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Question about stoves with cats and electrical controls, and power outages

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by OldLumberKid, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    Google "Muffin Fan"?
    Its a small cheap plastic fan like the ones used to cool computer cases.

    It might melt if the battery ran out, so I used a can as a spacer. I had one lying around, but they cost less than $20 new. If I was buying, I'd get a proper DC blower, probably even with a metal case, but I'm on the lookout at work for one.

    TE

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  2. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    Ahh ok - the can spacer made it sound like a home grown contraption. Thanks for the clarification.
  3. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    There's no way I'd post a picture of it, "home grown contraption" is generous, but it worked. I just looked and it won't work so well with my new insert, I'll have to modify it, maybe even do it nicely.

    TE
  4. bboulier

    bboulier Feeling the Heat

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    Very helpful advice. I have a marine battery with inverter, but don't think it would run the insert fan for very long or anything else for that matter. I think I will get one of the HF small generators. Looks like just the item for the kind of emergencies we are likely to face.
  5. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    The $99 generators sound like a great deal. Sandy was a reminder to think again about picking up a unit, even though we're hundreds of miles from the damage. I was walking thru a local HD a few weeks ago and there were 3500W units on the rack for under $200. Not sure if it's great quality product, but there's one at my place now. No blower on the woodstove here, but I got enough juice for the sump pump (big concern), + couple lights, etc., if a tree takes out the power line somewhere on the road in a storm (not uncommon).
  6. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Doing that with a turbine generating any significant airflow would kill the draft and most likely either the fire would die or you would start smoking up the room.
  7. OldLumberKid

    OldLumberKid Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks! I missed this somehow, earlier on, but it's reassuring to know we're talking simple bimetallic coils here.

    Thanks, good news. And more ideas.

    Yes, wife is already concerned on the aesthetics/obtrusiveness of merely an insert. … (indeed, she likes it cold.) It would be just for supplemental/backup heat. Though if we moved, I'd seriously look at a stove.

    I've been through the "great blackout," and Sandy was another "shot over the bows" as to what life could be like with a pervasive power outage. So as I get over this flu thang, I'll get back on the horse and have that chimney inspected by a pro. A generator and a properly installed transfer switch also starts to sound like a good thing to have, albeit a temporary solution, when you consider the horrendous gas lines (waited 2.5 hours on one of 'em) and crazy gas shortages we had.
  8. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I've been giving serious thought to a diesel generator for that very reason - my thought being that in an emergency of that sort I have this tank of fuel oil in my basement that I don't use very fast (up to 275 gallons of it when full) so why not have the capability of drawing on it if fuel supplies are low/out in the general area... As I understand it home heating oil is essentially the same as diesel - or at least good enough to use in a pinch.
    OldLumberKid likes this.
  9. tobaccogrower

    tobaccogrower Member

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    i run home heating fuel in my truck and tractors on the farm. same thing as diesel without the tax
  10. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I agree. I buy off-road diesel for the tractor which is home heating oil from the fuel depot. Right behind me in line is the delivery truck. Man, talk about a money saver, I sometimes save 90 cents per gallon over pump prices when I buy non-road taxed diesel.
  11. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    Slow1: I've been thinking exactly the same way, I also have a 275 gallon heating oil tank. The problem is that from what I have so far determined, diesel generators are MUCH more expensive than gas or propane gens.
  12. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    That's not really true. I always here this, but if you price them, they are about the same price. The diesels run longer, last longer, are more efficeint. The only issue with them is they are LOUD!
  13. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I'm not sure exactly on the cost - As Machria says it doesn't seem to be a clear cut higher cost but then again it is hard to compare apples to apples in terms of quality etc. However, even if they are a bit more expensive I wonder if it may still be worth it in the case of a longer term emergency as without fuel the generator is worthless. I also am considering that for my area I don't anticipate using it very often - storage of the fuel is a concern and from what I understand diesel is safer to store (less in the way of fumes to be concerned with) and can be stored longer as long as it isn't exposed to air. This means that I could in theory keep several days fuel (I'm thinking 15-20 gallons) available and not worry about having to cycle it through every year to keep it fresh and useful....
  14. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    You can store diesel/home heating oil (same thing), for YEARS. The only concern is to make sure it doesn't get mold/bacteria. Diesel fuel can grow a mold that reeks havoc on filters. But the easy fix is an addative that keeps it from growing. ;)

    Your going to want a hell of a lot more that "20 gallons"!!! During sandy, it took me 3 days to get 5 gallons of fuel. They were out, or the wait was over a mile long down the rd, with no gaurrantee they would not run out before I got there, so I passed. If you install a whole house genset, your going to want/need a minimum of 200 gallons of fuel to keep it running a few weeks.
  15. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    My 20 gallon concept is that it is enough for a few days, the big oil tank with 275 capacity (assume average of 50% full perhaps count on 100 gallons?) is my reserve for that "Sandy" event. I don't plan on buying or see the need for a whole house genset; rather just enough for critical systems to keep house livable - we have sufficient heat with the stove with 4 smaller kids having lights rather than candles and the ability to recharge batteries is a good thing - not to mention keeping the freezer/refridge food safe and edible.

