How we heat our homes- firewood

Wood is a common source of heat- though perhaps more so at the county level than at the state. It’s hard to find precise numbers, though there were about 1,000 wood stoves exchanged down in Libby when they had the exchange program (a rare occasion in which our county health department made the New York Times).

Firewood permits are available through the forest service, for free, though the phrase “Firewood permits remain free for cutting in Northern Region National Forests through December 31, 2022, but you must obtain a free permit and abide by it when cutting. After December  31, 2022 please contact your local Forest Service office for cost and permit information” suggests they may not remain so.

A firewood permit includes a minimum limit of 4 chords (a maximum of 12), and the firewood must be for personal use (commercial use is only via commercial timber sales, at least in the Kootenai national forest).

Guidelines for harvesting firewood from the national forest are readily available. Christmas Tree Permits are available online- though not necessarily for regions near us. A question better addressed our local district, it would seem.

Wet Firewood

I have accidentally entered the energy business.  About a third of the logs left after Lincoln Electric maintained the power lines were cut to non-marketable lengths, so the alternative was turning them into firewood.  Earlier, I wrote of the differences between species as firewood – this time I’m looking at the cost of water in firewood. In general, a cord of green wood contains about a ton of water.  The problem isn’t the action of heating the water – raising the temperature of water is an easy calculation.  A British Thermal Unit (BTU) is the amount of heat required to…

Firewood Rankings by Species

The change from burning forests to burning wood is coming fast – and while we use a lot of firewood, we rarely look at just how much heat each species produces, or at how much a cord weighs.  This chart, from the California Energy Commission, ranks production by species, and shows the weight of a cord.  At 3,321 pounds for a cord of dry Western Larch, it takes a pretty good pickup to carry a cord.  Western Softwoods Figures from California Energy Commission BTU Rating Based on 90 cubic feet of solid wood per 128 cubic foot cord SpeciesHeat Content…

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