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MIKE123
05-16-2007, 12:31 PM
The heating season is done and all I bought was 16 gallons of propane!
I recently installed an indoor coal and wood boiler. What a treat!
I cut about 10 cords of wood and didn't get to burn any of it (too wet)
So I bought 3 tons of coal and burned that. Took a long time to get used to it but after a couple of weeks I only had to feed it every 12 hours.
It is looped into my existing propane boiler and if the fire goes out the propane kicks in. It's a little extra work that will save me thousands! If you have the time I suggest doing it! It will pay itself of in 2 years.
Harman SF 260 130,000 btu's
It also heats my domestic water.
this year I will be buring wood. more tending but much cheaper!

jimbo
05-16-2007, 04:09 PM
Well, I am happy for you but perhaps you need to see Al Gore about some carbon offsets.

Seriously, switching to wood or coal in light of environmental issues is really questionable. Industrial plants can use scrubbers for coal burners, but I assume a home plant has none of that.

leejosepho
05-16-2007, 07:08 PM
I believe pellet stoves (with varieties of fuels, including corn) are more acceptable as alternative heat sources, but I do not know their actual environmental impacts.

jadnashua
05-16-2007, 07:23 PM
Some of the heating appliances have catalytic converters available for the flues. Not sure how useful or effective they are. Those on pellet stoves seem to be pretty good. Wonder how much, if any, maintenance they require.

After awhile, wood smoke is very annoying, and can give some people real health problems. They can really mess with local air quality.

MIKE123
05-17-2007, 04:19 AM
As for global warming, after having a physics class, I find it hard to believe we are the cause
"Warmest temps in 30 years"
30 years is less then a blink of an eye in the timeline of the world.
The world has seen it all.
Besides that. I doubt my shovel or two of coal is something you can compare to the tons and tons of coal a power plant burns in a day.
My "carbon footprint" is minimal.
My fuel source (wood) is renewable.

sorry if I touched a nerve.

I thought this might start a conversation on how wonderful it is not to be dependent on an oil source.

mike

jimbo
05-17-2007, 06:59 AM
Not trying to pick on you. My only point is that your neighbors get to smell and breath whatever is coming out of your chimney.

I grew up in a small town, and have great memories of the smell of burning leaves in the air....all during the fall months. Everyone had a pile out on the curb and it smoldered continuously. We now know that those burn piles are what made the air so smoggy and gray, and folks are not allowed to burn leaves anymore.

Sure, a few lucky folks can move out to the north forty and live like they please. But there is not room in the north forty for the other million people who happen to live nearby. It's a new world, Charlie Brown!

leejosepho
05-17-2007, 01:48 PM
My "carbon footprint" is minimal.
My fuel source (wood) is renewable.

sorry if I touched a nerve.

No offense taken here, yet surely you can see Jimbo's point.


I thought this might start a conversation on how wonderful it is not to be dependent on an oil source.

Point taken, and, we agree! However, my wife's asthma precludes my own house from anything (or any neighborhood) but the most breathing-friendly kind we can find.

jimbo
05-17-2007, 03:04 PM
OK, glad to see we are keeping this on a friendly level. No one is trying to gore anyone's ox. Thank you!

MY humble opinion is that like it or not, we ARE dependent on oil for now. There is no amount of coal or wood which could replace the oil we use, and especially not cleanly on a small scale operation. MY firm belief is we need to go back nuclear. ( WHOA,. that should stir up some debate!)

The issues of spent fuel disposal must be dealt with, but are no more dangerous or challenging than the smog and supply issues involving oil. Since hydrogen fuel cells appear promising for cars, we have to remember how much electricity we will need to make the hydrogen!

Just my humble opionion on this issue.

leejosepho
05-17-2007, 03:40 PM
MY firm belief is we need to go back nuclear ...

Or, we could all move to tropical islands and eat fruit while sitting in the shade under a few solar panels used to power electronics.

Personally, I live on the edge of a city with its own hydro-electric generation system, and I believe we should employ solor, wind, water and human power (walking and pedaling) just as much as we possibly can.

jimbo
05-17-2007, 08:53 PM
... and I believe we should employ solor, wind, water and human power (walking and pedaling) just as much as we possibly can.

Can't argue with that!

Cass
05-18-2007, 03:39 AM
In the immortal words of the ex president of the USA, it was the first time I had ever heard it pronounced that way, I am in agreement with jimbo.

Nuclar

Whos old enough to know who I am talking about?

Cass
05-18-2007, 03:52 AM
One type of heat that is fairly new and seems promising is concentrated solar heat.

