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Unhappy with your stove/fireplace... and using wood? Do tell...!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Mr. Kelly, Nov 15, 2009.

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  1. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    At least I didn't need antibiotics.

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  2. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    Ah, I have 5 cord of log length stuff delivered each March. March is my wood month. I saw it to length first, the whole pile. Then I get the splitter and split it all, tossing it onto a big mound. Then I commence stacking. I'm 50 years old, and that process, providing the weather cooperates, takes about 2 weeks for me.

    The rest of the year I don't mess with it. It just sits there looking good all stacked up.

    In the fall I wheelbarrow half a cord or so and stack it on the back porch, which is covered. Each weekend I bring 4 or 5 wheelbarrow loads onto the porch, to re-stock, depending on how much I burn during the week.

    I have a big galvanized can out back, with a lid, and put my ash in that can, and empty it about every week or so. Ash goes on a pile or in the garden, when it's cooled off :)

    I NEVER, EVER, see temperatures in my house, even in JANUARY, BELOW 70.

    Best thing in my opinion is this.....

    When the power is out, the heater stays ON!!!!
  3. Mr. Kelly

    Mr. Kelly Member

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    5 cords of log-length wood. Ugghhh... That's a LOT of wood. When you say you "saw" it, do you use a chain saw? Where does one get "log" cords?

    I suspect this pile will be here for a week, at least, maybe more. I'll try to do a bit here and there, but I work all week, and nowadays, when I get home, it's ROTTEN DARK!! Who can get anything done outside?

    How long do you keep your wood before you burn it?

    Also, what size house do you heat? I will be attempting to heat a saltbox 1650 sq.ft house - with lots of doorways leading to other rooms. One drawing said that this kind of house circulates heat well, as it is somewhat set up like a circle, with all rooms leading closer to the first.

    Thanks for your comments!
  4. cycloxer

    cycloxer New Member

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    Your wood will be fine, in time. Just keep it stacked and cover the top with a tarp for the winter. It is really hard to find properly aged wood unless you want to pay a lot. You are better off buying good quality wood in advance and aging it yourself by keeping it stacked and dry. Look at it this way - as your wood gets older, it will burn better and better. If you have some wood from the previous year, use that to mix in with your new wood.
  5. Fi-Q

    Fi-Q Feeling the Heat

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    When I was a kid, I hated burning wood. Except when I have to drive the old Ford Jubilee around the house. Spending all that time outside in the cold with my ''Get on my nerve '' brother and Dad slave driver.... I hated it......

    Then I left home for college at 16...... and soon find out that the thing I was missing the most from home (After mom's food and dad'S truck) was the warmth of the wood stove..... and since, every cold night, I am dreaming of putting an other log in the fire.

    I work on the road, and I've been away from my home town for more than 1 decade now. Last year, I had the witner off. I spend it at home, and as I was planning to build a house (Wick I did) me and my father went together and cut all of my burning wood for this year (All the trees where standing dead... most of them could have been ready to burn as the were hitting the snow). Man, I really really did enjoy it. Spending all that time with dad, on my land (That was probabbly the first time I spent more then 45 min on my land since I bought it 10 years ago). It was end of march. There was still 3 feet of snow in the wood. We use the ski-doo tu haul the wood to the barn. Tempreature was climbing in the mid 40s. WE were going in the morning, untill noon, after that, the snow wasn'T supporting the weight of the loaded sleigh...... In 5 days, we had 16 small cord cut and pilled up by the barn... (Dad spilt it for me in may..).

    Right now, my house is build, far to be completed (I'm calling it my retirement project) I haven't been there in months, But I should be there next week maybe untill january. And what is trhilling me the most in knowing I will be ome in a week is to have the chance to start a fire in MY wood stove, with wood that I cut with MY dad on MY land... all of this in MY home....

