Last month’s articles on our family’s best home investment of the decade have been some of the most popular.
To round off the three part series, here is a detailed look at the cost of the wood stove, our estimated savings since installation, and some favorite resources.
The Cost of Installing a Wood Stove
Here are our expenses (curtesy of Mr. LL, who took excellent notes during the project):
- $3,420 – Stove, stove pipe, stove tools, and bellows
- $182 – lumber and concrete board for hearth
- $50 – miscellaneous expenses
- $220 – chimney labor (cutting a hole in the roof and installing chimney)
- $360 – hearth labor
- $135 – stone tile for hearth
- $150 – various finishing materials (cement, grout, etc.)
If you’re keeping track, that’s a total project outlay of $4,517. You might remember that we received a $1,500 federal rebate for purchasing an efficient stove. That cut our total project cost down to around $3,000.
How to install a wood stove even cheaper:
- Shop around to find the best price on lumber and concrete board. We went with a local supplier who was close to our home. We usually go to one of the box stores, but we chose the more expensive, albeit convenient, option this time. Someone must’ve been tired. Probably me.
- If you have construction experience you might be able to install the chimney and build the hearth on your own, saving $200 or more.
- Use poured concrete or river rock for your hearth instead of purchasing tile. This would save you at least $100.
Savings from Operating a Wood Stove
Here’s an estimate of our yearly natural gas savings while using the stove:
- $120/month savings (October-April) = $840 saved each winter
- 6 winters (installed in summer of 2009) = $5,040 heating bill reduction since installation
When I take into account the one-time costs of a splitting maul, chainsaw gas, and wood (we get it free and pay a friend to haul it home in his log truck), we still come out having saved $1,900 since installation.
Add to that figure the fact that we still use natural gas heat at night. If costs skyrocket we could easily switch entirely to wood heat. We’re now sitting on a valuable investment that gives us peace of mind and earns us a return of $800 per year.
I know what you’re thinking; “Ok, lady, but that $800 doesn’t include all of the work that it takes to find, split, and stack that wood. That’s a lot of effort!” And I would respond; why yes, yes it is a lot of work. But it’s not as laborious as you would think.
We typically focus on getting the wood split and stacked during September or October. Rather than spend a weekend on the project, we prefer to spend an hour our two each evening until the chopping is done.
I often split during the day while my husband is at work. The kids are able to help with stacking. I love being able to check off my daily “exercise” task. It’s much more fun to go chop wood than to get on a treadmill!
Resources for More Information
- Make sure to read the first two articles on the topic where I describe why a wood stove is such a great investment, and how to get the best deal on a stove.
- Don’t forget to speak with your local stove dealer about stove regulations in your state.
- Woodstove Q&A from woodheat.org.
- Here are some ideas for finding free firewood.
We’ve found the following tools to be invaluable. *FYI, these links contain an affiliate kickback (if you buy at Amazon’s great prices I’ll get a small cut at no cost to you). Thank you!
- splitting wedge; for when those stinkin’ rounds just won’t split! Wedge this puppy in there and start whackin’ on it with the back of your maul. That really makes the neighbor kids laugh!
- electric splitter; become a proficient wood chopper and then give yourself a break when you’re tired and want the job done. These things are amazing! Ours is the “Task Force” brand, but this one is comparable in size and price. You’ll notice that it’s the cheapest one available, but still gets an outstanding rating.
- splitting maul; the only tool you really need for chopping wood. Remember, a maul NOT an axe.
- gloves; these babies are awesome. They fit like a second skin. Useful for all sorts of household chores.
An Excellent Investment
A wood stove truly is an excellent investment. Ours gives us a $800 return yearly on our initial $3000 investment. Sure, there’s some work splitting wood, but just call it good ‘ol fashioned exercise.
You’ll love the bone-penetrating warmth of a crackling fire, and the satisfaction of being able to drastically lower your heating bill while simultaneously providing a source of security in the event of an emergency.
No matter how you split it, a wood stove is an excellent investment!