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We want to know which stove is best? What about making our homes more energy effecient?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by elkimmeg, Oct 21, 2006.

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  1. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Green homes

    How many post start out which stove should I buy, or I just picked up x stove. The intent is the same, create heat and lessen the dependency demand for fossil fuel usage. Wood, pellet, and coal are part of freeing up our appetite for imported fuel. Equally important is addressing the ability of keeping in the heat we create. I see saving energy paying less to heat our homes two fold auxiliary heat source and insulating and draft stopping. What can the DIY home owner do.

    Draft stopping:

    # Notorious leakage at the sill plate and foundation contact.
    # Windows sills: simple applications of self stick weather stripping on the windows sills.
    #Weather stripping applied to exterior doors
    # Every electrical receptacle located on an exterior wall should have a Styrofoam b draft stopper.
    # It would not hurt to weather strip your cellar door or bulkhead door.

    Additional Insulation.
    The greatest heat loss occurs in your ceiling. Best bang for the $$$ is increasing your attic ceiling R- value up to R-30 or 38. Another area that should be insulated is your attic access.

    The next areas to address are not usually handled by the weekend warriors
    If residing your home it makes sense to either have blown wall cavity insulation or a insulating siding backer installed. Replacement windows work if the basic window casing and frame is in good condition. If not the entire window should be replaced. This is where a lot of money is spent. its not a cheap solution.
    Some have had some success with plastic draft stopping window treatment. Finally many cellar ceiling cavities have no insulation at all. Insulating them prevent heat loss and keeps you floor warmer my suggestion is R-19

    Oil burner:
    If you haven’t already gotten it cleaned and tuned its time. There are a few enhancements that can save energy even with 25-year-old boilers. Many posters here have found out that the boiler fires off when not needed. This is the process of keeping the combustion chamber up to temp and heating the flue.
    There is a way to hold heat in that chamber longer. By installing a motorized damper it closes after firing and prevents heat loss up the chimney. The way the oil is delivered to the combustion chamber can be altered with changing the nozzle head to a different spray pattern and angle. A flame retentioner can also aide to efficiency.
    Delivery systems: so you have a new wood stove the burner does not cycle as often. This is good you are saving energy. Well maybe
    not so good, you have reduced water circulation in your FHW heating system. All it takes is one small sliver of cold draft to begin the freezing process. My stoves worked so well at supplying heat, that I have had 4 freeze ups in my 30 years in this home. Finally feed up, I charged the system with glycol antifreeze. What about heat loss from those exposed pipes in your cellar or adding freeze prevention
    Modern code requires them to be insulated to an R_5.0 or greater value. The pipe insulation, I’m talking about is not the cheapy ¼ -3/8” home depot type, but ¾” to 1” thick type R-5.0 or more.. Insulation should start at your first elbow above the boiler.
    Hot water heaters: have you considered an additional insulation blanket? Holding heat in and preventing heat loss, aids to your overall hot water efficiency. Just like you hot water delivery piping, exposed pipes loose a lot of energy in transmission, These pipes should be insulated like you FHW pipes, R5.0 or greater


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  2. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Forced warm Air systems Duct work:
    IT has been proven that up to 35% heat loss, is due to transmission and leakage. Unfortunately many system are also poorly designed, especially the lack of sufficient returns or their locations. Many homes have only one return in their upstairs bedroom locations in the hall way ceiling. The purpose of a return system is to remove cold air not warm air. With bedroom doors closed that space under your door is not an adequate return source, cold air escaping under that door will never rise to that central return in the hallway. I have not approved one new home, which has its sole return in the hall way ceiling. All bedrooms require returns within the bedrooms. That helps, but again ceiling returns, though better, are not efficient they return warm heated air. The object is to return cool air removing that air draws the warmer ceiling level air down this is where efficiency and comfort is gained. IF you have a combined heat Ac system my suggestion is installing on an interior wall high and low damper grills returns Top damper closed during heating bottom open and reverse that for AC. So what can the DIY do? IF one owns a sawsall cut out a piece of the wall plate and attach a metal duct connector there. These can be bought at your large box stores. While there pick up some dampened grills. Next cut in holes in you dry wall one foot down from the ceiling and one foot above the floor and attach. Flexible ductwork is the most abused application used many homes attics look like a can or worms ducts going everywhere. All flexible ducts should be stretched and run directly to the diffusers no loose arks. All that loose ductwork adds to the run length and increases friction they have to be stretched to reduce the internal ribbing, which produces friction. Another friction reduction is to install metal 90-degree elbows in to the diffuser box instead of making the bend with the flexible duct. All flexible ducts are insulated. My state requires R-5.0 or greater in un conditioned areas. Most metal diffuser boxes are not insulated, Exposed and loosing heat. All states that adopted the International building codes in 1998 have model energy codes Those codes require duct sealing. Today only a few inspectors require duct sealing and duct and foil tape are not a permanent seal. Use duct sealing mastic and, on larger seams or holes use mastic and mesh tape. A note concerning the worst leakage areas the metal swivel elbows leak at the multi parts connections Seal all branch takeoffs from the trunk Seal all finger joint sections and folder corners of boots and other fittings. It is also important to seal the return side and not just the delivery side. Intrusion of outside air reduces the return effectiveness and efficiency of the entire system. Check the burner /heat exchanger many times they leak profusely around the plenum and exchanger jackets.

