The Cost of Wood as a fuel
For the best results, wood should be left on a dry surface protected from rain but with the sides exposed to air and wind. It should be stacked not piled which will speed up the drying process. Chopping the wood down to size before storing it will also help it to dry quicker. Alternatively, you can buy ready-seasoned wood at a little extra cost. Remember , burning wet wood is the quickest way to a chimney going on fire!! so its wise to use a firewood moisture meter to ensure it is below 20%.
- Freshly cut logs are cheap to buy at around £80 per cubic meter but have a moisture content between 60% and 90%. The heat output from freshly cut logs will be around 1 kWh per kg.
- Ready-seasoned wood has around 40% moisture content and can usually be purchased for around £95 – £123 per cubic meter. Burning wood that has been seasoned will give you a heat output of about 3 kWh per kg.
- Alternatively kiln-dried wood is more expensive, about £115-£145 per cubic meter but is highly efficient and can be used immediately. On average, it contains less than 20% moisture and burning it produces a heat output of around 4.5 kWh per kg.
- If you have a specialised wood-pellet stove, you can usually buy wood pellets online or from a local supplier. Wood pellets are sold by the tonne and cost around £140-£190 per cubic tonne. The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) recommends that you buy ENplus standard pellets, which have roughly 10% moisture content and will give you a heat output of around 5 kWh per kg.
Kindling can be sourced from pallets used for building suppliers and found in skips (just check with the owners first).It’s also worth considering if whether the wood has been treated with chemicals because it could be unsafe to burn.Also please remember to remove all nails.
Note: 500kg is around one cubic meter, so working out how much wood will cost for the amount you’ll use can be a little tricky. However, as a rough guide an average-sized house which uses a stove in the evenings and at weekends, will need about three to four cubic meters a year.
Although wood itself is considered a carbon-neutral fuel, transporting it uses CO2, so it’s best to try and find a supplier close to home.
Things the customer should consider burning wood when it comes to sweeping
You should only burn seasoned HARD woods, the moisture content (easily checked with a cheap and commonly available moisture meter) should be less than 20%, ideally 15%.
The soot particles from burning wood are very often extremely reduced in size and akin to plant pollen. This means it can be very difficult to control the extraction of the residue because they form a floating cloud.
Any change in air flow (e.g. opening of room doors or windows) during the extraction process can result in the escape of particles from the fireplace.
Hence it is suggested that all immediate items around the fire are removed and suitable covers for furniture e.t.c. are put in place (using common sense) by the customer prior to the sweeping appointment.