Becoming Heat Independent: The 3 Freedoms You Can’t Afford To Lose

heat independence, wood heat -

Becoming Heat Independent: The 3 Freedoms You Can’t Afford To Lose

Drop it. Buck it. Split it. Stack it. Season it. Grab it. Burn it.

As the world becomes more and more automated, the art of processing firewood seems like a laborious process. After all, there are plenty of options when it comes to heating a home.


None of them are as time and labor intensive as splitting wood.

Unfortunately, many people have overlooked the important factors that make heating with wood so valuable. Becoming heat independent brings about financial freedom, geographical freedom, and physical freedom.

Heating with wood has perpetually provided financial freedom.

As natural gas and propane prices become increasingly volatile, it can be difficult to budget for these expenses.

Sure, many companies offer summer-fill specials or the option to “lock in” your rate. However, when a cold snap lingers and your heating needs go up unexpectedly, you may be left paying premium rates. 

Consider these “worst case scenario” numbers: In southern Wisconsin from November 2013 through March 2014 (during which temperatures reached record lows for several weeks), it took 7 cords of mixed hardwood to heat a 2,200 sq. ft. home.

Assuming a cord of firewood is valued at $210, this home’s heating costs for the entire season would have been $1,470. Some folks may pay double that for propane or natural gas, with no guarantee the price will remain constant.

Firewood is an easy choice, especially if you can save by splitting it yourself.

Another freedom that is granted by choosing firewood is geographical freedom.

Whether you have goals to own a hunting cabin, move to a home in a remote location, or even sustain a completely off-grid lifestyle, having access to firewood is a critical first step to bringing these scenarios to fruition.

Whether for intentional use, or desired with more of a preparedness mindset, it can bring incredible peace to know that the selected lodging would be inhabitable regardless of the number on the thermometer.

The last factor to be gained in achieving heat independence is physical (and mental) freedom.

Getting outside to split firewood is an excellent use of the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems.

Being out in the sun and fresh air increases vitamin D and endorphins, boosting your mood and immune system, and helping to regulate your circadian rhythms, which affect sleep, digestion, and focus. On top of that there is research that shows splitting wood increases testosterone in as short as 20 mins.

But… it’s so much work!” Yes. It is.

Luckily, your body was designed for work.

Sitting at a desk or being indoors for 8+ hours a day is not ideal for the human body and mind.

Depending on one’s fitness and abilities, there are many options to consider when hiking down the path toward heat independence.

Here are a few methods, each providing you with 100 days worth of firewood:

  1. The Eager Beaver: Pick one month to skip your regular workout and decide to dedicate 10 hours per week to splitting firewood. Not only will you meet your heating needs for the entire winter, but you’ll also strengthen your back, upper body, and core. You’ll be tired, but it’ll be worth it!
  2. The Lumberjack: During 5 warm months, split firewood for 2 hours per week. Whether that’s 2 hours every Friday night, or 40 minutes 3 days per week, you’ll be slowly and steadily reaching those firewood goals.
  3. The Seasoned Vet: Log splitters were invented for a reason. If it’s not ideal for you to be swinging an axe like you used to, rope your kids and neighbors into doing the heavy lifting while you supervise and crack dad jokes. Bonus points awarded if the crew splits enough wood to share, which may kindle a passion for wood heat that spans multiple generations.

Meeting one’s own heating needs can offer financial, geographical, and physical freedom.

Wood heat is not for everyone, but the percentage of folks who have sustained the heat-independent lifestyle can attest that it’s one of the most liberating ways to go about meeting a basic household need.

Here at Whiskey River Trading, we are so grateful to have achieved heat independence, and we’re “stoked” (pun intended) to help you do the same.

Keep following along for more articles to help you and your family on your way to Heat Independence - and if you found this post to be helpful why not share it with someone who could use it!

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  • Bill

    I wasn’t finished and it posted when I went to correct qualify for spelling. Just want to say life is choices and I made mine to be free from a lot of what city life brings and you always need a backup plan. Mine was to put the money away I would have spent on a big mortgage and home owners insurance and that is my backup if lightning strikes. Happy with my wife and dogs. Cheers, Bill

  • Bill

    You bring up some good points. I heat with an older Lopi Liberty. Lived here 28 years and have about 6 acres of woods and figure they will keep me warm the rest of my life as I am 70 now. I cut and split about 4 full cord a year. I have 2 empire gas heaters that will work without power, one 35k btu and one 15k btu. They can keep the place warm if I am under the weather which is rare but I am having a little hand surgery in march that will slow me down. The one problem I have is that I followed code finishing this place as I bought as a shell in 95 I can’t get home owners insurance in the nanny state of NY without central heat and what I have doesn’t quilfy.

  • Eric Schmierer

    Ray Mears take on Thoreau’s original quote on the benefits of firewood . . .

    “Fire-wood makes you warm three times; first collecting it, secondly shifting it and third when you burn it.”
    — Ray Mears

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