Saving "Waste" for Heat
25 February 2005
There are some people out there who will only burn hardwood for heat. Thereís even pickier people who will only burn certain types of hardwood. Well, the heck with that. Thatís almost as bad as buying fuel oil for these ridiculous prices. Good quantities of hardwood are hard to come buy and it would cost a fortune to buy it. We burn anything that burns.
We have a good supplier right locally that lets us have as much wood as we want for free. Itís easy to get to and itís already cut to about 4í lengths. Well, cheapís good freeís better.
When we cut up the wood to stove length we always have small chunks left over. Years ago dad started calling them cookiesÖthe name stuck. Some people would consider them useless and load them up and take them to the dump. Not us. We separated them from the rest of the wood and let them dry separately. Then we start filling 55-gallon drums and large trash cans. When those are full the rest get thrown into the cookie bin. Any leftovers from carpentry projects also go into the pile. If it burns, itís firewood.
The cookie bin
We start burning the stuff in the cans first, then refill the cans from the drums and then keep refilling cans from the bin. Yes, itís a little bit of a PITA, BUT it saves the real wood for the colder months. Cookies are burnt during this time of year when only a small fire is needed.
Ready for the stove
One year we burnt cookies for 3 months before getting into the real woodpile. Not bad. Thereís about 3 months worth of real wood saved.
RIGHT NOW as I type this it is 38 degrees F outside and the wind is blowing. Pretty nippy out there. There is a small fire going in the stove and it is 70 degrees F on the other side of the room.
We are pretty conservative people. Why waste all of this heat just to avoid a little extra effort? Why be anal and not burn anything other than hard woodÖthatís just laziness. Clean the chimney a little more often.
Use your head. A little extra effort can save you $$ in the long run.
I do caution against burning pressure treated wood, plywood and chipboard because of all the chemicals and glues. However, we occasionally burn a little bit of it here and havenít had a problem.
All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright (c) 1996-2005 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.