1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Do you remember when.....

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by muncybob, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2,022
    Loc:
    Near Williamsport, PA
    you were new to this forum and maybe never(as I) burned wood before for heat or DHW? I would gleen over all the posts and wish I was one of those that seemed to be just gushing with pride about being fairly self sufficient and being able to sort of tell the oil or gas man where to shove it. For me this was just a few years ago that I came here and got my interest up in wood heat and was looking forward to the day that I too would be one of those happy people.
    Well, today I think I am one of the lucky ones and smile as I see "newbies" enter the forum and start their learning process. But, I get a bigger smile when I see the local lowest cost oil provider run an ad in our newspaper for their lower than the other guy's cash price on heating oil delivery. Right away my mind does the math on what that would have cost us per year as I have engrained into my mind how much oil per year we used to consume. I guess what I want to say is 2 things.....if you can accept the lifestyle change and money saved the sooner you take the plunge the better!...and I want to thank this forum and all the members that have guided me along my way. I still don't care much for winter but at least it's not as expensive as it once was :)
    pen, Gasifier and heaterman like this.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,239
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Happy as can be too Bob.

    Spent about 3 or 4 hours felling and twitching today. 20 cords ahead, and want another 10!

    JP
  3. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Messages:
    3,142
    Loc:
    St. Lawrence River Valley, N.Y.
    Your welcome Bob, anytime I can help. Oh, ;em wait a minute. I am just around two years on the forum. But I am that happy camper you are talking about! Oh, ;em wait. I burned in a wood stove for many years before the boiler purchase. :( But I am that happy camper ==c who is now heating everything with wood, including hot water! Yeaaaaa! And I think a thanks is in order for you and the all the guys in the boiler room who have been on here longer than I have. I got lots of information from you folks. Thanks guys.

    And good post Bob.
  4. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,983
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    As one who is still looking, do you guys find that tending the boiler is easier than the wood stove you might have had before?
  5. fahmahbob

    fahmahbob Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Messages:
    90
    Loc:
    South Central Mass
    Absolutely. Even without storage I only tend the boiler twice a day. I judge the load size based on the outdoor temps and the amount of sun expected. Back in my wood stove days (15 years of experience, not counting when I lived at home), even with a large firebox, I was tending the stove far more often than that. A wood stove doesn't regulate itself like a boiler can (which can sort of 'hibernate' when nothing is calling for heat).

    I loved my wood stoves. I REALLY love my wood boiler!
    711mhw likes this.
  6. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,782
    Loc:
    Southeastern Vt.
    I started burning a wood stove to heat my house in 1970. Before that I burned wood in our hunting camp from 1959 forward. Cabins and homes were more difficult to heat back then due to low building efficiency so I burned more wood. When I loaded the wood stove at 10:00 PM, that load was pretty much burned down by 2:00 AM and the house coasted until I shivered my way to the stove at 5:30 AM to re-load and get the fire crackling it order to produce some radiant that I could absorb in order to go back to a cold bathroom to shower and shave.

    So when people tell me that they burn less wood with a stove they're probably right but they are only heating part of the time. I like rising to a warm house in the morning.
    muncybob likes this.
  7. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,239
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Fred

    Good points. I guess what MOST people don't get is..

    1. Yes, I'm heating with wood.
    2. No, it's not like your wood stove.

    My thermostats keep the house at the exact setting I have. It's not 100 next to the stove, and 60 on the far side of the house. Same emitters I had for oil. In fact.. if I forget, or get lazy... nothing happens other than the system reverting back to oil to heat the loads. I wouldn't know the difference in the house unless I looked on my Ipad from bed to see what the tank temp is at.

    JP
  8. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2,022
    Loc:
    Near Williamsport, PA
    I never heated with a stove but I enjoy sitting near one esp. if it has glass doors. A friend had a stove in his basement and would leave the stairway door open for the heat to rise. It was too hot in the kitchen and it was a bit chilly in the bathroom. That's when I knew a stove for total heat wasn't for me. I still wish I had one just to cozy up to though.
  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,983
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    Do any of you guys still use a wood stove? It's kinda nice sitting by the warm stove (but not so nice upstairs, say).
  10. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    4,250
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    I would say no comparison there.

    I had a boiler for 17 years before the new one. I was a slave to it even though it was worlds ahead of a wood stove. Now I'm on another level all together. Depending on the boiler, I think even more 'ease of tending' gains could come from storage rather than boiler. With the right combination & layout of storage & boiler, a person could go a couple of days between burning and maintain an even & comfortable house temperature (and heat DHW) - I don't think there's any stove situation you could do anything close to that with. Having that potential just gives you so much flexibility in ease of tending.
  11. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,422
    Loc:
    Addison County, Vermont
    I'm in the same position. My biggest regret is that with all the research that I did about house design and construction, I didn't know about radiant heat, wood gasification, or heat storage when we built our house back in 1989. There are a bunch of things I would have done differently:

    1) Radiant heat on all levels
    2) Four 500 gallon storage tanks mounted vertically indoors (in wall between house and garage)
    3) Outside but connected insulated boiler room - access from indoors and from wood storage area (covered area behind garage - under extended garage roof)
    4) Heat pump to provide A/C by heating storage in summer (preheats DHW)
    5) Mount DHW tank on main floor so solar panels can heat directly by thermosiphoning
    6) Propane tankless water heater for backup heat
  12. fahmahbob

    fahmahbob Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Messages:
    90
    Loc:
    South Central Mass
    We made accommodations for a wood stove in our new house - put in a hearth and separate flue - but after running without one for a full year now, we really haven't missed it. My wife and daughters really like it warm, so the house is always 75+. It was nice to have the wood stove when some rooms were 65 - you had a place to go warm up. We simply don't need one anymore. As much as I really liked watching the fire and all, the extra cost and work isn't worth it to me. I never thought I'd say that...
  13. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Messages:
    3,142
    Loc:
    St. Lawrence River Valley, N.Y.
    I do miss watching the fire through the glass door in the Pacific Energy Super 27. Still have it for back up. I think eventually I am going to install it with it's own chimney at the other end of the basement. Then I won't need to disconnect the gassification boiler in order to hook up the wood stove.
  14. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Messages:
    534
    Loc:
    Maine
    You bet. On a really cold night or after I spent the day out in the cold I fire up my old trusty parlor stove. Usually I load up the boiler then bring an arm load of wood and get the stove going.