    So yes, once uppon a time, I used too hate burning wood... and who know, it may come back... but for now, thinking of burning wood make me relax and wish for the next lumbing session with my old man. Burning wood means that I will be home, relaxing, away from those far away from home job site........
  6. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Pshawww, Kelly. You've been pullin' my leg. What you've got there is a good woman, just likes to kvetch. Stacking wood with you on day 1! You know she's got your back if you miss a stove reload. You're golden. There are men on here who have been keeping the house toasty for years, and their women wouldn't pick up a piece of wood if it fell on their foot. You've got a woman who will stack, and you're worried about the stove performing?! LMAO! Relax, Mr. Kelly. We might be crazy around here, but we're not stupid. You do your part, and the stove will bring the heat. As long as it's larger than toy size, whatever stove you get would have to be a complete PoS to not heat a 1600-sq-ft open floor plan. Worst case, you may need a fan to direct the heat into a back bedroom. Our house is ~ 1800 sq foot Cape Cod with a not-so-open plan, and we've never needed any fans, but the stove has a blower.
  7. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Sauna, eh? Heat the place up so the Mrs. peels off layers? :) I think just about any stove you get will turn the room into a sauna. Keeping a larger space hot will require more frequent reloads. Results will vary somewhat with atmospheric conditions. An interesting irony of physics / Nature is that as the temperature drops outside, the chimney effect increases. The draft on the stove increases. Instead of hesitating and protesting, as many machines do when pushed hard in extreme conditions, the stove eagerly chomps at the bit. "Feed me! More! More wood!" And if you feed the stove as much wood as it wants, you get as much heat as you want. When you need it most, it's at its best. 5 deg F outside, 75 deg F inside. . .no problem. If nothing else does, this should induce an "Ahaa. . ." in the Mrs. when the weather hits. I think women relate to this on a creamy inner primal level. :)
  8. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Hey, I just gave my Bianchi away to a neighbor kid! He could hardly believe it and kept saying how fast that bike is. Of course he is comparing it to his old clunker moutain bike but he is one happy kid for sure.

    You should try racing on a Bacchetta Aero!
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Mr Kelly, I have to admit that if my wife were like yours I would not have asked her to help with the moving and stacking! But it sounds as if it turned out well for you. I wish you well on the rest but it should go very well now.

    btw, it is not that bad putting up a winter's supply of wood. I'm 67 and last winter I did the cutting. In the early spring I did the splitting and stacking. That was for a three year supply of wood. So if one gets wood in log length it should not be that much work to put up a year's supply. If you have a helper it goes even faster.
  10. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    I finally read it after tickbitty's post. So, that's 2 of us, at least. :coolsmile:
  11. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Gotta' agree, and the thing with homemade bread is true. Like anything else you do for yourself or others, it's more the satisfaction (to me anyway) of not having to rely on others for my daily needs.
    We bought this house with a stove already installed, and SOME wood on the front porch. We learned ( well, I did ) very quickly how to do all the stuff associated with this lifestyle. Didn't have to, it was a choice.
    My wife thinks I'm a little nuts too, but appreciates the warmth. Now begun, this journey has no end for me, until I just can't continue the trip.
    How many things or activities does she have that have taken over HER life?
    Example: my brother thinks I'm obsessed, yet he spends as much time as he possibly can watching all kinds of sports, and when hunting season hits, just get out of his way. Doesn't consider any of that anal or obsessive. I think we both are, in different ways. Runs in the family.
    It's about perspective, and we tend not to see our own faults.
    Love her anyway, and continue. ;-)
  12. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    I just KNOW there's a backstory here. Do tell.
  13. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    So I started reading this and my first thought was "Oh no, Mr. Kelly . . . what have you done? You've doomed yourself already by "forcing" her to help you" . . . and then I kept reading . . . and by the end of the read I was thinking, "Mr. Kelly . . . you've just hit a home run with your first time at bat" . . . and this was without having your wife experience the incredible warmth, without your wife seeing the dancing flames or light show from the secondaries firing off and without your wife seeing how much less oil or gas you've had to buy in the previous month or two."

    Oh yes, Mr. Kelly . . . keep the stove and hearth clear, make sure there is plenty of wood in the woodbox near the stove and it's well-seasoned and sized so your wife can handle it with no issues and be willing to take the lead on starting the fire until she expresses an interest in learning how to do it herself and then Mr. Kelly I would hazard a guess that your wife too will be committed to burning wood . . . although she may not want to hang around here with us lunatics as often. ;) :)
  14. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Late as usual, but I may as well speak my peace . . . or is that piece? I'm not really sure.

    In any case, Mr. Kelly . . . your wife is right. Buying a woodstove does involve quite a bit of up-front cash . . . and getting wood can be a lot of work . . . and cutting, splitting and stacking wood can be time-consuming . . . and yes, your wife is right, you are nuts . . . and yes, it may well happen that using wood will take over your life, but your wife is wrong about one thing . . . many of us here will be among the first to tell you all about burning with wood . . . the good, the bad and the ugly . . . the real unvarnished truth . . . and in many cases we may (and have in the past) suggested that folks not burn wood.

    Are there negatives with wood burning? Definitely. For me the number one negative is the time. It takes a lot of my time to cut down the tree, buck it up, split it and stack it . . . and it's a lot of work. Even folks who have wood delivered to them typically have to stack the wood somewhere which can take some time . . . and then move the wood from the storage area to the stove. When you process the wood yourself it takes up even more time.

