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No cuts in firewood costs

Sierra Countis
Sierra Sun

The price of filling up at the gas station this year also impacts the fuel that feeds the fire at home.

Homeowners relying on fireplaces or woodstoves to heat their homes are paying more money for firewood this winter because of the spike in gas prices across the country. Equipment expenses, which include the diesel delivery trucks and gas for chainsaws, jumped in price for Lee Wetherdee, A-1 Firewood.

That means the supply of firewood just isn’t meeting the demand, Wetherdee said.

“I will probably be out (of wood) before Christmas,” Wetherdee said, whose firewood business delivers to 13 cities including the Bay Area, Sacramento, Reno and Lake Tahoe.

Prices have also gone up for Greg Purdy, who owns Truckee Firewood.

There is a lack of hardwood, oak and almond wood that has caused prices to increase 20 percent compared to last year, Purdy said.

No matter what, a cozy, crackling fire heating up the house at night doesn’t come cheap.

At Truckee Firewood one cord of hardwood goes for $410, with free delivery in the Truckee area. A cord of hardwood at A-1 Firewood costs $395 plus $45 for home delivery.

Purdy said he offered specials on firewood in the spring, and since then prices have increased by $100. And now as the winter weather approaches, he said he’s booked through Nov. 1 and makes at least 20 firewood deliveries a day, averaging almost 4,000 cords a year.

The majority of homeowners buy one or two cords of wood at a time, Purdy said, and order more wood as needed when they run out.

Many people have a strict budget when it comes to the cost of firewood, Wetherdee said.

“People can’t order $1,000 or $1,500 of wood at a time,” he said.

In fact, prices get more expensive later in season as the wood supply dwindles,

Purdy said. Opting for a cord of hardwood is the best value for the money or, he suggests, buying a mixed cord of wood of pine fir and oak.

The increase in wood prices is a deciding factor to switch to a gas stove for some homeowners who are tired of paying for firewood and then stacking and schlepping it for years, said Cindy Deas, owner of Lake Tahoe Specialty Stove and Fireplace.

“There’s always a misconception that gas is more expensive,” Deas said. “They’re as economical as anything else.”

Deas said the size of the home can determine whether a woodstove, gas stove, or pellet stove is most efficient.


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