How Much Money Can I Save Using Wood vs. Electric Heat?

When the winter chill sets in, the dread of paying your heating bill can keep you from feeling cozy. If you want to save money while it's cold outside, you may wonder whether heating your home with wood would be cheaper than using your heating system. Once you take the right precautions, you may find that a clean-burning wood stove is the right solution to your heating problems.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

While you're more likely to save money using a wood stove than electric heat, how much depends on the area where you live.

Calculate Current Heating Costs

You can't know how much burning wood will save you if you don't know how much you're spending now. Take a look at your electric or gas bills from the previous winter. You can add up the total for the winter months and divide by the number of months to get your average for the season. If you are new to the area or have recently moved to a different house, this may not be effective.

Instead, you can estimate based on averages in your area. The national average for natural gas usage is $984 per year. However, your usage needs and the cost of gas in your area may affect your costs. For example, the average household in Massachusetts spends $983 per year on heating with natural gas or $4,511 for electric heating.

The Cost of Wood-Burning Stoves

If you live in a place where wood is cheap or even free, burning logs in an efficient wood-burning stove can save money as opposed to running the furnace all day. However, it's important to consider the upfront costs of installing a wood-burning stove.

Depending on the type of stove and the contractor you hire, you could pay between $861 and $3,485 for a new unit and installation. Over time, you can pay for the cost of the wood-burning fireplace or stove with reduced heating costs. Be sure to consider the cost of wood and how often you would use the new stove to determine how long it would take for the unit to pay for itself in savings.

Environmental Considerations

One of the reasons that some people are reluctant to use wood-burning stoves for heating is that these units have a reputation for being bad for the environment. While this is true for older models, new units are designed to burn cleaner. This not only helps the environment, but it also helps your home be free of the smell of smoke. Be sure that the model you choose is EPA-certified, and you can breathe easy.

Furthermore, it's important to think about the impact of your current heating on the environment. If you use gas or electricity that comes from coal, these can harm the environment. A new, efficient wood-burning fireplace may be better for the environment and your wallet.

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