Wood Stoves: what's new in the world of wood heat.

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by A-Bone, Oct 14, 2010.

  1. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,025
    Location:
    The far east of the far east of North America
    Masonry heaters. Ten tonnes of thermal mass (brick,stone ) lit once a day with a full bonfire.
    Heats the mass and it radiates that heat all day Google it.
    Not new though. Been around for centuries. Extreme efficiency.
  2. A-Bone

    A-Bone Indubitably

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2006
    Oddometer:
    12,890
    Location:
    Cow Hampsha, (NH, USA)
    IDScarecrow has one..which he posted about here: http://advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=15029351&postcount=142

    I'm really currious how they would work around here (NH) on a day to day basis... seems that sizing them would be pretty critical.. but I guess you could adjust the overall BTU output by adjusting the length of the burn...

    The concept is great: hot, efficient fire with no big swings in out-put temperature... but making a new fire every day would be a pain in the balls... Though you could just make a shit-ton of kindling with regular cord-wood to have on hand...

    [​IMG]
  3. Manuel Garcia O'Kely

    Manuel Garcia O'Kely Back at last

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    13,673
    Location:
    Central Colorado Rockies
    I like those big mass heaters but I do have a lot of questions about how they work during this time of year, when we need a quick fire in the AM and no heat later in the afternoon and evening.

    I don't mind lighting a fire every AM - I make cartons of kindling and just light it up every morning. Our place is so small that an all day fire is only required on the very coldest days.

    If I lived in a colder climate, more than practical though.
  4. Piston

    Piston Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    579
    Location:
    Central MA
    The masonry heaters do work very well even in cold cold climates, but I agree with A-Bone about the invonvenience of having to light a fire (2 when it's really cold out) every single day.

    Ideally, I would like a masonry heater on one side of my chimney, with a large soapstone woodstove on the other. The masonry heater would have a pizza oven in it, I think this would be the best of both worlds, although super exensive :D

    Here is a pic I took at a friends house a few weeks ago of one.
    Not as pretty as the last one, but probably still close to 10k dollars to build.

    [​IMG]



    On another note, I cleaned out my chimney a few weeks ago, and was pleseantly surprised that after 2 winters of burning, and not sweeping, I only had just over a beer can full of creosote.
    I've been wanting to light a fire since then, but it's been too warm. Even during the power outage from the storm I was itching to light the woodstove to cook some breakfast on, but the living room was already 67 degrees. :huh
  5. IDScarecrow

    IDScarecrow Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,372
    Location:
    PNW Inland Empire
    Shoulder seasons are tricky. Once you turn on the big masonry heater, you can't turn it off. Our house has good south exposure, so even in winter if it is going to be a bright sunny day I either skip the fire (and am a bit chilly in the a.m.), burn a short fire (which stillsometimes leaves me chilly in the a.m.), or burn normally and open windows as necessary. I tend toward the last option, as I like thefresh air anyway.

    I don't have a problem lighting the fire(s). I burn softwood, since it is most available here, and the Tulkivi lights really well due to its design. Only takes a couple minutes, some newspaper, a handful of kindling, and one match.
  6. Manuel Garcia O'Kely

    Manuel Garcia O'Kely Back at last

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    13,673
    Location:
    Central Colorado Rockies
    The Pellet stove is on a thermostat and is set to go on at about 5 am in the winter to take the edge off, then we get up and light the Defiant. Once fire is going, what we do depends on the OAT [outside air temperature].

    The advantage of the pellet stove is that when it's tolerably mild it's easy to flip on for a bit of supplemental heat - it's got three output settings/fuel burn rates, and you can run it for an hour and when it cycles off, it's cold.

    The downside to the pellet stove is that being electromechanical, it's almost mandatory to service it - we pay a pro to do this annually to make sure it's working properly - it's worth the insurance - and this year, the repairs fixed some problems we did not even know we had, including a bad igniter and control board.

    I like being able to use both systems as they tend to compliment each other and both are renewable fuels - we get the pellets made from local beetle kill pine and our wood is also beetle kill for the most part, with some salvage oak and fruit wood.

    The downside to a pellet stove is that it's loud - at least ours is. There are two blowers in the design, and I have found that even at the lowest fueling rate, the stove self-cleans best on high blower - the buildup in the firebox is minimized.
  7. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,646
    Location:
    Orygun
    Got home about 8 last night and decided that since it had finally turned cold (been dropping down below freezing at night) I would try to build a fire and see if it would keep the house warm enough against freezing temps outside. It was 56 degrees inside when I started, 40 something outside. So I did not turn on the furnace.

    Took about an hour to get the stove putting out some heat using compressed sawdust logs with a fire I could walk away from. Before midnight I put on the third compressed log and went to bed. Got up about 4 AM and added a half log - the temp was 63 at the thermostat but warmer in the room were the stove was at.

    This morning I got up and the fire had mostly burned down so I put another half log on. The temp was 60 at the thermostat.

    I need to find a better way to transfer heat from the stove around the house. The ceiling fan moves the air down from the ceiling, but not between rooms very well. Each bedroom has a transfer vent above the door, but no fan. The master bedroom is next to the room the stove is in so it will be warmer, but I am sleeping in a guest bedroom until I get my big captains bed put back together (still unpacking stuff).

    I think when it is cold outside like it is now I would need to have a larger fire than three compressed logs and use a box fan to move the air out of the stove room. I also need to do something about the large windows in the stove room is in - I am looking into getting window quilt type insulated roman shades for those windows, I know they probably lose a lot of heat.
  8. Nailhead

    Nailhead Free at last!

