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Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Gibbonboy, Oct 11, 2006.

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  1. Gibbonboy

    Gibbonboy New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Messages:
    267
    Hello and thanks to everyone here, this is a great resource to find information. I've read most of the forum posts on the site over the last few weeks. I grew up with wood heat, when I graduated from high school, we still had the same tank of oil that we had when I went into junior high. Our woodstove (then a Better N Bens insert) provided 100% heat for our house, and fortunately for me, I learned from my folks how to take care of myself, from cooking to cutting wood to raising my own food.

    Zip forward a bunch of years, and I now own a 1400 sq. ft. house that's 170 years old. I had been heating it 100% with anthracite for the last 3 years. This year's flood put about 4 feet of water in my basement (on top of a hill at 1800' ASL!) and ruined my coal stove and backup oil furnace, among other things. I made the decision to switch to wood, because I have lots of places to get free wood, and I wasn't keen about the volume or toxicity of coal ash/cinders. I've done my research, and decided to buy a wood/coal furnace, a USSC 1600M from Tractor Supply. I looked at Harmans, Charmasters, and others, and for the difference in quality/design (minimal), I couldn't justify the extra $1,000+ for the "brand name" units. The 1600 is a bit better constructed than the lower models, and I think it will do what I want it to. I've put up 8 cords of seasoned wood already, have 2 in the basement ready to go.

    The furnace is on layaway, so I'm currently using my old Earth Stove 1400 to take the chill off. My question relates to that- when I've burned this year, it seems my draft is horrible. I know that my chimney has always had a very strong draft when I've cleaned it/inspected it in the past. Is it just the warmer (low 40's/50's) and more humid weather, or is this little woodstove which I've never burned before just designed that way? It seems I have to give it every bit of draft that I can to keep it burning. If I pull the pipe out of the thimble, and insert a sheet of lit paper, the draft will suck the paper right up the chimney. I don't have a draft gauge, but I can get one, and might just out of curiosity to see what's really going on.

    Anyway, I've rambled on enough, thanks for all of your advice and sharing your skills. Looking forward to helping in any way I can.

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  2. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,120
    Loc:
    Midwest
    Warm and humid atmosphere will reduce the draft of all stoves. Your stove exhaust is relatively the same temperature no matter what. It is the difference in temperature between the flue gas and the atmosphere that makes the flue gas rise and create a draft. Less difference means less draft.

    Also, if there is any build-up in the flue (ie - haven't got around to cleaning the flue yet this year) it can also lower draft. A 1/4 inch build-up of creosote on the walls of a 6" diameter pipe will reduce the diameter to 5.5 inches, but will reduce the cross sectional area by about 15%

    Corey
  3. Gibbonboy

    Gibbonboy New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Messages:
    267
    That's what I figured, just being paranoid. I've kept an eye on my flue temps, and only burn dry, seasoned hardwood (except pine kindling). I have lots of maple, cherry, and ash around here. I'm a tech junkie, so I'm now working on a webcam to check my flue temp from anywhere.

    I have a fireplace in the living room, probably next year I'll get a modern insert for that. I'd love to heat with just the insert, but the layout of my house won't allow it without blasting us out of the LR with heat. Plus my pipes would certainly freeze on the colder days. I'm not going to heat the basement with the wood furnace, but enought heat will be down there to keep everything from freezing. I will state from experience that having a freestanding stove in the basement is no way to heat a house. My dry stone foundation both absorbs tons of heat, and allows cold air infiltration. I can't insulate, it would be moldy in two days in the summer. Once the heat is going in the winter, it dries up nicely. I do have plastic on the walls to slow the air infiltration.

    Heating 100% with a solid fuel may not be the easiest, but I'm kind of obstinate, and refuse to buy oil or gas to heat my house. I wouldn't do it when it was 99 cents/gal, and I certainly won't do it now and add to our country's woes. We use about 5 gallons of gasoline a week in our vehicles (due to intentionally moving to be closer to work and walking as much as we can), and maybe 50 gallons/year of propane for cooking. I'll stop ranting- someday! ;) Every responsible woodburner out there takes a little money out of the oil companies' wallets!
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