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Thread: alternate heating source

  1. #16
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    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.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  2. #17

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    Just a guess, Cass, the peanut farmer? lol.

  3. #18
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Yes it was the peanut farmer, Jimmy "the peanut" Carter.

  4. #19
    Like an engineer alternety's Avatar
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    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.

  5. #20
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking tracker 83 and your wood boiler

    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....




    .

  6. #21
    DIY Junior Member Tracker83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark
    Tracker 83..
    I have heard pros and cons about a wood boiler...
    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark
    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.


    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark
    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.


    Quote Originally Posted by master plumber mark
    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.

  7. #22
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKE123
    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!!!
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  8. #23
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tracker83
    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.

  9. #24

    Default Log splitter

    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.

  10. #25
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by Dunbar Plumbing; 05-23-2007 at 08:53 AM.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  11. #26

    Default Please clarify

    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

  12. #27
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Exclamation okay, last response

    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.
    Read what the end of this sentence means.

  13. #28
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    Default wood burning has made progress, but...

    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.
    Last edited by geniescience; 05-23-2007 at 12:59 PM.

  14. #29

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    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!!
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