1.7 million US households to use wood as primary heat source

By Erin Voegele | October 13, 2021

The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that nearly 1.7 million, or 1.3 percent, of U.S. households will use cord wood or wood pellets as their primary heating fuel for residential space heating this winter. An additional 8 percent will use wood as a secondary source of heat, making wood second to electricity as a supplemental heating fuel for U.S. households.

As of 2015, the EIA said one in four rural U.S. households used wood for primary or secondary space heating, compared with 6 percent of urban households. Wood use was most common in New England, where 21 percent of households used wood as either a primary or secondary source of heat.

In the Northeast, 162,000 households are expected to use wood as a primary heating fuel this winter, down 26 percent from the winter of 2020-’21. In the Midwest, 378,000 households are expected to heat primarily with wood, down 11.4 percent. Wood heating is also expected to fall in the South, where 446,000 households are expected to use the fuel as a primary source of heat, down 1.3 percent. Wood heating in the West is expected to remain relatively stable, at 664,000 households, down only 0.2 percent from last winter. Nationwide, 1.65 million households are expected to use wood as a primary heating fuel, down 6.4 percent from 2020-’21.