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

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

  1. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass The AntiHarley

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    I cut our own wood here on our property, so I know what my costs are. (My time is cheap.)
    I've always wondered what kind of payback there was with buying a pellet stove, pipe, and pellets at whatever the market may charge. I assume they all go out if the power does? Considering you still have the labor of buying, hauling, stacking, and loading the pellets, is it really worth it? I't's certainly less work than what I do. Just wondering...
  2. Dave

    Dave Huh?

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    Huh. My Jotul 3 sits in the mouth of my fireplace, and my Sharp LCD big screen sits above the mantle. I regularly have both fired up without any problems at all.
    Granted, I don't run the stove full blast. If I did, the room would get uncomfortably warm. I also have a ceiling fan in the room which I usually turn on low to help distribute the heat to other rooms.

    The TV will probably take the heat better than you believe it will. I've watched TV with the temps well into the 90s in the summer, and it was OK. My living room doesn't get nearly that hot in the winter with the stove on.
  3. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Banned

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    I live in a city, while there is wood in the national forests, I would have to buy a truck or a trailer to tow behind the SUV. 100 mile round trip to get to the good wood, then finding a place to stack, cover, dry, etc., the wood on property, as well as keeping the stove stocked when we may be away for long periods.

    Pellet stoves are kind of a set and forget situation. Fill them up every now and then. Pellets come in nice, easy to manage bags and can be stored one ton at a time in a corner of the garage. Power is a concern, but we do have generator backup. For us (that being the key factor) it is a better solution to wood. If I lived in the woods, not so much.

    I seem to remember pellets going for around $100/ton. No idea how long that lasts, but our power bill was $280 last month and most of that was electric heat. So I want to investigate if it will work for us and do something by next winter.
  4. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Banned

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    Thanks for that. It would be exactly the same situation in our home.
  5. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass The AntiHarley

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    $280/ month for electric! I understand much better now.
    I see Dave's point about the TV. I guess that I'd have to agree. Besides, our skylights can be -20 on one side and probably 100 only 1/2 inch away. That's asking a lot of a seal that's stuck in the sun everyday. I'm not saying 100 in the room, but near that up in the skylight well above the stove. Our ceiling fan doesn't move the air in there too much.
  6. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Banned

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    I have another option I just looked at and that would be a projector. Went by the theater store and they are pretty cost effective up against the larger LCD or Plasma TV's, and I can build my own screen with drywall and special paint. Then it does not matter how hot the stove was, within reason.

    Pretty impressed with the picture quality on a $2k projector and a 110" screen.
  7. Nailhead

    Nailhead Free at last!

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    Sure enough; no power, no pellet feed to the combustion chamber, no heat. This and the availability of firewood was a deal-breaker for me.
  8. Manuel Garcia O'Kely

    Manuel Garcia O'Kely Back at last

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    We don't get free wood, and even heat circulation is an issue, so we now go both ways. Wood stove and pellet stove. Each has advantages, and if you buy fuel, the pellet is working out to about a buck a day, maybe buck fifty tops. I bought 11 - 40 lb bags of pellets Dec 6 and I have burned 7 bags since then. In roughly the same period, burned not quite a cord of stove wood, pine mostly. It's been a mild winter.

    When the power goes out (has not happened yet this year) wood stove wins hands down. And, our wood stove is twice as powerful as the pellet stove, so when real heat is needed, well, you know who to call on.

    Wood heat is really nice to use, and our cabin is much warmer than our big house with a central furnace.
  9. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    You can run a pellet stove on a 300 watt genny.

    I have both a pellet and wood stove. I'll burn maybe 45-50 bags of pellets and about 3 cords of wood. Neither are going full time, more like when I get home from work at 4pm and all weekend. I'll still spend a 1000 bucks in electricity during winter.

    in Nova Scotia wood is 250 for a hardwood chord, pellets are 5 bucks+15% sales tax, and electricity is over 13 cents per KWH.
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  10. red450

    red450 WEE-A-BOO

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    Is your firewood seasoned properly? From the looks of the "glass", it either has a high moisture content or you're letting the fire smolder.

