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Wood Heat vs. single-digit temps, are you winning?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by FGZ, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. FGZ

    FGZ Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    78
    Loc:
    N.Shore MA
    Tonight is our second night of ~9deg F here in NE MA. We've only had one other night of single digit temps and I had a similar experience: I can't keep the house up to temp like I can above 20. So I'm at about "single digit temps - 3, Jotul C450 - 0"

    This year is much better than last, with several insulation improvements including rim joists in the basement and insulating the attic fold-down stairs. My energy audit told me about those. I have some further refinements in the insulation dept but these were the biggest. Also I have a lot better store of wood, dryer and more of it. These have all added up to very little oil used since our tank was filled in Oct, and the mild winter has helped a lot too. Single digits have me beat though.

    Today I have burned hot and heavy trying to catch back up, and finally got the bedroom temps to go from 62 to 64. Reloading quicker than usual and keeping the fan on high have helped. Here are some future updates that are sure to help: need a block of plate, OAK might keep the outside air out better, and plug more small insulation holes.

    I've been wrestling with whether or not I have a big enough insert (Jotul C450), and am fairly convinced I'm big enough once I incorporate the rest of my projects. My house is only about 1200 sq ft and not the greatest layout for wood heat. But I can hit 80* if it's over 20* out, and not drop below 65 during the overnight burn, so a bigger stove would just be too hot and eat more wood. The longer overnight burn would be nice, but I'm steadily getting the trick of extending my overnights.

    How well are you fairing? What tricks have helped you overcome those handful of REALLY cold nights, when otherwise your stove keeps up just fine?

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  2. lopiliberty

    lopiliberty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    811
    Loc:
    Mineral County, WV
    Last cold snap we had a low of 9 degrees and my lopi liberty kept the living room in the low 80's and upstairs right at 80 degrees.
  3. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,052
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley, MA
    No doubt our coldest night here this winter. I've managed to keep the boiler quiet except when the furthest zone from the stove calls for heat. I put in my biggest splits all day, actually one at a time as the F3 does not have a huge firebox. I do not have a secret, but I will let the boiler run to keep the house to temp. The stove is a supplemental heat source and gives me what I need most of the time. I will not push it hard tonight, just let it roll and use the boiler to help when needed. I've saved a bit in fuel costs this winter, so why not let the boiler run as needed. Did I just say that? :bug:
  4. gdk84

    gdk84 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    Messages:
    122
    Loc:
    New England
    I dont really have a problem keeping the house temps at a reasonable level during single digit weather. I worry about my pipes freezing in the basement. My stove is on the first floor. I have forced hot air heat, and with all the ducting in the basement it keeps the basement warmer. So, when its gets cold like this I run my furnace more at night too keep my basement temp up... I'd rather burn 3 dollars worth of oil than have a freeze up.
  5. FGZ

    FGZ Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    78
    Loc:
    N.Shore MA
    THAT. is warm. Congrats on that thing.


    That was my idea originally when we got the stove last year, until the recent refinements have made it possible to nearly do away with oil altogether. Last year I bought 2 tanks of oil. This year I have used less than 1/4 tank so far. This has made me greedy to keep it down to 1 tank this year, saving me ~$900.

    After watching oil prices all summer waiting to fill my tank back up (and NOT seeing them drop), I have come to hate oil. My wife says I take out this hate on every tree I can scrounge.

    Same pipe routing and heat setup as I have. Since the basement doesn't drop below ~45* at worst, I haven't been too worried about it. I heat-taped my scariest 12' section, which goes near a window. Plugging that in on the really cold nights give me peace of mind.
  6. stejus

    stejus Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,227
    Loc:
    Central MA
    Since Friday night we've been pushing this stove to the max. Managing inside temps of 76/74 (high) and 68/63 (low in the AM after a 10 hour burn) on the first floor. The second floor bedrooms are about 68 to 60 throughout the burn cycle. After we reload, temps rebound usually within an hour or so. On nights like tonight, I have the themostats programmed to cycle on and off for 10 minutes at 2:00AM and 5:00AM just to move the water in the pipes.
  7. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    4,945
    Loc:
    Ridge, LI, NY
    Lower level @ 74F with the 13. Just banked off for a few hours until a reload at 12 PMish. Upper level @ 72F currently as I'm burning down the coal bed for a reload.

    Projected for 9F here tonight, locally. But here in Icey Hollow, we figure 0. We're in a low "Ridge" that settles in a lot colder. 2 houses down the street, that's about 20 feet drop down from my house can have a temp 5 - 10 temp lower outside temp than mine. Weird.
  8. egclassic

    egclassic Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Messages:
    257
    Loc:
    SW Ohio
    I think the coldest it's been here so far this season has been the last two nights, 12*-15*.
    I can definately tell a difference, in the amount of wood I go through and how much further I have to keep the air open to maintain temps. Even with that said, the room the stove is in stays around 80*, but my furthest bedroom struggles to stay above 68*.
    I, too, have done some insulating and sealing up of visable air leaks. In fact, I think I have somehow changed the air flow in my house by sealing up some leaks close to the stove. I have noticed a draft this year in the house that I'm sure did not exist last year, but I cannot find the source.
    This year I installed a wireless thermostat on my forced air system that I have located towards the rear of the house where the heat from the stove struggles to get to. The old stat was in the stove room. This way I can have a little more control over the heat distribution. I have come to terms that my forced air will have to run from time to time. :mad:
  9. Stubborn Dutchman

    Stubborn Dutchman Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Messages:
    127
    Loc:
    Southern Michigan
    So far so good! I keep the thermostat for the fuel oil furnace set on 58 degrees and it hasn't kicked on since the F600 was installed the first of November. I am a happy camper!
  10. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    560
    Just like motorcycles, ...size matters!

