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Got Wood

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Posted 11-04-2016 at 12:24 PM by Roy Sanborn

Got Wood? The Lakes Region Real Estate Market Report

It’s November. And here in the Lakes Region it’s getting colder. Yup, it is downright frosty some mornings. So it is time to crank up the wood stove. This year I decided to try some kiln dried firewood instead on the seasoned wood I got last year to see how it burned in comparison. Kiln dried wood is, well, it is kiln dried like in a big oven. I had a cord delivered and dumped on the lawn next to the basement door. I paid the delivery driver and wishfully asked him if stacking it was part of the deal. He said no but that he could come back at night and do it for me. He said he does it for a lot of his customers. Not wanting to miss out on one of my favorite chores I respectfully declined and pivoted (that’s a new word I learned from watching the debates) to a discussion about the virtues of kiln dried wood.

The driver told me that it burns much hotter than regular firewood because of the fact that the moisture content has been baked out of it. Apparently firewood that has been dried, or seasoned, for 6 months or so has a moisture content of 15% to 20% while kiln dried wood is somewhere between 10% and 14%. At least that’s what it says on the internet. Sounds like with all the baking and seasoning references we are talking about cooking or barbecuing something instead of firewood. It’s like, what kind of seasoning do you want on your steak? But obviously, it is harder to burn wood with more moisture…just try burning green wood and you’ll see. Kiln dried wood is supposed to burn a lot longer and hotter so I guess I will find out.

You are also supposed to have a more complete burn so you will have to empty the ash pan a lot less. That means, thankfully, I won’t have to trek off through the deep snow and dump my ashes on the other side of my stone wall as often. It seemed last year every time I had to empty the ashes the wind was howling or I got snow down my boots. I also read kiln dried wood produces less smoke. And, along that food analogy line, kiln dried wood appears to have fewer calories, too. All the little bugs that might have been living in the wood have been baked right out.

So with a cord of wood waiting to go into the basement I hatched a plan to con my kids into bringing the wood in by bribing them with single malt Scotch. Unfortunately, when my oldest son came up for the weekend from Boston it was raining, prompting him to comment that my kiln dried wood wasn’t very dry anymore. He also brought his own Scotch with him. So much for that plan.

There is an old saying is that “firewood heats you three times. Once when you cut it, once one you split it, and once when you burn it.” I think they should have counted stacking it in the basement as another as I worked up a pretty good sweat doing that. But at least I avoided the cutting and splitting part and my wife did help me some, too. So next year I will have a better plan to get the wood in or maybe I’ll just buy a gas stove. I’d much rather get warmed once than three or four times.

There were 862 single family homes on the market in the twelve Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average asking price was $644,558 and the median price point stood at $289,900. About 25% of the homes had fireplaces and 17% had wood stoves. Wonder how many are using kiln dried wood?

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