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Amount of Wood Burned per Day

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by byQ, May 31, 2013.

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  1. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Happy to help, (with the splitter at least). Better to start a new post in Gear, or PM me.

    On the wood, I'm sure that I burn a lot less than many here because we're in a pretty moderate climate. I'm probably about 2 cords/year, maybe a bit more. That's why I'm curious about the OP's situation.

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  2. byQ

    byQ Member

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    Sprinter,
    I grew up on the Southern Oregon coast, lumber capital, USA. Temperature in winter was 45F & temperature in summer 70F. The ocean acts as the biggest thermal mass possible keeping temperatures moderate. Tons of Doug Fir but in such a mild climate no real need to heat with wood. Now, I live in the desert-y part of southern Idaho. Winters drop down into the 0F to 10F (lows) and summers have many days over 100F. The air is thin (not humid) in this Rocky Mountain climate and rain is scarce. Trees are not aplenty like the rest of Idaho. Last winter temps got very cold, down to -10 to -20F for about 3 weeks.

    The house I'm building (myself) is small, 1300 Sq Feet. It is passive solar - lots of south facing windows. I'm incorporating an envelope on the the south side that will have a black painted thermal mass interior (cinder block walls) to collect radiant heat from the sun (like a masonry heater, another thermal mass collecting heat to radiate outward). I'm going with those insulated concrete forms for the walls - large styrofoam tinker toys filled with concrete, and a semi-cathedral ceiling.

    I want a masonry heater but probably don't need one. I have the masonry heater association's plans and haven't decided between the small contraflow design (they say it heats up to 1000 sq feet) or the medium/large contraflow design (better plan details). I'm thinking of doing the large design and minimalizing it (reducing thermal mass by having no bench, no oven, using bricks as shiners for shell (bricks laid sideways) and shortening the top). The house design and insulation favor the small masonry heater, but the medium MH door I already have and the large super duty firebricks (9'x6'x3") favor the large MH design. I guess I can fire it every few days if it is over sized for the house and just full-burn less wood. Cost-wise the small or large MH aren't much different since I already have too many fire bricks and common bricks. The larger one will just take up a couple of feet more floor space.
  3. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Quite a climate change for you. My stepson went from Bandon to Mountain Home (and then back to Bandon).

    Sounds like an exciting project. With that size house, well insulated, augmented with passive solar, you're not likely to need too much in terms of BTU/day. Are these MH's rated in terms of BTU/hr or something like that? If oversized, can you burn small loads without compromising it's proper operational characteristics?

    I still think you would be better served with a good quality freestanding stove centrally located, but I won't beat you up about it if you're decided. Just be aware that once built, you're really committed. If you find that it's not what you expected it to be for you, it will be hard to reverse. I'd also advise you not to get too hung up about all this efficiency stuff. That's really the least important difference between a MH and a modern conventional stove.

    In any case, good luck with the house. Take pictures and keep us advised as you go along.
    alforit likes this.
  4. Auzzie Gumtree

    Auzzie Gumtree Feeling the Heat

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    I think i have seen something like this in some R rated movies - they always end up in bed .............;)
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    There's no free lunch. The masonry heater doesn't bring any energy to the party. The heat storage and release quality is the only significant benefit and with modern long burning stoves (40 hours+ on one fill) that benefit is not really special anymore.

    With 1300 SF and a highly variable temperature environment, I would still recommend freestanding stove.

    If you do install the MH then please show us the project and let us all know how it works out. You never know, it may be a situation where you get all the benefits of a long burn cat stove but no worry about cat elements, or ugly steel stoves. Masonry is certainly nice to look at.
  6. byQ

    byQ Member

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    I disagree. Masonry heaters appear to be superior. People who have owned top of the line wood stoves and masonry heaters have given masonry heaters the nod. People who make their lives calling the study of wood burning technology give masonry heaters the nod. They say top of the line wood stoves are good but not excellent. Masonry heaters are excellent. They all pretty much hit the same points,
    * a better quality of heat, gentler & less dust
    * using less wood
    * less overall work in heating their house
    * no worry about smoke in the house
    * attractive central piece
    * and they will last a very long time

    Cost and weight are the two big turnoffs, and I have solved both of these problems. Weight - I'm doing new construction so just going with a slab. In the spot where the masonry heater goes I'll need to go down 12 inches instead of 4 inches (~3 extra yards concrete, extra $50).

