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Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by A-Bone, Oct 14, 2010.
The "latest thing" for my friends who heat with pellet stoves is an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS).
Some just buy a new one and get on with it - pellet stoves seem to have pretty modest requirements so you don't need a very big one., But one of the guys on NASIOC who works at home a lot :bought a large older UPS from a data center for a few hundred bucks, then replaced the batteries for another few hundred bucks. So he can run modest daytime loads for 4-8 hours before he even gets out the generator. He likes this setup because the switch over is automatic and will also run his sump pump (much higher load than a pellet stove). He has a portable generator (Honda 2000i) and only has to use it when there's an extended outage. His dream is to add solar panels to charge up the UPS, don't know how feasible that is.
OT but I learned in passing that the city of Fairbanks, AK has a UPS that can run the city for up to 15 minutes, giving them time to switch over to a backup power system.
I have a pellet stove in our house, the no electricity = no heat kindof buggs me, but thankfully I live in an area where I don't have to run it all the time and if I really needed it I have an inverter on my truck and a generator that either one will more than run it in a pinch. My truck has 6 batteries total (4 golf cart and 2 regular) to run an inverter that is capable of running my table saw among just about everything in the house.
I didn't have a dry place to store wood this year and I wanted to try the sawdust logs anyway. During XMas break I decided to heat only with the logs. I get them for $2.50 per 3 at the local grocery store (actually the cheapest place around shy of going direct to the manufacturer which is local). It was fairly cold during that time - freezing or less during the nights - and I would burn 6 to 9 logs per 24 hour period, keeping the fire going more or less around the clock (I would start it from coals in the morning).
I burned about twice as much as I thought I would. They are a hassle for me to get started at first, but once going they work okay, most of the time I can get them going from coals okay.
In comparing them to firewood, you really have to compare them by BTU, in which case they don't compare well for cost.
Once the weather dries out (late spring), I intend to put some concrete pads on two sides of the shop (front and side) and have a lean to put over the side to store wood and other stuff under, then get some cords of hardwood to burn next year. But I will still rely mostly on the electric furnace I have for weekdays - it is just not worth it to build a fire in the morning before I leave for work, and I only need heat when I get home until I go to bed and turn the heat completely off - unless it is really cold out.
I'm using Enviro Wood Briquettes.
They're made in Berwick Me.
A ton is 84 packages @ 24 pounds each. There are 12 two-pound bricks in each package.
They light really easy, because I use Girl Scout Sticks
I'm using between one and two packages a day, now that it's really cold.
On weekend days I burn all day. I use about two packages.
During the week, I light a fire in the evening and burn through the night. I use about one package a day.
One of the advantages of the bio bricks is that you don't spend a lot of your btu's burning off moisture like you do with cord wood.
Cord wood may be cheaper, shit, it's free if I want to start cutting my woodlot, but I'm getting too damned old to be doing tree work.
I'll back the truck up to the bio brick pile and and then back the truck up to my wood room and save the tree work for the young bucks.
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Damn hardwood lasts longer than I thought - Last night after I thought the stove long dead, I laid a fire for this AM....went to bed.
Came down this AM and open the stove to light it up...nothing but a coupld of sparks....at some point the thing went up all by itself - and I checked for heat and sparks - too funny.
So much for that idea!
Had the Fireview going for 19 days straight before letting it go out again. Normally I'm good for 4-7 days or so and then it goes out from not being around enough.
It even kept the house temp respectable while putting new windows in 2 weeks ago.
I would love to build a masonry stove. The issue is the weight of all the mass needed. I know that the space shuttle had very light tiles on the underside of the craft that absorbed the heat of re-entry and released the heat ofver the following days. They would glow red for days but be cool enough to touch.
My question is anyone making a light weight brick that would have the same properties as the thermal mass of a traditional masonry heater without destroying the slab?
For the last 15 years, the oil company would deliver about 390 gallons of oil every 5-6 weeks in the winter.
I got an oil delivery last Thursday.
It's been more than 12 weeks between deliveries.
They delivered 238 gallons.
That's more than 500 LESS gallons of oil this year
The first year with a pellet stove, using 4.5 tons of pellets and using 1.5 tons of bio-bricks in the woodstove, will save me about $3000 in heating cost compared to last year.
I should have done this a decade ago. I might have had the money for a new motorcycle if I did.
Our new stove will be installed in our new house just in time to not be able to use it.
Had a couple of interesting backfires from shutting down the draft too early...that was fun.
We have been warm - light the fire in AM and add no more wood, let burn out - we just need to de-chill the cabin this week. Hopefully it will snow some more and get cold again.
I've become infatuated with...elm wood.
Yeah, elm wood: it burns REALLY hot, holds coals seemingly forever, it's easy on the stovepipe, and it's readily available from a tree trimmer I know. The downsides are LOTS of ash and a real mess of bark & dust as a byproduct of splitting it. The smoke also smells like ass.
I assume your using a woodsplitter to split the elm? I haven't split any by hand so I can't say from experience, but everyone always says how hard elm is to split by hand. The fibers in the tree "criss cross" as they grow so there is no straight grain.
Elm is often referred to as "Piss Elm" because it smells like piss as it burns. Maybe you have the less common "ass elm"?
No way I'd try to split that elm by hand-- Honda & hydraulic all the way unless I'm camping. The grain looks reasonably straight, but it works the splitter pretty hard.
As for the stench, it smells like hair burning on an old tire.
Elm ?? You have Elm - My corner of the country - NE, PA & upstate NY - lost most all of its Elm due to disease. Distinctive Elm tree shape used to be a common sight, almost a trademark of the country side. Gone probably 40 to 50 years -- legendary in its resistance to splitting. Old timers had a lot of special uses for it just for that reason. Never heard much about burning it, before the days of power wood splitters.
Maul and wedges were the order of the day - family had a sizable wood fired maple syrup operation when I was a kid. Talk about an appetite for wood.
Oh yes-- plenty of elm trees to the point that they're considered "weed trees" by many. They propagate like mad and are hard to kill because the stumps sprout suckers & keep on growing. Cared for & trimmed right they make a perfectly good landscape tree, in my opinion.
Dutch Elm Disease got them here - American Elm. Yes a beauty of a tree, tall inverted vase shape is distinctive, used to be a hallmark of small town streets.
There's something I don't understand in your maths.
Maine average cash price for heating oil/gallon right now is 3.73$
500 less gallons * 3.73$ = 1865$
Add the pellets and the stove cost to this and you'll see why I don't understand myself how you can save 3k$. Or I'm a perfect idiot and there's something I don't know or understand?
Do you plan to save some more gallons 'till the end of winter? Even then, you have to factor the pellets price. It's what, 260$/ton? ~1200$ then? Add this to the oil saving and I still can't see where you can save 3000$.
Elm is one I stay away from...........impossible to split and like a steel pipe in the stove even with lots of combustion air.
The piss wood at least around these parts is red oak and it really only smells bad when fresh split and stacked. I'll take this and ash wood as my favorites.
Here is how we should all remember our firewood's:
Beechwood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year,
Chestnuts only good they say,
If for logs tis laid away.
Make a fire of Elder tree,
Death within your house will be;
But ash new or ash old,
Is fit for a queen with crown of gold
Birch and fir logs burn too fast
Blaze up bright and do not last,
it is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould,
Een the very flames are cold
But ash green or ash brown
Is fit for a queen with golden crown
Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke,
Apple wood will scent your room
Pear wood smells like flowers in bloom
Oaken logs, if dry and old
keep away the winters cold
But ash wet or ash dry
a king shall warm his slippers by.