Tracker83
05-18-2007, 05:56 AM
I'm with Mike123 on this one. I installed an outdoor wood boiler prior to last heating season. The boiler heats the house, garage, and domestic hot water. I used 80 gallons of propane from Oct. 1 through May 1, but my propane is still used for the oven/range and clothes dryer. Without the wood boiler I would have used 1,000+ gallons of propane during that same time frame. By the way, Al Gore should like wood burning. Burning wood is carbon neutral. The amount of carbon emissions is the same as if the wood were to decompose. That being said burning wood isn't for everybody, and I am in favor of almost ALL alternative energy sources.

leejosepho
05-18-2007, 01:44 PM
In the immortal words of the ex president of the USA ...

Nuclar

Whos old enough to know who I am talking about?

Eisenhower sent me a get-well card when I was about seven or eight, but I actually do not recall ever hearing any president say that word *correctly*.

leejosepho
05-18-2007, 01:47 PM
Burning wood is carbon neutral. The amount of carbon emissions is the same as if the wood were to decompose.

I had never before heard that, but that is believable since wood is so readily available to just about anyone just about anywhere.

jadnashua
05-18-2007, 03:33 PM
It may be carbon neutral, but often can produce a huge amount of irritants, including ash, that can be a problem. In Colorodo, they often have bans because the air quality gets really bad. Some areas in the mountains are prone to temperature inversions, and the basin just fills up with unhealthy air.

Being self sufficient is a nice goal, but I'd rather see a cleaner method. Solar, wind, even water if you have a suitable stream would be preferred. Ground source heat pumps are quite efficient as well. A house actually carefully built to optimize efficiency - well sealed, good insulation, properly sited to take advantage of available heat and taking into account the prevailing winds, properly designed and executed overhangs to shelter windows in the summer, etc., all don't take much other than planning and can make a huge impact.

Cookie
05-18-2007, 03:54 PM
Just a guess, Cass, the peanut farmer? lol.

Cass
05-18-2007, 05:54 PM
Yes it was the peanut farmer, Jimmy "the peanut" Carter.

alternety
05-19-2007, 03:04 PM
There are some wood boilers that use short very intense fires and use water in a tank to store the heat. They are very clean burners. This would be my choice using renewable fuel. I have looked into coal but I have not found feasible sources of supply. A fast burn and store coal fired boiler would be interesting. Not carbon neutral, but better than oil. Oil kills. Just check the latest casualty reports from the gulf.

Many wood burning appliances produce a lot of smoke because of things like wet wood, low temperature fires, people adjusting the air supply to control heating rate, etc.

Catalytic smoke processors are useful. I used a fireplace insert with a catalytic converter on it to heat my house for several years. When it is working it really cleans up the smoke and very noticeably increases the heat recovered in the insert. But it does not work below a certain ,and rather high, temperature. This results in smoke at the beginning and end of a burn.

I agree with starting to build more nukes, but it must be a safe and STANDARD design to control cost. There are reactors that can not melt down because of their design. Disposal of waste seem to have too much of a political component.

master plumber mark
05-19-2007, 03:11 PM
Tracker 83..

I have heard pros and cons about a wood boiler...

things like it can smoke up the neighborhood, ect..

and use a ton of wood ect.


how wel did you really do with it...






as far as going back to nukes...for energy
it sounds fine till one finally bites the dust somewhere
due to an earthquake, or whatever..and that will probably
happen someday....



but I suppose as long as it last another 30 years
it wont be my problem anymmore...


thats about how you got to think about it I guess...

any other way and we would all be chopping wood....




.

Tracker83
05-22-2007, 02:31 PM
Tracker 83..
I have heard pros and cons about a wood boiler...
things like it can smoke up the neighborhood, ect...I purchased a model with forced air injection (instead of natural draft). When the blower is off you can only see a few whisps of smoke coming from the chimney. When the blower turns on it does smoke for a few minutes, then after that the fire becomes so hot that you literally can not see ANY smoke coming from the chimney. That being said, I don't think they are appropriate in a "residential" suburban-type settings. I am out in farm country, and the only neighbor I have is a few hundred feet to the west side of my property. Also, burning good seasoned hardwood seems to make a big difference. I noticed that when I burned junk wood that it would smoke a little more than normal. I have also observed that the cheaper boilers seem to be more smokey than the higher-quality units.



and use a ton of wood ect.I burned 12 full cords of wood from 10/1 through 5/1. About 2/3rds of that was poor quality "junk" wood (mostly box elder), and 1/3rd was high quality seasoned oak. Had I burned exclusively oak I probably wouldn't have burned anywhere near 12 cords. I filled the stove once per day except when it was really cold (below 20F for a high) then I would fill it twice. Keep in mind that I am also heating 900 sq. ft. of garage at 55F, my domestic hot water, and keeping the house at 73F.



how wel did you really do with it...I did fairly well with it. I estimated that I saved about $2,200 in propane, and the wood was all free.