    Next step is to insulate all that exposed metal ductwork. Again R5.0 or greater should be applied. A tremendous amount of heat is lose threw metal ductwork in unconditioned spaces There are two common forms of duct insulation fiberglass and bubble foil wrap.
    Recent testing has proven foil bubble wrap R-values to be invalid and over stated it is stamped 4.2 but testing has proven it to be R-1.1. Minimum 1.5” of fiberglass but 1.75 to 2” is better. This is a lot of work but it will pay you back.
    Lessening out dependency upon imported fuel is conserving and improving what we have and the use of an auxiliary wood/ coal/ pellet stove. Hot water and heating cost add up to 75-80% of our home’s energy cost. The other factors are electricity, cooking, and cloth drying.

    MSG It took me a long time to put this together please leave it in the hearth room for a while then Craig or I will wiki it. I feel it as important probably more important, than any wood stove purchase
  3. RoosterBoy

    RoosterBoy New Member

    Jul 5, 2006
    i agree don when i did my air conditioning duct work i sealed all seems insulated and used all ridged 7 inch pipe's and take offs
    i changed my old single pain windows to new Anderson windows with low-e argon filled
    new boiler with indoor out door reset control. the only mistake i made was instead of using a indirect storage tank for hot water
    i should have bought a electric on demand system placed in the center of all my hot water piping. this way i only heat water that i am using. rather then heating a big tank of water that i may use later. people i talk to now i always tell them to by a on demand hot-water and locate it in the middle of all your fixtures so you get fast hot water i also insulated all my water pipes and all my boiler baseboard piping

  4. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Dec 5, 2005
    Sand Lake, NY
    Is anti-freeze in the heating system legit? Couldn't it contaminate potable water with a link in hot water tank coil?
  5. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    the hot water coil is isolated and separate from the forced hot water baseboard system It is a separate coil and closed syetem independent to heating.
    however using the burner as a dual purpose. One can not use Auto antifreeze one uses RV panadol type. It is perfectly legal to charge youe system with it.

    Here is how to know when your FHW pipes are freezing or near freezing. You will be woken up to loud banging and the boiler and piping will shake.
    It will sound llike someone is using a shedgehammer on your furnace and pipes. This is due to hot water bumping into freezing water, wild swings of expansion and contraction

    To me I know every sound in my home I know when the burner is not opperating correctly. Unfortunately I have lost a few night chasing down freezeups. That's another story when my home was built the plumber took the easiest route with no regard to the home's design. Something I wish I could re do.

    greatfully I found them before pipes bursted. Like I said I got feed up created a whole manifold system with ball valves and draw offs and the ability to charge and re charge the system
    esailly. 4 years later quiet pipes, more sleep, and no more freeze ups. I can let my stoves run full throttle
  6. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Craig is this worthy of wiki I was hoping to get more feed back and discussions
  7. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    Eastern Nebraska
    Well as much as i would like to argue with you ole' ELKer over your post i find it hard to add or disagree with the information .

