Want to heat with wood...


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Old 01-18-08, 08:04 AM
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Want to heat with wood...

At some point in the near future, I plan to buy or build a home and incorporate as much green and renewable-energy technique and technology as practical, including heating and cooling. The house I'm renting and living in right now, though, was built in the early 70's, and I don't think there was much attention to energy efficiency in its construction. The house has a beautiful fireplace, but I suspect it's intended more for decoration than for heating. If I build a fire without running the furnace, the house actually seems to get colder. I would like to see if there is anything I can add to the fireplace that would be portable to my next home that will actually help recover some of the heat normally lost up the chimney. A lot of the things I've seen on the internet talk a good game, but I'm not willing to plunk down a lot of money for so much snake oil. Anybody have any ideas? Thanks in advance - Chris
 
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Old 01-18-08, 08:56 AM
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Two things come to mind:

Wood stove insert. Don't know how "portable" that would be as I've never had one.

Wood stove. You'd have to run stove pipe up your flue or I don't think the stove would draw properly. You'd also need something to set the stove on.
 
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Old 01-18-08, 09:55 AM
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Thanks, md2lgyk. First things first - LOVE your signature. Without the 2nd amendment, all else is defenseless. Secondly - I have been wanting to try my hand at building an insert for this fireplace; if I don't have a lot of money (just my time) invested in it, it won't hurt my feelings so bad if I can't use it in the next house. I have a wood stove lined up, in good shape and for a VERY reasonable price. But it's going to have to go in the garage; the fireplace design doesn't lend itself to installing this stove. But, hey, heat is heat! Can't decide yet whether to make the insert convection only or to power-ventilate. Any ideas? - Chris
 
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Old 01-18-08, 09:45 PM
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Wood Insert..

Originally Posted by CMil View Post
Thanks, md2lgyk. First things first - LOVE your signature. Without the 2nd amendment, all else is defenseless. Secondly - I have been wanting to try my hand at building an insert for this fireplace; if I don't have a lot of money (just my time) invested in it, it won't hurt my feelings so bad if I can't use it in the next house. I have a wood stove lined up, in good shape and for a VERY reasonable price. But it's going to have to go in the garage; the fireplace design doesn't lend itself to installing this stove. But, hey, heat is heat! Can't decide yet whether to make the insert convection only or to power-ventilate. Any ideas? - Chris
I own a wood insert. A PE Summit as a matter of fact. It uses radiant and convection heating methods and heats a 3000sq.ft home. My furnace hardly comes on and my oil bills have been very low since installing this unit. What ever you do, make sure you have the chimney full lined in your existing home or new construction house.
 
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Old 01-19-08, 11:31 AM
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Thanks, jnt412. Where can I look at one of these inserts - is there a website, or did you buy it locally? Sounds right up my alley - I'm in 1800 sq. ft. now, looking for about the same for my next home. And again, if I spend very much on an insert, portability to the new home will be key. What does anybody think of a "fireback", the solid metal (cast or stainless) heat reflector placed at the back of the firebox?
 
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Old 01-19-08, 01:46 PM
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My house was built in 1987 and the previous owner installed a large "double front door" wood stove in the open concept basement. Its a little 1,200 sq/ft home and if we add the basement living space, our home might be around 1,500 sq/ft. Yes, small house compared to many "average size" 3 bedroom / 2 story homes in my area.

Back18 years ago (when we bought this house), we used our wood stove every winter. For us:
- Had to buy our wood. Best price was $65/cord.
- Had to manually pile it in our attached garage and outside. Pay yourself minimum wage - for muscle work.
- Had to carry the wood into our basement. Going down strairs. Pay yourself minimum wage for muscle work.
- Bugs often hid inside the wood and got a free trip inside our basement. Add cost for a few cans of Raid.
- When we burnt wood, our home became too dusty. Add more labor time for dusting things off every week.
- I accidentally cracked a basement floor tile because a pile of wood in my arms fell. Add repair cost to fix that.
- Had to clean our chimney every year. Also had to replace its door gaskets every 3 years. Add more dollars for this.
- When burning wood, our basement became too hot and our other upper rooms were too cool. Thus, I had to install 3 x electric fans (bathroom fans with high CFMs) to pump the basement air into the main floor. Add increase electrical costs to move hot air around.
- Having a wood stove also means higher house insurance cost. In my area, wood burning stoves (open floor stoves or inserts) always need building inspecter pass and yes, they are very strict.
* After adding up ALL direct and indirect costs (year after year), we found that burning wood was "MORE" expensive. More expensive then our new high efficiency gas furnace.

We haven't used our wood stove since 10 years ago. My wife and I are thinking of "ripping it out". If one doesn't use it, why pay higher insurance cost to have it? It's like having an insured vehicle in a driveway that nobody drives anymore. Personally, I would NOT have a wood burning stove in my home again.

Hope this helps in your future decision...