Dunbar Plumbing
05-22-2007, 06:56 PM
I thought this might start a conversation on how wonderful it is not to be dependent on an oil source.

mike


You WAS dependent on an oil source.

Every time you fueled your chainsaw, used oil for the chain and burned gas to get to and fro to get that wood, along with what the log splitter gulped........you probably spent more and contributed to ozone depletion at a greater level.

I talk from a great deal of experience; grew up/raised in a house with a wood burner stove.

It's dirty, it's dangerous, it invites insects and the labor from the woods to that stove door is effing ridiculous.

Those who turn a knob on a wall are more efficient of conserving fuel by owning a house that is efficient and sips the energy....not waste it through bad windows/siding/doors.

Running a chainsaw is as bad as lawnmower when talking about the introduction of carbon.

Been 14 years away from wood, glad of it. Let the non-believers continue thier hard time labor LOL!!!

leejosepho
05-22-2007, 07:49 PM
I purchased a model with forced air injection ...
Also, burning good seasoned hardwood seems to make a big difference.

I know nothing about types of wood, but I had a cousin who heated with wood for many years, and he was definitely very picky about what he burned. I do not know whether he had an air injection burner, but he did have a high-quality unit and he had no trouble with any of his residential-area neighbors.

MIKE123
05-23-2007, 04:15 AM
The only log splitter I ever used had a wooden handle
and a hunk of metal on the end.

You know what get's the fire burning fast and hot?

tires.:)

Rugged,

How does thousands of gallons of propane
compare to
-8 to 10 chainsaw refuels?
-a tank of diesel for the delivery
-and some diesel for what ever equipment brought those trees out of the woods?

Your logic is a little quirky.

Dunbar Plumbing
05-23-2007, 08:45 AM
The only log splitter I ever used had a wooden handle
and a hunk of metal on the end.

You know what get's the fire burning fast and hot?

tires.:)

Rugged,

How does thousands of gallons of propane
compare to
-8 to 10 chainsaw refuels? Definitely unrealistic
-a tank of diesel for the delivery How many trips in your vehicle to get wood?
-and some diesel for what ever equipment brought those trees out of the woods? you seem to think it's a cupful by your line of questioning

Your logic is a little quirky. And yours is a joke.


I say keep up with your attitude because you're the minority on that swing. Instead of spending it your working it and even though I appreciate the physical activity from woods to burner, I wasn't given the luxury of a log splitter unless we did a big cut. Aside from that it was either a steel wedge and a sledge, a splitting maul and worrying about chunks of metal flying off the wedges.

Cleaning the stove sucked along with the constant moving of wood from outside to inside, from field to truck, truck to home, home to stove. All of which you burned fuel to do it.

We did the math on what it cost in personal time, maintenance and purchase of two stihl chainsaws, oil, chains, fuel for the tractor, all the expenses involving that "Free labor" you're thinking it is. Needing a humidifier (large one) for the dry heat issue. <Those carbon filters were expensive and hard to clean.

The turn of the thermostat was cheaper by far and I wish I had more of my younger years spent doing other activities than the pipe dream my dad forced our family to go through. The only "positive" of that whole experience is it was a family experience. My sister and my mother was the ones who took the brush off the field to the gullies, my dad did all the cutting and I was the one who picked it up, took it to the wood saw driven off the PTO of the tractor and slowly stacked the truck to the gills, all to do it again back at the house. No thank you. GOOD LUCK


Get in good with a tree trimming company that'll drop wood off on your property and your logic has merit.

MIKE123
05-23-2007, 11:58 AM
I'm sorry,

I just don't see how a few weekends of manual labor along with the equipment and fuel can add up to my propane payment. Maybe you could post that math you wrote about and I can see the error of my ways. My math seems to show savings that will pay for the boiler, chimney, and installation within 2 years. I must be doing something wrong.
My wife is going to kill me!

Sincerely,

Young and Dumb

Dunbar Plumbing
05-23-2007, 12:39 PM
The "majority" cannot cut enough wood to last an entire heating season in just a "few" weekends.

The "majority" do not have a house whether it be size or efficiency no matter how many windows you plastic or how many rooms you seal off to conserve energy by.

