Firewood, fuel sales down with warmer winter

Published on March 19, 2017

David Friesen stands in front of his wood splitter on Scotch Hill Road.

©Kevin Adshade

SCOTCH HILL - Not everybody likes the milder winters.

“It’s a little too warm. I’d like to sell some more wood today,” David Friesen said with a laugh.

The owner of Friesen Firewood in Scotch Hill, just outside Pictou, had sold about 300 cords of firewood this year, down from about 450 a year ago.

“It’s been good, though. It’s been about what I was expecting.”

Friesen, who services an estimated 100 customers, reasoned that people who augment their home heating with wood, or in some cases use firewood exclusively for heat, stocked up on their wood in the past year or so, especially after the long, cold winter of 2015. He suspects they haven’t had to purchase more this year because the region hasn’t had to endure long amounts of bitterly cold temperatures when compared to previous years.

“They didn’t need as much this winter,” he says. “Plus, fuel prices are down this year and I imagine that’s part of it. Wood produces a lot of heat in a wood stove. It’s a very good alternative to a heat pump, but you don't have to have a big home to go through 10 cords of wood in a single year.”

Kevin McKay, who owns McKay’s Fuels in New Glasgow, said he’s noticed a decline in fuel sales this year and figures that the use of heat pumps has something to do with it. It wasn’t a significant drop, he points out, but enough to be noticeable.

“It was a warm winter. We didn’t have that long stretch of cold weather.”