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Rationing wood

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by chuck172, Dec 1, 2008.

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  1. Birdman

    Birdman New Member

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    NH
    I love that idea... of keeping a journal of wood use and the temp outside. I think i may begin that idea as well... maybe in a low grade way. Like in the morning when i first load it at 6:00 am... I will write down how many pieces of wood i used.. and the temp outside. Then when i get home at night.. again.. how many pieces of wood i use before i go to bed and the temp outside. It may give me some data at least to use for next year in calculating how much wood i will need. As of right now.. I have used the Tarm with no storage and am very happy with house temp. an hot water. keeping house at 70 when we are home ( even night) and 66 when we are all gone for day. I load 3 times a day. 6am,5pm,10pm.... varying size of load to temp. I have used aprox a third of a cord in 25 days. I am estimating higher for the next 2 months. SO even with high estimate... I could be looking at 20 days burning a half cord? This brings me 120 more days of heat using 3 cord? Not bad. I could even handle burning a little more if need be. I am hopeful for this estimate. I have plenty of wood stored... way plenty... which is fine.. at this rate.. I have the next 2 years stacked outside.

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  2. rickh1001

    rickh1001 New Member

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    upstate NY
    chuck172,

    Are you getting ~ 15 hours from a loading (5AM - 8PM)? That is really great. I wish I could get more than about 8 hours between loadings, with a bed of embers still going. I agree with Birdman, the idea of keeping a log is a great one. I am thinking now of keeping a clipboard near the furnace, and try to note the loading. Ideally, I would have some type of scale and weigh the wood, which sounds anal, and probably is. So far, I am keeping a rough track of usage by stacking wood in various amounts of cords (depending where they fit), and noting when I have depleted one stack, and started on another. So at least I am getting some type of running average of the amount of wood consumed vs. the dates. In suppose I could look up average degree days for our location, and roughly correlate the cords used. At least I want to keep an approximate record of the actual wood used over time. I started a logbook for the entire boiler system, listing the actual expenses to install it, and for repairs, etc. I will set off a section for wood usage, and record monthly or so accumulated amounts of wood burned, even if they are only estimates based on cords.
  3. chuck172

    chuck172 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
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    1,030
    Loc:
    Sussex County, NJ
    By keeping records of the time, temps, and amount of wood burned I'm learning how to operate my boiler. Everyone's lifestyle is different. I need to get up early, fire up the boiler, charge the superstor, get the house warm. We have a heavy shower/whirlpool load. It seems like I'm able to coast nicely during the day. It helps when the sun is out.
    I do have an ace in the hole on the really cold days. I can fire up my Lopi Endeavor. That stove has a 2.2cu. ft fire box and is super efficient. Just a few pc's of wood and I'm good to go. Haven't had to really do that this winter yet.
    I'm also playing around with my 4-zones, closing doors, and throttling the thermostats etc.
    I told my wife I'd be a real hero if the price of oil stayed up there where we expected.
  4. DenaliChuck

    DenaliChuck Member

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    Loc:
    South Central Colorado
    I think that logging data about how much wood you burn, outside temperature and storage temperature will, in time, provide enough information to develop a simple chart in Microsoft Excel that you could use to predict how much wood to burn based on outside temp and storage temp. I haven't spent a minute on it yet (still have to hook my Tarm up!) but I'm certain that the calculations are simple. I would foresee a table with outside temp on the x-axis, and storage temp on the y-axis. Find where the lines intersect and that would be the amount of wood to burn. The critical thing is to have the data to input into the chart. Wood weight would be the best (assuming your wood is always the same moisture content) but volume should work OK too...

    Sometimes it is very hard to see the patterns until you get a good sample of the data into a spreadsheet.

    But, definitely not as slick as Nofo's calculator!
  5. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    Addison County, Vermont
    I actually used a spreadsheet just as you suggest. You could skip the whole BTU part of it and just go directly to pounds of wood per degree day. My brother keeps a meticulous journal and has done just that. He burns almost exactly a pound per degree day.

    I expect most of us mortals burn a bit more than that....
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