I'm "aware" of new heating systems that use wood/coal to burn to produce heat along with hot water. Some of that being very efficient but still involves reliance to perform, daily and beyond. No programmable thermostat since the fuel is dictated by the way the wood burns *kind used* and is someone there to maintain it's optimum *full stoke* performance.

I "know" of trailers/mobile homes/junk on wheels that can heat an entire heating season on 80% fill of a propane tank, no gas stove, no gas water heater for around $750 at today's cost. People living in the trailer year round and those are not very efficient.

I'm someone who was raised in a home where unless complete renovation was done......thermal loss was as guaranteed as much as the sun rising.


Every 4 to 5 hours was the norm for the continual feeding to keep the efficiencey up on that stove. A pellet stove would win hand over fist in this situation on efficiency in this matter.

The "majority" don't live on a farm that can pull thier wood to gather from. Most times you know somebody, new construction creates huge wood gatherings where dozers pushed into a pile allowing the public to get as much as they want before it becomes a burn pile.

Pulling wood from those piles are extremely dangerous because most times some of those branches are strained/pulled into awkward positions and can spring when cut.....with a live chainsaw in your hands. If you've been around chainsaws enough....you'll experience a buck or a kickback soon enough.

Some wood dulls blades or your oiler quits working unnoticed (clogs) American elm is the hardest on chains along with splitting is a nightmare. Catalpa is the easiest to cut/easiest to split (one-handed) but you can't burn beyond it's seasoned time (won't burn). Catalpa burns extremely hot.

Ash is superior for burning and leaves very little ash in the end. Certain woods will have you cleaning that stove more than you care to......now you have a gathering of steel buckets accumulated with ash till spring....and are capable of staying hot for days.

How much you cut determines how much you work in the cold during the winter months. Sometimes you "have" to cut in the summer time if a close location yields wood. My neighbor is a heat and air man, has limited woods in the back yard, added a wood add-on stove. He saved money, but at the cost of no proper heat control (Hot off the bat and a gradual taper till you add more)

I know of a homeowner behind my property....has a house twice the size as mine, spent $6000 on coke bottle insulation in his walls and ceiling and his 98% gas furnace costs him around $100/month.....tops, including a gas cooktop used year round, along with a dryer. Family of 3.

No smoke, no "gathering" of fuel supply that takes gas/oil/fuel/equipment use.

If you are using "thousands" of gallons of propane as you mentioned, you dividing of the money you spend is just in smaller amounts, but you'll get tired of the routine like the majority do.

Wood/coal burning is filthy to those around you, especially on non-windy days. The efficiency of these furnaces made today are almost unmatched on both sides of the gammut. Especially high efficiency boiler systems with captive storage tank systems, insulated and multi-functional design. (Hot water and heating(

Your efforts would be better spent exploring geo-thermal designs using the core ground temperature as method without "gathering storing, stoking the fire" for constant heat.

You could always move to florida, no use for a tree other than to look at it. Kentucky sometimes has 5-6 month heating seasons. My neighbor got tired of stoking that fire after 4 months; sucks coming home to a cold house....staying cold for a couple hours till the system is back up and heated the structure.

A programmable thermostat/high efficiency furnace and well insulated home beats that all to hell, and being able to breathe outside without seeing the smoke haze.

geniescience
05-23-2007, 12:49 PM
Haven't read all posts yet, but I can confirm that modern woodburning stoves (pellet ones too) are efficient, so they turn out a lot more heat and do not rely on sucking in outside cold air to work. But, they do still pollute big time even though the chimney air may not look smoky. Still, I side with Rugged in avoiding wood or pellet stoves. The technology is just going to get better later, and the information about it too.

FWIW, for $45 I had a short cord delivered to my downtown condo at garage level; I brought it up the elevator in shopping cart sized batches and vacuumed up the dirt it left behind afterwards. Took a few hours. Since I only use the fireplace as an extra, that wood lasted several winters. It is messy even just to store the wood somewhere, and that is just "cosmetic".

david
edit: just read that last post simulposted. Very good analysis. I have cut my own wood too for years and I knew it was way more work and danger than could ever be worthwhile. So I am glad someone is willing to deliver a short cord to me for less than $50. It is true that a cold structure is the most disagreeable thing to live in while it gradually warms up, and that a wood stove or fireplace needs constant attention like a baby.

MIKE123
05-25-2007, 12:21 PM
thats it,
I am off burning wood and coal
now I am going to stuff my boiler with puppies and kittens.
not only will I heat my house, but it will smell like a bar-b-q all winter long!!