interesting, as I live an ND and have burned quite a bit of North Dakota lignite coal for heating in the past.

The average BTU value per pound of that "soft coal" is 7000 BTU per pound.

Sometimes we can get Wyoming coal reasonably from a backhaul, IIRC, that averages 12,000 to 14,000 BTU per pound.

https://www.lignite.com/about-lignite

There's a lot of flax raised around here and the straw is often burned off as it is a nuisance. I wish I could run some through a pellet mill and see how it would burn in a stoker.

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Briar Hill Brittanys

01-11-2017 07:48:05




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Guido, 01-10-2017 14:10:45  
We already had chain saws, truck, trailer, tractor, and other assorted stuff as a result of rural living. A ten acre patch of Missouri hardwoods means a constant and steady supply of excellent fuel. That's a bunch of BTU's other wise going to waste. Have sold more than enough firewood to pay for the $1000.00 splitter. Boots, buns, and grand babies all get warm and dry by my efforts at keeping utility costs down. I can't really put a dollar figure down for the satisfaction of a warm home on a very cold night. Or the smile on SWMBO's face. IMHO Mark

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Russ from MN

01-11-2017 07:14:29




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Guido, 01-10-2017 14:10:45  
This is the chart that I like the best.

https://chimneysweeponline.com/howood.htm



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Bret4207

01-11-2017 06:35:17




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Guido, 01-10-2017 14:10:45  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

It's okay as long as you have that $200.00 a ton to spend. We have a major pellet mill about an hour away and the price per ton was about $240 last year. I hear this year is up over $280, but I'm still getting a building put up for daughters storage. What happens when the price goes over $300 or more, or the power goes out for an extended period of time? Then you have the cost of the generator to figure in too. Pellets are like gas, oil or propane- fine as long as you have the money to pay for it. In an area where jobs are hard to come by for an older guy, sometimes wood cutting is simply more economically feasible. Maybe I do only save $2 or $3 and hour, but whats it going to cost me to drive to work, get child care, etc vs staying on the farm and cutting some wood in between all the other stuff that has to be done?
To each his own.

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JDEM

01-11-2017 10:00:18




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Bret4207, 01-11-2017 06:35:17  
RE price hikes or shortages of pellets, not having cash to buy pellets, etc. If I was heating an entire house with a pellet stove - it would be my nature to be nervous. Lots of things to go wrong with a pellet stove that cannot happen in a wood-stove or wood-furnace. That being said - I would sure as heck buy all my pellets before the heating season began. Just as I'd have all my firewood cut, stacked, and seasoned before the heating season. And not having cash to buy pellets? Not sure how to reply. I am pretty sure that at least in my case - if I could account for all the money I spent on equipment, fuel, and land-taxes - firewood has not been any cheaper then running a pellet stove. I will add that if I spent half my time earning money that I have spent each year handling firewood - I could of just heated with oil or propane and likely saved money. I happen to really like the steady heat that wood provides (so does a pellet stove). I also used to like all the time I spent in the woods, or at home splitting and stacking. Not any more. If I want to be outdoors - I'd rather be hiking, or fishing, or watching wildlife. Busting my a** cutting, lifting, skidding wood is no longer what I call "fun" or a "challenge." Note - I still heat my house 100% with wood. It is just my new shop that I am heating with pellets. That might change in the future.

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Russ from MN

01-10-2017 20:07:37




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Guido, 01-10-2017 14:10:45  
With the modern high efficient wood stoves the drier the better, any moisture creates steam the reduces secondary combustion, and that can add a lot to overall efficiency.



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JDEM

01-10-2017 17:39:31




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Guido, 01-10-2017 14:10:45  
I am beginning to question the overall utility of burning wood. Note I have heated my home and shop nearly 100% with wood for 40 years. When I lived in New York, I had 100 acres off hardwoods and virtually endless amount of wood. But - I had to pay taxes on all that woods and spend near a month every year cutting, skidding, splitting, stacking, moving into the house and stacking again, etc. One big and boring pain in the a**. There is also the expenses of equipment, fuel, etc.

Now - I am in northern Michigan and 120 acres of poplar, white pine, cedar, and balsam fir (all useless for good firewood). So now I buy truck-loads of hardwood in log-lengths. $850 for what is supposed to add up to 8 full cords. I still spent three weeks this year - cutting up the whole load, splitting it all, and stacking it all.

Now - I just moved into a new 60' X 60' shop. I insulated it and wanted to install a wood stove. I got sticker shock when I found out current prices on stainless-steel insulated pipe. I would of had $1000 in parts just for a chimney. I also needed another wood-stove. I finally bought a pellet stove out of frustration. On sale at Tractor Supply for $750. Took me an hour to install the exhaust through the wall and it was less then $150. I bought a ton of pellets and this thing heats the whole shop at half-heat when it is 25F outside. I am amazed.

I now wonder. $200 gets me 2000 lbs. of pellets and the furnace burns at 83% efficiency. I never have to light it and no labor with the fuel. Same $200 and a LOT of work gets me 5600 lbs. of firewood and comes down to 4300 lbs. with the lesser efficiency. I am beginning to wonder as I get older - if firewood is worth the effort as compared to something like this pellet stove?

