Burning wood for fuel is an economical and prepper-friendly way to heat your home throughout the winter. If this is one of your first years experimenting with supplemental or full-time heating using a wood-burning stove, fireplace, or other wood-burning heat source, you may have underestimated the amount of wood you need for the year.
It is common for novice wood-burners to purchase less wood than they need to keep fires burning throughout the winter season, so don’t feel bad if you’ve realized that you’re running low – just get ready to take care of it before you do run out of wood!
If you are running out of wood with several weeks of winter still in sight- never fear! There are several options for staying warm this winter even if your wood pile is dwindling.
The easiest way to get started is to look for free sources of wood around your home. If you live on a wooded area of property, it should be easy to find brushwood on your land; if you live in the city or have no trees, finding brushwood is harder, but not impossible. Ask the owners of nearby wooded areas of property if they will allow you to clear the land and keep the brushwood. Many property owners will be happy for you to remove the brushwood, rather than pay someone to haul it away.
Burning Wood Pallets
Untreated wood pallets are a great fuel for fires because they are well-seasoned. Many companies will allow you to remove pallets completely free of charge. Factories and large businesses that go through hundreds of pallets each week will have better pallet options than smaller businesses. Just check the chemicals with which the pallets may have been treated – some might give off dangerous fumes when burnt.
Construction sites often have scrap wood lying around that is perfect for using as a fuel source, and many companies will allow you to take the wood free of charge, simply to get it out of their way. Demolition sites are the best resource for finding scrap wood, just make sure the wood is untreated to avoid bringing chemical fumes into the home, and ask before you start carting off scrap wood.
Plan Ahead for Next Year
You can prevent a wood shortage by planning in advance. Always choose the densest wood possible (oak is one of the best) that is well-seasoned and dry so it will burn longer, and plan for how much you will need each winter. For casual or emergency use, 1-2 cords should be enough. For supplemental heating, 3 cords should offer enough fuel, depending on the size of your home. For full-time heating and extended winters, 5-6 cords is usually enough – but a little extra wood is preferable to running out too soon.
Now that you’re stocked back up and have your plan ready for next year, relax, knowing you have prepared everything you can to survive winter weather with ease.
What alternative fuels have you burned at home?