    Overall cost for me will be $1200+ (as already detailed). I read several old posts from this site and it sounds like if masonry heaters cost less than $10k a lot of wood burners would go for them. It is kind of unbelievable that I can build one for less than a new wood stove.
  7. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Why? I could build a wood stove for less than you can build a masonry heater.
    PapaDave likes this.
  8. byQ

    byQ Member

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    Bart,
    How much can you build a wood stove for? What do you build it out of? What kind of efficiency can you get from your stove? If you could build one, a good one, for $500, I'm sure a lot of ears would be listening.
  9. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Fire up the welder and make it out of steel. I will know just as much about how efficient it is when I am done or if it is a "good one" as you will about your homemade masonry heater.
    fox9988 likes this.
  10. byQ

    byQ Member

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    I'm following building plans that have their origins from Finland - called a contraflow. This proven design has been in use for several centuries so I think it will work just fine.
  11. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I would walk over to my stove, that tested cleaner burning than any other large firebox non-cat stove ever EPA tested, with a tape measure. The one delivered to my house for $649 total.

    Build your heater. Believe in your heater. Love your heater. But you will never know how efficient it is. Ever.
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  12. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    You seem convinced and will ride that ship wherever it may take you. I hope it works out and that you report back.

    I too can put together a wood stove for very low money. I think the barrel kits are still under 50$.
    fox9988 likes this.
  13. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Can you cite specifics? What people? Specifically what was stated in "the nod"?

    Masonry heaters are superior in some regards, wood stoves in others.
  14. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    I want to know how your getting 3 yards of concrete for $50. It's $80 a yard here.
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  15. byQ

    byQ Member

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    Oddly enough I read right here on Hearth.com. It looks like this masonry heater stuff has been a topic here over the years. I "recalled" a masonry heater thread from 4 years ago (it's right here on the first page - Masonry Heaters). There are some of the posters who actually own masonry heaters). There is one, Martin Strand III who has owned both - see post #41. And in my search I found a couple of older posts (prior to 2008) and they pretty much stated the same thing (I think they are out dated, I couldn't reply). These owners are good enough sources for me.

    Yes there are some areas where wood stoves get the nod,
    * they are transportable
    * they heat things up quicker (so better than a MH in a weekend cabin, or for someone who isn't home each day (like a traveler)
    * they are better in a manufactured home (MH too heavy)
    * wood stoves easier to pull out and sell (upgrade) - once MH in place that is it
    * some people like to 'work the fire' all day instead of just having a 2-3 hour fire once a day
    * also in an older house with poor insulation a wood stove might outperform a masonry heater (convection - air heat - of a wood stove travels better than radiant heat)
  16. byQ

    byQ Member

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    6' x 6' x 8" = how much extra concrete I need. Convert to yards and multiply? 2yd x 2yd x .22yd = .88 yds so, .88 x $80 = $70.40 (+ some rebar).
    Sorry, I haven't worked with concrete for a while.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    continued...
    * Better fire view over a longer period of time
    * Many more placement options
    * Unless one is homebrewing, less expensive. Typical MH systems are $5-15K. A 30NC installed with a 16ft straight up stack would be about $2.5K.
    * Easier to bank down or shut off (like if the weather changed and it got warmer outside)
    * Easier to inspect and clean?
  18. byQ

    byQ Member

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    And because a wood stove burns cooler you'll have more of this to do. And because you have to constantly "play with things" to get the heat you want - that will cause more inefficient burning, too. Masonry heater has one setting - 100% full throttle until burn complete.[/quote]

    The easier to bank down/shut off is a good one that I forgot about.
  19. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    What "play with things"? In cold weather I load the 30-NC twice a day and may adjust the air twice settling it in. On moderate days I fire it twice a day with small loads and let it burn down. People here with Blaze King cat stoves load it, set it and forget it for 24 hours. And there ain't one dang thing convective about the 30-NC. All radiant.

