Firewood Storage - it takes space
A dedicated place for firewood storage will likely be required if you're serious about using wood heat as part of your plan for frugal living. Wood takes up a lot of space, whether you pile it or stack it. Until you heat with wood, you just can't appreciate how much wood volume is required.
There are many factors that come into play when storing wood, so it's different for everyone. Let me give you a general idea about how much space you'll need.
Factors to Consider
Here are some factors to consider when you're trying to assess how much wood you'll need to heat your home during the winter:
- How large is your home? Larger homes will require more wood, and smaller homes will require less.
- Is your home well insulated? Poor insulation will require more wood, and well insulated homes will require much less?
- What kind of wood heat appliance to you have? Some outdoor furnaces are wood hogs that smoke. Older stoves aren't as efficient as newer ones. Good efficiency means little smoke and less wood consumed.
- Do you use a wood stove as primary heat, supplemental heat or just part-time?
- What kind of wood are you burning. Hard woods like oak will require less wood than soft woods like pine.
- How long are your winters?
- Would you characterize your winters as mild or severe?
You can see that if you have a large home, poorly insulated, using an older stove burning soft woods in an area that has a long and harsh winter, you'll need lots of firewood storage space.
One way to get an idea of how much space you'll need is to ask someone who is in your area that has nearly the same situation as you do. At least that's a rough starting point from which you can add or subtract a bit to address some of the factors noted above.
The Range of Values
In the upper range, I've heard people talk about 5 to 8 full cords of wood to heat a home. In the lower range, I've heard people talk about 2 to 3 cords of wood. If you're uncertain, I'd plan on firewood storage sufficient to accommodate at least 4 cords comfortably.
Let's use 4 cords as our starting point. A full cord of wood is 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 8 feet long. That's 128 cubic feet. Four cords of wood at 128 cubic feet per cord is 512 cubic feet of storage space, just for the wood. If you double that to 1,000 cubic feet, you'll have plenty of room to work around the wood and it will accommodate 8 cords if needs be.
If you stack your 4 cords along a wall, you'll need 32 feet of wall. If you stack your wood in a room, and leave a 4 foot isle in the middle, you'll need a room a little larger than 12 by 12. If you stack it into a single 4 foot high stack, it will consume a footprint a little larger than 11 feet by 11 feet.
If you can't find a single place for firewood storage, you might have to make several stacks, like one behind the garage, one alongside of the garage, and one at the back of the house. Sometimes it's good to just select somewhere near the house to make a single freestanding stack.
Once you get a winter of burning wood under your belt, you'll have a good idea as to roughly how much wood storage space you'll need. When in doubt, error on the side of having a little too much space dedicated to firewood storage. At worst, you'll crowd yourself a bit, and at best, you'll have a head start on the coming season if you don't consume all the wood.
If your frugal living plan has you heating with wood, you'll want to have ample firewood storage space close to where you're going to use it.
Done with Firewood Storage, take me to Heating with Wood