.
 
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Old 01-19-08, 02:35 PM
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Wood is work

First let me clarify, I'm no expert, so I'll give you my "seat of the pants" experience. I've been heating with wood for 5 years now. I haul wood for a tree service, so it cost me gas and time...Gas is spendy, time I got. Wood has to be cut and split...Gas for the splitter and chainsaw. Splitting by hand will get you into shape if necessary. I probably have about 10-12 cords in my wood shed at all times. That's alot of stacking...Time I got. I have a smaller wood shed at the house that holds 4-6 weeks of wood. That gets moved into the garage as needed when winter shows up. From the garage into the fireplace, and that's our heat. Fireplace is a BIS "zero clearance" sealed unit with outside air intake. Keep in mind we live in Minnesota...Our house is 2175 Sq/Ft two story and our furnace only "assists" on the coldest of days..Example: This morning..18 below zero and windy. (This IS Cold!) Cost of fireplace and install $5000. Bottom line..My neighbors are doing $150-$250 heating bills. Last month mine went up a dollar (Colder December) to $17.90!
 
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Old 01-20-08, 12:49 PM
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Yes, there are pros and cons to burning wood for heat. All things considered, I enjoy the outdoors involvement, the activity, the sights and sounds and the pure charm of a fire in the fireplace ( in the living area, not hidden in the basement). If insurance, permit and inspection costs will allow, I will burn wood from now on. I work with a guy who feels just the opposite about his fireplace; his biggest gripe is the mess. It's not for everyone. This is the first home I've lived in with a fireplace, and if I can help it, I won't be without one again. I just want to do it right.
 
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Old 01-20-08, 01:09 PM
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Wink

Here on any homes we use a steel heaterlater for the fire place. This let sthe air go around the fireplace in steel with no bricks at all. then can be worked down into duct work and a blower. We put glass doors on the front of the fireplace with a damper under them. Then right there in the hearth in front of that damper. A cold air pipe with a damper in it to the outside. This way you can control the air that the firplace needs right from the outside and not with any air leaks you have in the home. This way you can control the fire more. Just like they did with the old hand fire furnaces.
As to mess . You can put a clean out in the floor of it that goes to the outside . No ash mess in the home
 
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Old 01-21-08, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by CMil View Post
Thanks, jnt412. Where can I look at one of these inserts - is there a website, or did you buy it locally? Sounds right up my alley - I'm in 1800 sq. ft. now, looking for about the same for my next home. And again, if I spend very much on an insert, portability to the new home will be key. What does anybody think of a "fireback", the solid metal (cast or stainless) heat reflector placed at the back of the firebox?
You can checkout the PE Summit here http://www.pacificenergy.net/product_insert_summit.php

You can checkout my PE Summit here

http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/g...2/DSC01274.jpg
http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/g...2/DSC01273.jpg
 
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Old 01-21-08, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by bkrtrsh View Post
First let me clarify, I'm no expert, so I'll give you my "seat of the pants" experience. I've been heating with wood for 5 years now. I haul wood for a tree service, so it cost me gas and time...Gas is spendy, time I got. Wood has to be cut and split...Gas for the splitter and chainsaw. Splitting by hand will get you into shape if necessary. I probably have about 10-12 cords in my wood shed at all times. That's alot of stacking...Time I got. I have a smaller wood shed at the house that holds 4-6 weeks of wood. That gets moved into the garage as needed when winter shows up. From the garage into the fireplace, and that's our heat. Fireplace is a BIS "zero clearance" sealed unit with outside air intake. Keep in mind we live in Minnesota...Our house is 2175 Sq/Ft two story and our furnace only "assists" on the coldest of days..Example: This morning..18 below zero and windy. (This IS Cold!) Cost of fireplace and install $5000. Bottom line..My neighbors are doing $150-$250 heating bills. Last month mine went up a dollar (Colder December) to $17.90!
I was splitting wood manually until I bought a wood splitter a year ago. Splitting rounds of that notted stuff manually wasn't no joke. The wood splitter saves me alot of time and back pain. But the wood lover in me has me splitting manually from time to time..
I need to hookup with a tree service this year. I also get some of my wood from craigslist.
 
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Old 01-22-08, 09:57 AM
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Thanks, all. jnt412, I found a store carrying Pacific Energy inserts less than 20 miles from the house. I will stop in one day and look. From your photobucket posting, the Summit looks like a nice unit. It seems there is a fairly large support group for folks like me who like the idea of wood heat. That's good - I wouldn't want to be the only one with this sickness! Thanks again - Chris
 
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Old 01-23-08, 06:20 AM
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I am in the same situation. Can anyone provide an estimate of the cost to have one of these installed (material & labor)?

I will get quotes, but would like to have a rough idea of what to expect.

I agree with jnt412, I have time and get the wood free from Craigslist and local tree trimming services.





Thanks.
 
 

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