Firewood: 3 tips from a retiree to save money

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How to save heating this fall and all winter? According to figures from Selectra, more than 60% of a household’s energy bill is for heating. According to Midi Libre, the price of a cubic meter of firewood fluctuates between 50 and 120 euros, or an average of 0.04 euros/kWh. It has indeed increased by 20 euros compared to its price for the month of June. “We still have stock, but at best, it will go until the end of December, or even February 2023. It’s madness. They all want wood”, adds to the Parisian Nicolas Petit, assistant to the wood manager of the National Forestry Office (ONF) for Hauts-de-France. Faced with this price increase, it is advisable to pay attention to the scams which are multiplying.

While the prices of firewood are soaring, the French who wanted to save money on electric heating by lighting their fireplace must therefore also find tips for saving. Gérard, a 64-year-old retiree living in the countryside in the Bouches-du-Rhône, gives us three of them.

To save on the firewood he buys, the retiree takes advantage of living in the countryside to go for walks and collect abandoned wood. “When I see wood abandoned near the house or in the hill, I pick it up and cut it at home to make kindling. When I burn that, I don’t burn anything else and I save”, says Gerard.

“To replace kindling, I also collect pine cones in nature where there are pines. I have a bin full of them and it saves me from buying kindling in supermarkets which is expensive, sometimes 15 euros per bag”, he explains.

Living in the countryside in the middle of the fields, Gérard also had the opportunity to take advantage of the wood from trees uprooted or cut by friends or neighboring peasants. “I was lucky because a friend cut down a plane tree in front of his house because he was hiding the sun for his solar panels. So he offered to come and collect it with my van and I’m so sorry. very long. When we live in the countryside, there are sometimes fellow farmers who offer us to recover the wood. Afterwards, it requires a bit of equipment since you need a trailer to load it and a chainsaw to cut the wood” , details the retiree.

Finally, Gérard insists on the choice of firewood, which is essential for saving money. “In terms of economy, the softer the wood, the longer it burns. The best wood for a long burning time is holm oak. It heats up a lot and lasts a long time, but it is expensive because it is quite rare”, he relativizes. He also recommends “oak and the woods of fruit trees such as apple, pear, almond or cherry trees because they are quite dense and hard woods”.

On the other hand, Gérard advises against choosing “light woods such as poplar because they burn very quickly and heat up little”. The pensioner also assures that it is also necessary “to avoid softwoods such as firs, pines or cedars, unless they are really very, very dry (several years)”. Indeed, resin acts almost like gasoline on wood. “If it’s calorific, it burns very quickly because the resin accelerates combustion and it can clog the chimneys”, warns Gérard.

Firewood is supplementary heating for Gérard and his wife Hélène, who heat themselves mainly with electricity. “At the first cold, using the fireplace in the evening, it tempers the room for me to watch TV in the evening. The fireplace and the firewood allow me to turn on the electric heating later and therefore save money. It happens I won’t turn it on until the end of November or the beginning of December depending on the weather,” he concludes.