    Maybe we can "discuss" another topic .. looks like you ran with this one.
  8. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Roo am I missing something are you having your own personal competition. Maybe with Warren and BB, but I had no idea I was part of it.
    I knew you took some shots at me But I did not think they deserved a response. I figured it was Roo being Roo. Why excalate anything if in fun,
    it was easer for me just to move forward. I'm glad this post met your approval I took a lot of time hoping it would get other thinking about buttoning up their homes
    We all are trying to save energy dependency plus a few extra $$ is handy
  9. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    Millbrook, NY
    The guy doing our solar HW (whose primary business is alternative energy / green building consulting) suggested insulating our rim joist by adhering strips of solid foam insulation and sealing any gaps left with expanding foam bead - something I will probably do. We have a lot of pipes running near the perimeter of the house and last winter had a near-burst on a kitchen pipe. No water out of the faucet - went to the basement and found ice cold pipes tucked under the fiberglass insulation batts. Heat wasn't getting through cabinets and floor, but rim joist was ice cold. The batts did not adequately protect the pipes from leaking through the rim joist. My short term fix for last winter was to remove that batt to expose the pipes to the warmer basement air, but I think backing the rim joists all around w/solid foam will be a big help to protect those kitchen and baseboard heat loop pipes.

    He said we should really consider insulating down the foundation wall at least for the portion that is above ground - will see how ambitious I feel.

    We are also going through and insulating all the pipes we can access in the basement with 1/2" wall foam insulation - cold pipes to stop condensation problems and mold on insulation backing paper and hot pipes to keep 'em hot!

    Oh, and BTW, there are (modest) tax credits for all this :)

    Elk - I have been interested for some time in charging up our baseboard loops with the non-tox glycol. Do you use a submersible pump to charge it? Would be interested in any tips on that. I have also thought about doing this for a little more peace of mind. Still won't protect our domestic water lines, but we have very few of them running near the outside of the house.

  10. dbchris

    dbchris New Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    SoEast PA
    Thank you elkimmeg, good honey do list for hubby :)
  11. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Ok how I charged my system with glycol antifreeze
    I created a manifold where each zone (3) is isolated on both ends with a ball valve shut off. at the furnace side all zones had draw
    off fawcets. On the mamifold side I neede only one d f draw of fawcet because I could isolate each zone with the ball valves.

    Some hints soldering goes much better with presto lite mapp torch Worth every peny spent and not a bad wood stove starter as well

    Hint #2 I went to walmart and bought 15 gallons of RV antifreeze. Much cheaper the plumbing sypply houses at $12 ea gal

    Hint #3 after draining the system down I had to to make up the manifold anyways I attached my air compressor to complete evaculating the remaining water in the lines.

    The actual task of filling the system:

    two 5 gallon buckets and with the use of my washer machine hose I attached the submersiable pump and then to the draw off to feed the system on the manifold I close
    the other two zones I am not charging. I attach another hose to the manifold draw offf and place its end in the second bucket to remove any initial residual water I pour in 5 gallons and add as I need them and start the pump. Once the second hose removes flows freely and removes the air I place its end in the same pump bucket I now have created a closed loop system all air is removed I circulate it for a few minutes then shut off the manifold zone valve with the pump running then the feed side zone valve and turn off the pump I attach it to the next zone and repaet the process same with the third. When done not only are the zones charged but bled better than any other possible method bled in a closed loop system.

    A word of caution your system is still hooked to a variable fill valve. Over time it adds water which reduces the properties of the antifreeze by dilution. Average effectiveness of about 5 years before recharge. If cleaver and you could get a freon type canister you could fill that up with antifreeze attach a tire type vavle and pressurize it to 25 lbs also attach a pressure gage to monitor what's going on and eliminate the variable fill valve. Now your system will always be filled with antifreeze You wil never have to recharge it again
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 17, 2005
    Western Mass.
    yeah, good wiki entry.....

    Want me to enter it, or do you?
  13. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Let it run here for a while posibly sticky it and also enter it. in wiki. Unfortunately most have not found the wiki section yet.

    Glad to here you are making progress with you shop. Today I wish I was comming out to vist you. It would have been far better than what I went threw
    today. It still bothering me. I came real close to making the obituary section. Ash can post for those wondering what I am refering to.
  14. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 17, 2005
    Western Mass.
    At this point, it's time to "just say no" to certain things. Use your brain instead of your muscles!
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