    Anyway - I see this topic has drifted considerably from the original post (sorry OP!).
  16. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    Something else to remember in this diesel/gas decision is that many cars have anti-siphon devices; you may not be able to get that gas out. I'm confident that if it became a life or death situation, I'd get the gas out of any tank, but when you hear of people starving to death because they only had electric can openers...

    TE
  17. Lanningjw

    Lanningjw Feeling the Heat

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    I have a large wheel house generator and a transfer switch that will charge 6 zones in my home.With the transfer switch I am able to connect the gen just outside the garage and plug it into a 30 foot cord that plugs into a outside connection to the panel. I have a large chain to secure it from theft. My emergency plan was to only run it during the day to keep our fresh and frozen food from thawing and spoiling. It will also run the NG heater for the home along with outside and inside lights in several rooms of the house and kitchen.

    My issue is keeping enough fuel on hand. I never keep the gens fuel tank filled, to ensure a good start with fresh gas. I keep 10 gallons of fuel around. I guess its a start but will be a problem when we need to use it.
  18. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I have priced them and they are NOT the same price. Not unless you compare premium gasoline (think huge honda inverter for 4000$) to a ghetto chinese diesel. I bought my 4000 watt champion gas genset for 250$ and it has performed very well, show me a diesel genset for 250$. The reason nobody owns diesel portable gensets is due to extremely high cost.
  19. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    If we are comparing Natural gas, gasoline and Diesel generators, we are talkin whole house standby type gensets, not $300 Costco/Walmart non-inverter gensets. Your not going to find a 2kw suitcase type natural gas genset.

    If you price a 20kw unit up, they are all the same basic price. ;)
  20. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    It's a frank Zappa song, I believe. Wait, no, that's the Muffin Man.

    The Muffin Man is seated at the table
    In the laboratory of the Utility Muffin
    Research Kitchen . . .
    Reaching for an oversized chrome spoon
    He gathers an intimate quantity of dried muffin remnants
    And brushing his scapular aside
    Proceeds to dump these inside of his shirt. . .
    He turns to us and speaks:
    "Some people like cupcakes better. I for one
    Care less for them!"
    Arrogantly twisting the sterile canvas snoot
    of a fully charged icing anointment utensil
    He pools forth a quarter-ounce green rosette (oh ah yuk yuk.
    let's try that again . . .!)
    He pools forth a quarter-ounce green rosette
    Near the summit of a dense but radiant muffin
    of his own design.
    Later he says: "Some people . . . some people like cupcakes exclusively,
    While I myself say there is naughl nor ought there be
    Nothing so exalted on the faceof God's grey earth
    As that prince of foods . . . The Muffin!"

    Girl you thoughl he was a man
    Bul he was a muffin
    He hung around lill you found
    That he didn't know nuthin'
    Girl you thought he was a man
    But he only was a-puffin'
    No cries is heard in the night
    As a result of him stuffin'
    Joful likes this.
  21. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    That's important. I didn't think anybody was talking about 20kw or any whole house set. You can run just about any gasoline genset on lp or ng, yes, even the little 2kw suitcase sets can be run on gas.

    I don't live in an A/C part of the country so there is very little reason to have anything larger than 3000-4000 watts for whole house gensets. Mostly for refrigeration.

    Again, for the normal sized 1000-10000+ watt gensets, diesel is extremely expensive.
  22. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I do the same. 3200 watt gen and a hardwired xfer switch. A well insulated modern fridge only needs to run an hour or two per day to stay cold if you dont open it any more than asolutely necesary. During outages we run the generator for an hour at breakfast and an hour at dinner time. During the run time the fridge and freezer get chilled, I cycle the septic pump, fire the gas boiler once to heat the DHW tank, and we can use the coffee port, toaster, microwave to eat and recharge tablets and laptops.

    10 gallons of gas could stretch to a week long outage this way. you get better gas mileage on these small generators running them fully loaded for shorter times vs. idling all day. I keep 2 cans full treated with stabil and run through the car every 6 months.

    The key is to size your backup for the minimum needed to get by, not expect to carry on life with zero inconvenience (that gets extremely expensive).
    bag of hammers likes this.
  23. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    Does this mean the off the shelf box store units can (easily) be modified to run on LP? I have a 3500W unit still in the box - willing to mangle it if I can get it to run on LP (safely)... thanks for any further info....
  24. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    I'm kinda in the same head space at my new location (currently camp - eventually house). Can run the small BBQ for many days on a 20 lb tank (especially small quick meals). Small chest freezer stays chilled 24 hours easy. Wood stove for heat, home made outdoor wood sauna to wash up. Water from the lake in buckets if necessary. Outdoor crapper (yep - still standing) in case the septic pump goes south. Lots of LED flashlights, spare batteries, etc. Sure it's lots of work but it's like a week at camp would have been anyway a year ago. I realize everyone's mileage may vary, circumstances are different, and hearing a 20Kw backup generator kick in and trip the transfer switch with zero downtime would be sweet, but I can get us by on a $200 solution, which is also pretty cool.
  25. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Same thing I was thinking... but you beat me to it!

    If talking gen'sets, and you have gas or propane available, it's impossible to beat for pure reliability. If you have a compact utility tractor, that opens up the possibility of 3-point PTO driven generators, which one would imagine should be cheaper without the cost of an engine, but they never seem to be.

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