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Bill in IL

01-11-2017 07:33:03




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to JDEM, 01-10-2017 17:39:31  
There is truth to your logic. I just spent 8500 for a used wood boiler this year another 2K just to hook it up and get it running. I hope this unit will last me 20 years with care. I heat 3200 square feet in the house and shop to a comfort level that I like and not worry much about the expense. I have asked myself many times this year why I spend that money on all that but it comes down to independence. I enjoy having a reason to be outside in the winter. It nice to clean up the woodlot and the exercise this time of year is beneficial too.

I make maple syrup in the spring too. Its another one that is totally not worth the time put into it but I enjoy having a reason to be outside that time of the year. Not to mention the kids love going to collect sap and the syrup and pancakes that go with it.

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JDEM

01-11-2017 13:52:44




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Bill in IL, 01-11-2017 07:33:03  
I agree with the effort to make syrup 100%. With all the work it takes to make it, it ought to be worth $300 per gallon. I just like doing it. Worse yet - I like doing it the old fashioned way. No RO machine, no ultra-violet on the sap, no vacuum pump, and lots of hot dogs and eggs cooking in the evaporator. I also need to get real sick as least once a year from making all my coffee with hot sap instead of water.

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Butch(OH)

01-11-2017 05:39:50




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to JDEM, 01-10-2017 17:39:31  
I think you are on track in your thinking. A person has to be very careful about how he spends "to save money burning wood" to actually save one thin dime,as a matter of fact I am certain that some if not most people spend more money to heat with wood than it would cost them to heat with gas or propane. Add up ALL of the equipment and dollars involved and I am talking real money not that BS "whats your time worth" crap. Why dont people charge for their time while watching TV??? anyway the costs do add up. We heat with wood because I like the heat, like running my saws, like running the splitter, like backing up against the fire when I am chilled, like the smell but mostly because I like being independent. If I end up saving any money thats a plus.

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Goose

01-10-2017 18:18:01




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to JDEM, 01-10-2017 17:39:31  
One house my wife and I owned and lived in had a wood furnace that sat next to the propane furnace and used the same ducts with its own blower. We could do about 80% of our heating with wood, and we did for several years.

I finally figured out that the time I spent messing with firewood was paying me about $3.00 per hour. I finally decided I could do things with a bigger payback and more fun than cutting firewood.

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Adirondack case guy

01-10-2017 17:33:52




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Guido, 01-10-2017 14:10:45  
I like to burn firewood that has about 6 months of dry time on it. It burns slower and produces more heat. My main heating unit is a wood boiler located in my shop and tied to my central radiant heating system in my house. I have some 3yro. wood stored in my cellar for our airtight fireplace and it burns way too quick and the fireplace needs frequent stoking. I like to cut and store my wood under cover of my woodshed, in the summer and burn it in the following winter.. I only cut dead or dying trees for my needs, about 12-14 full cord per year.
Loren

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David G

01-10-2017 15:12:42




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Guido, 01-10-2017 14:10:45  
My assumption would be count the carbon bonds that need to be broken, then add them up.

That is for a later time.



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Geo-TH,In

01-10-2017 14:57:33




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Guido, 01-10-2017 14:10:45  
Many factors go into BTU's of wood.

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JDEM

01-10-2017 14:46:25




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Guido, 01-10-2017 14:10:45  
Air-dried firewood regardless if cottonwood or hickory has around 7100 BTUs per pound. If you lost BTU energy - you either lost wood due to rot - or gained moisture.



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dpendzic

01-10-2017 14:37:36




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Guido, 01-10-2017 14:10:45  
in general the BTU content will be a little less than newer wood---wood that has started the deterioration process has actually lost some of the btu content---i remember one of the questions on my engineering test--whats the difference in btu release between a log of of same size and species if it burns up in a fire or if it rots completely over many years--the answer was it was the same



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JDEM

01-10-2017 14:12:50




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Guido, 01-10-2017 14:10:45  
BTU content is the same for all wood, per pound (not counting any water weight in it).



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Guido

01-10-2017 15:34:24




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to JDEM, 01-10-2017 14:12:50  
Hello JDEM,

OOPS! You are right. In the old country my parents bought wood by weight. Got their monies worth,

Guido.



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Guido

01-10-2017 15:30:11




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to JDEM, 01-10-2017 14:12:50  
Hello JDEM,

That is not correct, Hard wood if I recall has at least 700 more btu's per pound then soft wood,


Guido.



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Greg1959

01-10-2017 14:25:47




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to JDEM, 01-10-2017 14:12:50  
No, that is incorrect.



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JDEM

01-10-2017 14:32:46




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Greg1959, 01-10-2017 14:25:47  
Sorry chief - but yes - what I said is 100% correct. Different woods differ in BTU energy by volume because of different densitys and weights by volume. By weight, all wood is the same. Before declaring someone wrong - might help to cite some actual facts.



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Greg1959

01-10-2017 14:32:33




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Greg1959, 01-10-2017 14:25:47  
here is a link to btu....



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JDEM

01-10-2017 14:33:56




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to Greg1959, 01-10-2017 14:32:33  
You just proved my point. Your chart shows BTU content by volume, not by weight.



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S2710

01-11-2017 10:53:21




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to JDEM, 01-10-2017 14:33:56  
Scroll down and there is one paragraph that says that most all wood has the same amout of BTU's by weight.

Bob



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T in NE

01-11-2017 04:37:23




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 Re: Wood BTU's in reply to JDEM, 01-10-2017 14:33:56  
That's why hedge apple and locus burn so much longer than poplar or cottonwood. There's a lot more wood in the same space.



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