    Number two on the con-list is the mess . . . if you burn with wood you will have to deal with woodchips and sawdust . . . wherever you process and/or stack the wood and whenever you bring the wood inside. If you don't have a little brush for the hearth or clean up the floor on your way in from the woodpile to the woodstove your spouse will be unhappy . . . especially if they ever get a sliver in their foot because you didn't clean up the mess right away.

    Number three: if you burn with wood you have to know that there is a little bit of science and art to getting the wood to do what you want . . . it's not as quick or as easy as turning up a thermostat . . . you have to plan things a bit better because when I get up in the morning to get ready for work (or when I'm thinking about going to bed) I can't just throw a bunch of wood into the stove and expect the wood to burn great with no risk of overfiring or smoldering.

    Number four: there is the cost . . . don't let anyone fool you. Unless you have some incredibly generous relative or friend, everyone pays for wood . . . there is no such thing as free wood. You may scrounge . . . but you still will need a saw and other implements of destruction to convert that wood in log form into firewood. You may have land . . . but you will still need to pay taxes on that land or pay for the tools to turn those trees into stacked up splits in your woodshed. And we're not even talking about folks having to buy wood CSD . . . or folks who start burning and then realize they "need" more toys . . . I mean tools . . . like a hydraulic splitter, larger truck or trailer, gloves, second chainsaw, etc.

    That said . . . would I personally stop burning wood. No. I don't care if the cost of heating oil dropped to a $1 a gallon. Why?

    For the environment: When my two-year-old high efficient oil boiler kicks on it still produces a nasty smelling and looking plume of smoke . . . with my woodstove running all I see typically are heat vapors . . . and occasionally I might get a wiff of woodsmoke. I'm not super "green" . . . and I'm no genius . . . but I know without a doubt it takes a lot less energy to drive a few miles to get my own local energy source than it does for a super tanker to haul oil from halfway around the world.

    For my political views: I'm no great patriot . . . I'm not an isolationist or one of those folks who think everyone should buy American. However, I am a realist. I remember the oil embargo of the late 1970s . . . and I remember just last year when the price of heating oil went through the roof in the fall because of speculators. I don't like the idea that my well being can be so easily controlled by a foreign country, a foreign conglomerate or even some greedy men and women . . . what I do like is the knowledge that I control my own destiny to a degree . . . if I work hard I can stay warm pretty affordably . . . if I don't work hard, I pay the price.

    For me personally: For me what it really comes down to is this . . . yeah, I like burning cleanly and yeah, it's really good to know a foreign country or some speculating stock broker is not determining how much it will cost me to stay warm in the winter . . . but why I burn is because of this. . . .

    I like the idea that if I lose power in the winter I will not have to worry about my pipes freezing or that my wife and I will have to huddle under the blankets to stay warm. I am and always will be warm with woodheat.

    I like saving money . . . and even if the price of oil dropped down to 79 cents a gallon . . . something I never will expect to see again in my life time . . . I am still saving money by burning wood. There was an upfront cost, but due to the way I burn this cost will have been "repaid" in another year or two. My wife no longer has to decide whether to put on a sweatshirt and try to save money instead of turning up the thermostat . . . we simply get a fire going when we're cold.

    I like the work . . . there is something almost therapeutic about cutting down a tree, splitting it and stacking . . . and when you're looking at a winter's worth of wood in your shed or stacks there is a real sense of accomplishment.

    Finally, I like the look of a burning fire . . . I like the smell of the wood . . . I like the sound of the wood crackling and snapping . . . and I like the incredible warmth. No, Mr. Kelly, I take that back. I have lied to you. I don't like burning wood. I love burning wood.
  15. 53flyer

    53flyer New Member

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    S&W- We were burning around 8 cord/yr but hope to get that down to about 6 cord with an insert heating the areas we use most. What size house are you heating? I assume you burn from Oct-May with about 4 months of 24/7?

    Your wood stack area is 40x40x10!!?? Can I assuming that 1. Within that area the wood's in has some sort of rows to walk between and allow air circulation. 2. The rows don't go all the way to the edges of the perimeter. 3. It's usually not completely full? Is the usable stack wood something like 36x15x10 = 42 cords = 4.5yr supply? Otherwise that would be 125 cords of wood that could be slowly eaten away over 14yrs!! Even though there'd be no circulation in that case, I'm sure the wood in the middle of that stack would be plenty dry after 14 yr lol.