    Somebody is comparing old Finnish masonry heaters with old Finnish wood stoves.
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  20. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    "Masonry heater has one setting - 100% full throttle until burn complete."
    Yep, that's pretty dang efficient.!!!

    You must be talking about those guys that need to fill the stove every 24 hours...constantly fussing with it and stuff. Uh huh.
    Can't wait to get your full report once your wondrous MH is complete, replete with cost. Seriously, this will be fun. We expect pics, of course.
    Every last bricks worth.:cool:
    popcorn.gif
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  21. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    I work with concrete fairly regularly.. I got the "3 yards" from YOUR post, not mine.
  22. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    THe only way any stove can be 100% efficient would have a flue temp of about 75 deg. You will need a much hotter flue temp to both draft, and to keep creosote from forming.
  23. byQ

    byQ Member

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    It sounds like I need to check out the Blaze King. I've heard some good things about it.

    Here is another comment on masonry heaters (German Stoves), by Mark Twain (warning, Twain doesn't mince his words),

    "Take the German stove, for instance ... Where can you find it outside of German countries? I'm sure I have never seen it where German was not the language of the region. Yet it is by long odds the best stove and the most convenient and economical that has yet been invented.

    To the uninstructed stranger it promises nothing; but he will soon find that it is a masterly performer, for all that. It has a little bit of door that seems foolishly out of proportion to the rest of the edifice; yet the door is right; for it is not necessary that bulky fuel shall enter it. Small-sized fuel is used and marveously little at that. The door opens into a tiny cavern which could not hold more than a baby could fetch in its arms. The process of firing is quick and simple. On a cold morning, at half past seven, the servant brings a small basket of slender pine sticks - say a modified armful - and puts half these in, lights them with a match, and closes the door. They burn out in ten or twelve minutes. He then puts in the rest and locks the door, and carries off the key. The work is done he will not come again until next morning.

    All day long and until past midnight all parts of the room will be delightfully warm and comfortable, and there will be no headaches or no sense of closeness and oppression. In an American room whether heated by steam, hot water, or open fires, the neighborhood of the register or fireplace is the warmest - the heat is not equally diffused throughout the room; but in a German room one is as comfortable in one part of it as another. Nothing is gained or lost by being near the stove. Its surface is not hot; you can put your hand on it anywhere and not get burnt.

    Consider these things. One firing is enough for the day; the cost is next to nothing; the heat produced is the same all day, instead of too hot and too cold by turns; one may absorb himself in his business and peace; he does not need to feel any anxieties or solicitudes about his fire; his whole day is a realized dream of bodily comfort.

    America could adopt this stove, but does America do it? The American wood stove, of whatsoever breed, it is a terror. There can be no tranquility of mind where it is. It requires more attention than a baby. It has to be fed every little while, it has to be watched all the time; and for all reward you are roasted half your time and frozen the other half. It warms no part of the room but its own part; it breeds headaches and suffocation, and makes one's skin feel dry and feverish; and when your wood bill comes in you think you have been supporting a volcano.

    We have in America many and many a breed of coal stove also - fiendish things, everyone of them. The base burner sort are heady and but require little attention; but none of them distributes its heat uniformly through the room, or keeps it at an unwavering temperature, or fails to take the life out of the atmosphere and leave it stuffy and smothery and stupefying......."

    From Europe and Elsewhere, Mark Twain
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  24. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Sammy Clemens would have marveled at a modern EPA stove's performance. A Hearthtone Equinox would have knocked his scratchy socks off.

    Quit typing and get to building. We wanna see this sucker.
  25. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    [/quote]
    Modern EPA woodstoves burn hot. THey have to in order to burn all the flue gasses at a minimum of 1100 deg and up. My stove has a ceramic reburn chamber cuz even cast iron wont take the high temps for long. The only advantage i can see with a masonry wood heater is heat storage which you could probably do more efficiently with a wood gasifier boiler and insulated water storage tanks. which are bocomeing quite popular for larger setups these days.
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