13th Nov 2022

Annual Cost Of Operating A Wood Insert - FireplaceSurplus

How Much Wood Do I Need For A Full Year?

There is no ‘average’ that a homeowner can expect to burn in a single season as it will depend on a variety of factors, however, EPA certified wood inserts may consume between 3-6 full cords of wood in a single season. This number could vary depending on usage, climate, and heating requirements and the cost for these cords could range from as little as $0 (if you have access to free wood!) up to $3,000+ (if you live in an area with expensive wood). Your specific requirements and costs will vary dramatically based on your environment, usage, and local costs. For accurate estimates consult your local Regency fireplace expert as they will know more about your specific geography, the costs in the area, as well as the heating needs.

To get a quick overview of how much you can save by upgrading to a EPA certified wood insert see our Wood Usage & Cost Estimator at the bottom of this article. In the most extreme cases a homeowner can save up to $2,700 in heating costs per year by upgrading from an old inefficient wood insert to the latest high-efficiency hybrid inserts from Regency. If you are adding an insert for the first time (IE upgrading from an open masonry fire) these cost savings will be even more dramatic.

Key Things to Consider When Estimating Cord Wood Needs

Even with identical fireplaces two homes can use significantly different amounts of wood depending on a wide range of factors. The following are some key considerations for estimating the amount of wood you will use in a single year. For an analysis of your real-world situation and recommendation on proper unit sizing consult your local Regency fireplace expert.

Types of Wood Burning Inserts

What type of wood insert are you using? Is it EPA-certified or not? Is it catalytic or non-catalytic? EPA-certified catalytic inserts will use the least amount of wood throughout a season whereas non-EPA inserts will use significantly more wood, and open fires even more still. Not sure which one you have or which is right for you – see our guide to Catalytic vs Non-Catalytic wood stoves.

Size of Your Home

How large is the home you are heating? Is the insert the primary heating source for the entire area? Are you looking to heat the full 3,000 sq ft? Or are you only heating an 1,100 sq ft home? This will be one of the biggest factors affecting wood usage and choosing the right unit size.

Volume of Space to Heat

How large are the rooms, how high are the ceiling, what is the total volume of air within the home that needs to be heated?

Construction of the Home

How is the home physically constructed? Is it new or old? How many windows are there? How effective is the insulation? Is the home airtight or not? These will all affect the efficiency of your wood insert.

Fireplace Usage

How often do you use your fireplace? Are you heating your home 24 hours a day with your fireplace? Or are you burning wood only when you are home? This is another major factor that will affect your wood consumption.

Environmental Factors

Do you live in a windy area or in higher altitude? How cold does it get outside? This will tell you a lot about your wood consumption as it’s a direct correlation to what the wood insert needs to counter in order to keep you and your home warm.

Type of Wood

What type of wood are you using? Different wood offers different heat output levels and burn slower than others. Typically, hardwoods produce more BTU’s and burn slower, and as a result you will use less throughout the year. Softwoods will burn quicker and produce fewer BTU's, therefore you will need to use more throughout the year.

Moisture Content of Wood

Ensuring you have properly seasoned wood with a moisture content below 20% will go a long way to ensuring your insert is burning efficiently. The higher the moisture content the lower the efficiency, heat output, and greater risk of creosote buildup. Wood with a higher moisture content cools down the fire, reduces the total BTU output and can cause damage to the insert.

Wood Usage & Cost Estimator

The following is a basic comparison and estimation of the amount of wood a typical medium sized wood insert can consume. This is intended to be a broad estimate and does not consider any of the external factors mentioned above instead focusing solely on the efficiency of each insert.

This wood usage calculator is useful for new owners planning for upcoming season or for people considering the change to a new EPA-certified wood insert. The yearly savings potential highlights the difference in annual wood costs of running a non-EPA insert and a Hybrid Catalytic wood insert.

Regency EPA Insert

Non-EPA Insert

Yearly Savings Potential

High (24hrs/day)Low (12hrs/day)High ($600)2.3 $ 1,365.004.6 $ 2,730.00 $ 1,365.00
Medium ($400)2.3 $ 910.004.6 $ 1,820.00 $ 910.00
Low ($200)2.3 $ 455.004.6 $ 910.00 $ 455.00

Note: Prices for wood will vary dramatically throughout North America and as such three benchmarks were chosen. Cords and Costs were calculated on standard unit size, efficiency, daily usage, and used an average heating season of 26 weeks. Actual numbers will vary, this table is meant simply as an educational tool and does not guarantee any real world savings or costs.