    When you are cold and tired there's nothing better then sitting by the wood stove. Kind of funny, I'll get the room up to 75+ degrees and just love it, that's with how many layers on. In the summer I would be turning the AC on sitting in shorts. :)

    Oh and that parlor stove and the cook stove used to "heat" my whole house. Heat is in quotes for obvious reasons!

    K
  15. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,782
    Loc:
    Southeastern Vt.
    One more thing! I always had my wood stove in the room I spent the most time in, downstairs rec room in one house and family room in another. One hour in those rooms and I was snoring. That's after I had stripped off most of my clothes.
  16. I sold my jotul before the last cold snap. Hadn't been used in two years. And was oversized for the room, was trying to heat the whole house with the stove and strategically placed fans. Great stove but was never happy with 85 in the living room and 58 in the bedroom.
  17. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,061
    Loc:
    Upstate NY
    My wife and I are still fighting the insulation/draft stopping battle after adding the boiler, so we are heating cheaper, but still not amazingly warm yet. We are talking about getting a pellet stove to put in the front rooms of the house, just to take the chill off on nasty days, and to have the fire to watch. Its nice that they can get sidewall vented, and for the cost of a few bags of pellets it might make for a nice addition.

    Now if I had to do it all over again, and was building from scratch, I would consider the whole russian fireplace idea.....
  18. KenLockett

    KenLockett Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    217
    Loc:
    Eastern Upstate NY
    Scott, is it safe to assume you guys have a drafty older house? Just for your info, we have an almost 200 year old colonial farmhouse and this summer I added blow in insulation to the rear wall of my coldest room. Made an enormous difference. For many years we were not amazingly warm but for the first time we are toasty. I think my main project this summer is to blow in insulation in all the exterior walls. Easy to do it yourself and the blow in stuff fills absolutely all voids. Have maintained the house between 70-72 DegF this winter and have burned only about 3 cords of wood so far this year in my gassifier. On the absolute coldest days I light the fireplace insert and perfectly augments the boiler. It is nice to have a visual fire and in my coldest room I can get temps up to 80 DegF if I really want to warm things up.
  19. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,061
    Loc:
    Upstate NY
    Ken, you are correct. We have an 1880s farm house that has an addition on the back from the 1950s or so. I have looked into blown insulation, but we have an issue with that... Bricks in our walls. Yep. When they built the homes in my little neighborhood here, they made the bricks on site for all of the houses (one just down the road is identical to ours, the two across the street have identical barns, etc.) The ones that didnt turn out so well they put in the walls to add some thermal mass and slapped some goo on 'em as a draft stopper. Problem is now all the mortar is gone, and the bricks just prevent real insulation. So we are contemplating pulling down the claps, putting in rigid foam board inbetween the studs, and foam sealing it to them. That will add R-value and stop all of the drafts. Plus I can add some fire blocking in there... but I havent gotten a quote yet, and Im sure the price will make my eyes water....
  20. KenLockett

    KenLockett Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    217
    Loc:
    Eastern Upstate NY
    If you haven't already Check some videos on the blow-in stuff on YouTube. It can penetrate and fill around obstructions. In the video it was quite amazing as the stuff is so fine. In your case perhaps this isn't feasible but worth looking into. I took a clapboard off on mine to access above and below. Good luck with whatever route you choose. I firmly believe insulation is the best investment you can make here in the Northeast considering how expensive oil fuel is. Wood definitely puts a dent in the heating cost but there is a trade-off with the time and energy required to process cord wood. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Looking into log length cord wood this spring. Found it as low as 2 1/2 cord for $200. Being able to buck, split, and stack in one location is very appealing now after two years of scrounging locally and processing from my 10 acre woodlot. Still have a good amount of dead trees that I can process but it is a bear getting it out of the woods.
  21. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Can you guys run your boilers without electricity?

    The main reason I put in a wood stove and not anything else was being able to heat my house off the grid if needed. If we got hit with a nasty earthquake it could shut down power for quite a while.
  22. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Messages:
    3,142
    Loc:
    St. Lawrence River Valley, N.Y.
    No. Need electricity to run the boiler. I have a generator and enough gas on hand to get me through a couple of weeks. Boiler is wired directly into transfer switch so it is an easy switch to start generator and have boiler up and running. After being out of gas, if I can not drive somewhere and get some, then I would disconnect the exhaust pipe of my gassification boiler from chimney and reconnect my Pacific Energy wood stove to chimney and would be all set as far as heat goes.
  23. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    4,250
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    Yes.
  24. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,239
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Whole house on auto transfer. Propane for a month... after the first overnight I usually shut down at bedtime... if it was cold.. I'd probably let er run.

    Gen will use some motor oil. Once a day shutdown for a few minutes to check, and add a few oz.

    JP

Share This Page