    I usually have about 12 cords cut by winter and another 4-5 cords stacked up log home style to cut next yr. Of course, with my current Quad 90% of the wood is cut into 24" wounds that just slipped right in un-split. The only stuff I was splitting was the rounds >10" in diameter. Always figured I'd get the longest burn times out of that wood if I could avoid splitting it and was able to let it sit for 2 summers in direct sun prior to burn. That's one thing I'm dreading about an insert having to split 90% of my wood as opposed to only splitting 10% for the stand up stove...
  16. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    We light a fire in October and it doesn't go out until May. It is our only source of heat for 3000 sq ft with a lot of glass on a windy ridge. The wood is all scrounged so its certainly not all primo other than its price.

    There are two sheds, 32x4 and 20x10 that get stacked tight nearly 10' high after the wood has dried in the heap. The rest of it is room for processing and a place to dump fresh rounds. I'm working on a place for a second and possibly third heap as my processing area has gotten jammed up.
  17. jlow

    jlow Feeling the Heat

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    I guess you could say that my situation was the opposite. As a converted city boy to a home DIY'er, i confess that when my wife told me about a wood stove her German GF had at their home, I had no clue what she was talking about. In 2001 we had one of those 98% efficient Carrier furnaces that vent out the side of the house installed and I couldn't believe that my sweetie would want to put a stove in the house. She schooled me on what the thing was and that she had decided that the best looking one was the EQ. It wasn't until later that I found out it heated 3000 sq. ft.. We returned from Germany in January of last year and installed the beast. I scrounged the remainder of the year to burn it full time and saved about a grand in heating costs and kept the house 6 degrees warmer than with NG. My birthday presents this year have been my Stihl and the Huskee 22 ton splitter. It use to be golf clubs. I can tell you without hesitation that the happiness in seeing my wife walk around in her barefeet when it is 40 outside is the best. She loads during the day and is quite proud that she can keep the house @ 76 while I am at work. I have 2 years worth of wood split and rounds to still get at. This whole process has been quite a bonding experience. I show people my set-up and they can't believe that I actually installed it, cut the wood and built the shed to store it in. At 51, I feel I started a new life. Good luck with your situation and I look forward to hearing more from all of you. Your experiences and knowledge have made this experience all the more enjoyable and rewarding.
  18. Zzyk

    Zzyk New Member

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    Firefighterjake-

    Excellent post. Those are my setiments as well.
  19. 53flyer

    53flyer New Member

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    Wow, I guess it's a beast (774lbs!) Up to a 26" log and a 4cuft firebox?! 120,000 max BTU... Slightly off topic but out of curiosity can you tell me what your longest burn times are with that thing fully loaded with un-split rounds (assuming you use un-split when possible)? I realize it's soapstone so you get heat after fire burns down so I'm just thinking about full load to the next time you'd need to add wood iot keep it going. One other Q is did you go 8" all the way up or does it allow for doing a 8-to-6" conversion for the pipe?
  20. jlow

    jlow Feeling the Heat

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    8" all the way up. I load 5 good size rounds 4-5" at 10pm and have chunks of embers when I get up at 6am. Can't tell you for sure when fire actually dies down.
  21. woodjack

    woodjack Minister of Fire

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    I don't understand. You need "permission" from the wife to burn wood????
    I guess that's why I'm not married.
  22. potter

    potter Feeling the Heat

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    Not dealing with the propane company- priceless.
  23. Mr. Kelly

    Mr. Kelly Member

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    Well, making the wife happy, by validating why I'm spending an inordinate amount of money upfront for a stove, wood and installation, not to mention the increase in workload, will contribute to household happiness, and hopefully, a much warmer house!

    As many of the folks on here have said, I'm lucky that I have someone who will even remotely put up with my new hobby, let alone contribute in some meaningful way!
  24. 53flyer

    53flyer New Member

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    Pagey- Wow, I'd have thought a heat pump would make your elec bill stay below $100. Especially in TN where I didn’t think it went below 25 that often (the temp a heat pump doesn't work as good). Are you paying like 25 cents per KWH?

    Heem- $800/mo!... What do you pay per KWH in Connecticut?

    For reference- I pay .0521/KWH and am looking towards an eventual heat pump (possibly geothermal) and would expect elec bills of $80 in the dead of winter (around $140-160 now). I'd then use wood heat to make it easier on the heat pump and for heating/cooking during elec outages. I'm also looking at a instant on water heater but I think an elec pwrd one will actually be more economical than propane because elec is so cheap compared to the propane avg over the past few yrs... For more comparison, our summer elec bill averages $35-40 but we don't need AC so that helps.
  25. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    Actually our electric rates aren't that bad. But we have 2 heat pumps, one for downstairs and one for upstairs. The downstairs unit is far too large and has a crummy SEER rating.
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