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2003
    Oddometer:
    6,355
    Location:
    Longmont, CO
    Cool concept, but not an easy owner-retrofit.
  9. Piston

    Piston Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    579
    Location:
    Central MA
    Do you have your fans pushing the hot air down, or pulling it up? They should be set so they are pulling the warm air up. This "helps" the natural air movement rather than fight it, creating better circulation in the room.

    Regardless though, I also have problems moving the warm air around my house, I have a very closed off house with separate rooms. I have to have my stove going for a good 24hrs before the rest of the house will get noticeably warmer. My next house will have a much more open floor plan.
  10. Nailhead

    Nailhead Free at last!

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2003
    Oddometer:
    6,355
    Location:
    Longmont, CO
    My mom had a house with a stove & Magic Heat in the living room, and her bedroom at the end of a long hall on the windward end of the house. It got really cold in the BR, and roasting hot in the LR, so I took a desk fan and placed it at about the middle of the hall to one side pointing toward the living room. It worked: the cool air being pushed toward the LR brought the hot air down the hall.

    Not a real sexy solution, I'll admit, but cheap & simple.
  11. CodeMonkee

    CodeMonkee Geek Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,646
    Location:
    Orygun
    It feels like the air is being pushed down (I can feel it from here) and I would think that is what you would want. I have seen these various air circulation "tubes" that bring hot air down from the ceiling.

    I don't think the problem is hot/cold air exchange, the ceiling fan seems to handle that - it is moving the air from the large stove room to the front room. There is a large 10+ foot wide hallway between the two rooms and that area is open and it has the ceiling fan in it, but I noticed that naturally the stove room is significantly warmer than the front room.

    The front room is the room I decided to make my living room with the TV/etc. and the larger stove room with the picture windows I am not sure what that is going to evolve into yet, but it is where the stove is and it is next to the master bedroom.

    I am sure that a box fan or something can transfer the air between the two rooms, I just haven't unpacked everything yet.
  12. Piston

    Piston Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    579
    Location:
    Central MA
  13. Nailhead

    Nailhead Free at last!

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2003
    Oddometer:
    6,355
    Location:
    Longmont, CO
    You bet-- as long as you have the footer already in place, or are setting it on a slab. I imagine there are a host of other considerations to deal with also that aren't coming readily to mind.

    Notice I wrote "easy", not "possible".

    "Easy"= Set the stove to required clearances. Plumb up & cut required vent holes. Set support box and interior & exterior vent piping-- brace if necessary. Light fire.

    "Possible"= a brick-laying project in my living room with its 2x8 @16"OC floor framing.

    With my particular house it would nowhere near as easy as simply building a brick wall. YMMV.
  14. Nailhead

    Nailhead Free at last!

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2003
    Oddometer:
    6,355
    Location:
    Longmont, CO
    Frost line is somewhere around 24" here (when we actually have a winter), 200 miles north of Denver.

    I cannot imagine frost is to blame for their basement slab movement-- I would wager that it has more to do with clay.

    As for wood heat, I'll stick with my little Bosca for now.

    Lottery winnings and a custom home? Bring on the masonry stove and the personal pizza chef. :jkam
  15. Wingnut037

    Wingnut037 Two Sheds

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    287
    Location:
    SoCal
    Question for you folks from California, any experience burning eucalyptus or avocado wood? Good to burn either straight, or mixing with hardwoods. Only personal experience is from burning the pine and oak we had growing up.

    We are hopefully moving into a home with a wood heater here soon, and those seem to be the common woods on CL.
  16. Manuel Garcia O'Kely

    Manuel Garcia O'Kely Back at last

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    13,673
    Location:
    Central Colorado Rockies
    Wood burning may be regulated by the air quality board depending on where in S CA you live.

    Ukes burn hot and fast, sappy, poppy stuff, IIRC.
  17. NJjeff

    NJjeff Long timer

    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,109
    Location:
    NJ
    Your right it's not frost heave.

    It's Expansive Soil.
    It should be rephrased, expensive soil it's more accurate.
  18. Wingnut037

    Wingnut037 Two Sheds

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    287
    Location:
    SoCal
    The house is above 3k feet, which I believe removes any restrictions. Looks like I will be avoiding the Uke, thanks.
  19. kobudo28

    kobudo28 Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,888
    Location:
    New Hampster. Live, Freeze and Ride.
    We are all well into the wood heating season at this point, enjoying the warmth that wood heat brings. With that, I thought that I would share some thoughts on buring the "bio-bricks" now that I have had some time with them for anyone who may be interested.

    Pro's: easy to handle, very little pre-burn mess, low smoke, very low ash, low pollutants (if you care), good heat, they are dry, no bugs in them wither so they can be stacked in your cellar, etc without concern. They take up less space than a cord of word.

    Con's: a bit more expensive than cord word, depending on your type of stove they are a bit of a pain in the ass. My stove is a front loader with the draft in the door. These bricks expand when they burn and often fall against the door and the draft pushing smoke/fumes out of the stove. A top loading stove would be better for these in order to get a full load in the stove.

    That's it for now and it is January so there is more burning to come.
  20. small_e_900

    small_e_900 Amanda carried it

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,846
    Location:
    Mudpuddle Maine
    I've been burning them too.
    So far, I've burned about a ton of them.
    I agree with you. Cleaner burning, no bugs and they stack so well. :D

    Around here, a cord is $250-275 dumped in the yard.

    The bio-bricks are $325/ton.

    I'll use them again.

    This is my first year with a pellet stove as well.
    I'll use four or five tons of pellets this year.
    I won't know until a get an oil delivery, but I've used probably 400 less gallons of oil so far, and I'll use no kerosene. Last year I used 250 gallons of kero.

    The pellet stove will be paid for this year in oil savings alone.

    I should have done this a decade ago.