    Pick up a moisture meter ($10 @ HF) if you don't have one. Split a piece of wood and see if it's below 20% mc. A stove top thermometer helps a lot too. If you have any questions, PM me.

    I struggled with our wood stove the first year because of unseasoned wood.


    Here's our Century stove with a small fire. I had just refinished it and had to cure the paint.

    [​IMG]
  11. gremor

    gremor RS'er

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    I started using these this winter and it cuts down on the amount or fire wood I have burned so far.

    2/3 firewood 1/3 bioblocks

    [​IMG]
  12. red450

    red450 WEE-A-BOO

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    How's the heat output on those? I haven't seen the biologs for sale around here, are they worth the cash?
  13. gremor

    gremor RS'er

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    Heat output is better than the firewood and burns to nothing as far as ash.

    I get them for $160.00 a ton (I pick-up) and have gone thru about 1/3rd of them so far.

    They work good to "bank" a fire overnight til morning.
  14. red450

    red450 WEE-A-BOO

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    Nice, looks like I have some shopping to do! I put a few pieces from oak pallets (about 4"x4") in the back of stove, it leaves me a nice coal bed for the morning.
  15. Tobz

    Tobz Ne'er-du-well

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    I found my Vermont Castings on craigslist years ago. It had definitely seen better days..

    [​IMG]

    It got dismantled , sandblasted, and repainted. Needed a few replacment parts, but they were easy to find.

    [​IMG]

    I've run a LOT of wood through it since!

    [​IMG]
  16. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

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    Nice :clap

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  17. red450

    red450 WEE-A-BOO

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    Very nice! I had to refinish my stove as well. I really like your recessed hearth pad. Very cool.
  18. Cirrus

    Cirrus Adventurer

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    Right you are. I had a problems getting wood delivered this summer and it didn't show up until late October. My previous attempts at creating heat with this stove weren't great. Christmas day I fired it up to warm the downstairs area for guests. The wood I used was quite a bit drier than before. By the time we were finished supper, the entire house was warm enough that the wood furnace shut off and went out.

    That little stove warmed up the entire house. All it needed was drier wood. I'm throughly impressed.

    [​IMG]
  19. red450

    red450 WEE-A-BOO

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    Glad your stove is keeping you toasty.

    Check out http://www.woodheat.org/ for a lot of good tips and tricks.
  20. IDScarecrow

    IDScarecrow Long timer

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    Someone in another thread asked me to post here about my Tulikivi. I didn't post when I first saw this thread as it wasn't a "wood stove" and the idea isn't exactly new.

    The idea is that it is neither a stove nor a fireplace, but a "masonry heater." The unit is a large mass of soapstone with a convoluted flue. You burn a hot, relatively short fire to heat up all the soapstone, and then the soapstone radiates heat over an extended time.

    So here it is freshly installed:

    [​IMG]

    And here it is in use:

    [​IMG]

    Ours is the 2200 series with optional top-venting. It weighs around 2.5 tons with the built-in benches. When it is cold I burn in it for about 2.5 hours in the morning, and it heats our approximately 1400 sq foot main floor very well for the day. The stones are still warm to the touch when I build a fire the next morning. On very cold days I will build a second fire in the evening.

    The heat is somewhat different from a traditional woodstove - it is less immediate, more diffuse, and much longer lasting. I really like it, though it does also have some disadvantages. Some days when the sun comes out the temp in the house really goes up, and I can't "shut off" the Tulikivi after I have built the fire. That's ok, as I can always open windows. Somewhat more annoying is the time lag from building a fire to warmth. A woodstove will give you immediate results; since the Tulikivi is heating all that stone, it doesn't warm the room nearly as quickly.

    We really like the Tulikivi, and sitting on the bench with one's back against the warm stone is the most popular place in the house on a cold winter evening.