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I don't know if this is the right place for this question but here it is

As a lot of yo know I have been working on a story set in a homesteading group in a post apocalyptic southern IL

so today's question is how much wood do yo really need to heat a home for winter? It sees like every one has a different opinion on this. Now let's think bigger how much seasoned wood is needed for a settlement of 40 people.
 

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I don't know if this is the right place for this question but here it is

As a lot of yo know I have been working on a story set in a homesteading group in a post apocalyptic southern IL

so today's question is how much wood do yo really need to heat a home for winter? It sees like every one has a different opinion on this. Now let's think bigger how much seasoned wood is needed for a settlement of 40 people.
That depends upon many factors. How many homes, how large are they? What construction materials? Sod shanties on the prairies had little to no wood, those folks burned Buffalo dung. People adapt to the resources available. If there’s wood in plentiful supply they may heat their dwellings, if not they dress warmly and don’t worry about heat,save what little fuel they have for cooking. Boiling water for tea and coffee which would be luxuries in your story.
 

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Southern Illinois is what, zone 6?
Your question has a lot of variables.
I can use maybe 4 cords for 4 people in a 2600 sf home over a winter in zone 7 b.
A post Zombie world means they are likely burning furniture, corpses and whatever makes heat since one property rarely has wood to heat a space for 40 people.
 

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We generally use about 2 cords per season. Then again, the way the house is set up we get a lot of passive solar heat, so as long as the sun is shining, we get enough solar heat to heat the whole house from around noon to ~9 at night.
 

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When I think post apocalypse I automatically revert to life pre Industrial Age. Without modern civilization no one will have those luxuries afforded by it. Welding, if any, in such a small community would be done by a blacksmith, hammer and anvil.... assuming he could find any flux! Simple tools today would be prized possessions. A hand saw... useless without file to keep blade sharp. I know I’d not risk my saw cutting firewood! Much easier to wrap up in the furs taken off last months food supply than waste hours and hours cutting wood to heat a house.
 

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My parents heat their home primarily with wood. They did get a heat pump last year and like it but they don't rely on it for the entire house. There's a wood furnace in the basement and they have a wood cook stove in the kitchen. In addition to cutting his own wood, he also visits our local transfer station (which accepts brush and trees) and will take wood home from there. We have a chuckle but it's free, partially already cut, and would just be rotting otherwise. I think he may do the same when the utilities cut trees and the homeowner doesn't want the wood.

I'm not offering any advice on the initial question, as I think there are a lot of variables, but offered some other suggestions on sources.
 

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It depends. A old wooden farmhouse with no insulation would be, all you can get. A small log cabin with fresh chinking, and a sod roof might use four or five, or just two depending on how harsh the winter. In this settlement of forty people, how many houses are there? What are the houses made of? Do they have fireplaces, or wood stoves? Are they cooking in a community kitchen?
 
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Yea, it depends on size of house and insulation and comfort level demanded. In the old days, the rule was "heat the person, not the space," ie- wear another sweater rather than throw another log on the fire....Night caps and hot water bottles under the bed covers helped, as did gloves with fingers cut off for working. Waistcoats/vests and cravats are actually to help keep warm, not a fashion statement in centuries past. Tapestries were artful ways to limit drafts in the castle. Barns for the livestock were built adjacent to, or better, under the living quarters to keep body heat in the building.

Here's two resources you may find valuable for references:
LOW-TECH MAGAZINE (lowtechmagazine.com) -- scroll down to find articles about old ag & lifestyle concerns
Browse by title — Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections --periodicals from 19th/early 20th century on rural topics/lifestyle
 

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There is no way to answer that question .
It depends on how well the house is insulated , the size of the house the area its in , how much wind you get , how warm the house needs to be .
My cabin is 2800 sf and it’s on the top of a Mountain @ 2400 feet .
The wind is allways howling and I burn 10 months out of the year .
I burn 6/7 cord if the fire is going 24/7 the last 2 years I’ve been letting the fire burn down after 900pm and relighting it at 7am and use
4 1/2 cord .
Once the place gets warm it stays that way .
It’s easy to stay at 55o , 70o takes much more wood .
I cook on the wood stove it’s burning most of the time , I use cast iron pots and pans .
Even make coffee and tea .
A small cabin uses a small stove and will burn less wood .
The stove makes a big difference allso , some are cheep to feed .
I’ve never used a small stove all my homes have been 3000sf so I need big stoves
 

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In NW Ohio, we heat our old 1800 sf farmhouse solely with wood and use about 4 cords of seasoned hardwood (Ash, Oak, Maple). Our kids no longer live here, so it's just the two of us, but during a SHTF scenario, I fully expect that my parents, inlaws, and kids would return for the "safety in numbers" thought process, so that same 4 cords would heat at least 8 people in the same house....no reason to heat 4 houses.
 

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More people in a house will use less wood .
I forget how many btu a person gives off
Even that will vary, depending on how they are dressed. Someone wrapped up in blankets and robes produce less heat than the same person will if naked. But two naked people could easily give off triple the heat of the one naked person!
 

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You need to let us know where this story is taking place. We live in Northern Minnesota. I think we are Zone 3. We can go through 7-8 cords of wood a season. Our cold season can start in September and end in April OR it can start in Oct and end in March....who knows. We plan on 9 cords to heat our 1900 square foot house...propane as a back-up but only if we are out of town for a few days.
 

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You need to let us know where this story is taking place. We live in Northern Minnesota. I think we are Zone 3. We can go through 7-8 cords of wood a season. Our cold season can start in September and end in April OR it can start in Oct and end in March....who knows. We plan on 9 cords to heat our 1900 square foot house...propane as a back-up but only if we are out of town for a few days.
I’m thinking the story takes place in southern Il. I may be wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Illinois? In that case you should factor in what the state's tax to burn each log is.
to be fair as i said in the top i an researching for a fictional post apocalyptic illinois so i don't think the tax would be a problem
 

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to be fair as i said in the top i an researching for a fictional post apocalyptic illinois so i don't think the tax would be a problem
I dunno.... I grew up in Chicago, then in the 'burbs, and the powers there would find a way to tax everything in sight.

I thank God nearly every day that we are no longer there.
 
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