Increased Use Since 1974
Rising Number of Homes With Wood Heat
This winter more American homes will be heated with wood than with electric heat provided by nuclear power.1 It is ironic that in the last quarter of the 20th century an ancient heat source has become an important fuel for millions of Americans. A century ago nearly all American homes, businesses and industries were heated with wood. The use of wood fuel peaked in the 1880s, when Americans began switching to coal. Later, oil and natural gas came to dominate the home heating market. By the early 1970s only about 1 percent of American homes used wood as the primary source of heat. But the decline in wood fuel use reversed after the 1973–74 Arab ...