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More Homeowners Choose Wood Over Oil

- Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Over the last 4 years as heating prices have been skyrocketing, we have seen homeowners in the Northeast getting rid of their oil furnaces and oil tanks. People began to use wood to heat their homes.

In Maine alone, the number of households using wood as their primary heating source nearly doubled from 2000 to 2010, and that number grew by a third nationwide.

As wood gets more popular, and more people see how easy it is, we see them eliminating oil heat entirely. We continue to see more and more homeowners turning to wood stoves and pellet stoves as supplemental heat or to heat their entire homes.

The money homeowners are spending on wood and pellets is at least half of what they would have spent on oil heat.

Oil is the No. 1 heating fuel in Maine and across much of the Northeast. Three out of four households in Maine use oil as their primary heating source. This makes Maine the most oil-dependent state for heat.

Residential heating oil last week was going for $3.97 a gallon on the East Coast, up 58 cents a gallon from a year ago. Ten year ago this week, it was selling for $1.19 a gallon.

Despite these numbers, oil consumption has fallen as homeowners have found other sources of fuel and wood is the fastest-growing alternative.

Nearly 2.4 million households in America used wood as their primary heating fuel in 2010. That was up from just under 1.8 million homes.

Among New England states, the number of homes using wood as a primary heat source went up 122% percent in Connecticut, while nearly doubling in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island. The top wood-burning states per capita in the US are Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire.

People are drawn to wood because it is renewable and it is a local product, it is also very inexpensive.

New wood stove models, those made since 1990, have had to meet specified EPA emissions standards.

Wood stoves sales have been brisk at Rocky’s Stove Shoppe in Augusta, said owner Rocky Gaslin. Sales of both wood burning stoves and pellet stoves roughly doubled from 2010 to 2011, he said. A medium-size wood burning stove that can heat up to 2,000 square feet costs from $1,700 to $2,500, plus installation, while a similar-size pellet stove would sell in the $2,500-$4,000 range.

“People are trying to do as much as they can to replace oil,’’ he said. “They don’t want to burn a drop of oil at $3.50 a gallon.’’

Rocky’s Stove Shoppe is one of the many retailers in MA, RI, CT, NH, VT, ME, NY, NJ, and PA that Northeast Distribution LTD can get you in touch with. For more information on using pellets and wood for heat, contact us.

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