    I'm doing great here in north central Mass. +4F right now and it's a toasty 76 here in the living room. I've got the el-Cheapo used Acclaim working in the basement, and I've got the Monster in the Living room toasting 3 year old oak and assorted other New England hardwoods. Mama's lookin' mighty fine in her flannel jammies and we're watch Country Strong on the the hometheater system. Life is Good! ....oh.. and warm :)
  11. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,699
    Loc:
    WNY
    Last night we got to 5. We have a backup VF that kicked on a few times, but the Republic is doing fine keeping things plenty warm. The only time it sucks is when we have to go to work and are gone 10-11 hours, which maxes the burn time-it's hard to get back up to temp in here. Should be better next season after get some actual insulation in the attic and recaulk the windows (the curtains move when the wind really blows).
  12. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Messages:
    770
    Loc:
    Central Ohio
    I'm not doing so hot, quite cool actually.

    We too got into the upper single digits the last two nights. The first two days of the storm the wind blew something fierce, average house temp 58-62ºF, the less windy days I think the warmest was 64º. Thats with both stoves going, and firing the Rockland pretty hard when I could :(

    I dont mind the cool temps, but it bothers me that I'm feeding both stoves and burning through the wood fast and its still not keeping up.
  13. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    706
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    Started the second stove (coal, downstairs) Friday night when the low was forecast to be 25. It warmed up the walk-in basement to the high 70's. With downstairs warm some heat makes its way upstairs so the main stove doesn't have to work sooo hard. Last night the low was 12. I had loaded the stoves about 11PM and at 7 this morning the house was still at 71.

    Today's high was 25 and the house stayed in the mid 70s all day.

    Looks like the same story for tonight, forecast low about 12. Both stoves going, wood burning upstairs & coal downstairs. So far the oil fired boiler has not gone on once for heat this season...

    KaptJaq
  14. Battleaxe

    Battleaxe New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2011
    Messages:
    43
    Loc:
    Wisconsin
    The big trick to keeping the furnace from running is to keep the stove hot. Building it up to heat from a cold start in cold temperatures takes a while. If you reload onto hot coals you're good to go. Single digits here a few recent mornings and no problem heating 2400 sq ft.
  15. theonlyzarathu

    theonlyzarathu Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Messages:
    104
    Loc:
    Bar Harbor, Maine
    I have a PE Summit. Here in Downeast Coastal Maine, last night it hit -6. Morning temp was 63, with the usual big wad of coals left. Got it back up to 74 in about 80 minutes. Have no problem keeping most of the house that we use at comfortable temps. The stove is not even working hard.

    But all this depends on your usuage, your insulation, your total square feet you are heating, etc. Everybody is different.
  16. Ash Man

    Ash Man New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    35
    Loc:
    Spruce Grove, Alberta
    -22F, or -8F tonight in Alberta! The old VC Resolute Acclaim is keeping our home at 74, upstairs warmer when the heat rises. Had to open a window last night, then ended up sleeping in the basement to escape the heat! The only problem is that I'm burning poplar, and my stove is leaky, so I'm adding wood every 2 to 3 hours! We have a very well insulated home, so that helps.
  17. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,393
    Loc:
    Quebec, Canada
    It's getting chilly..1 F right now.

    My stove is in my basement. It's currently 77-78 downstairs and 71-72 upstairs. I put in a few splits of spruce with 2 big ones of yellow birch. I will have a good bed of coals in the morning. The basement will be roughly 70-72 and the upstairs will be 66 or so.

    My 2300 heats my entire 2300 square feet no problem no matter what the temp: well insulated basement certainly traps the heat and forces it up the staircase!

    Andrew
  18. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2007
    Messages:
    2,449
    Loc:
    Yukon Canada
    Its -45 and the pine is heating just fine. :coolsmile:
  19. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,377
    Loc:
    Springfield Ma (western mass)
    This is when my stove starts to struggle a little ... But only in the rooms furthest away the main part will still be in the 70s while the bedroom furthest might drop to 65 ... so I run the pellet stove downstairs and leave a door open .. that bedroom furthest away will stay around 68-70 depending on how I set the pellet stove...
    But I think I have the answer... Instead of loading big splits like most do, I did med small ... Reason- I can pack super tight and they usually burn hotter . Now my thought was pack tight to extend burn time, use smaller splits for a hotter fire .. I need more heat tonight rather than that med heat ... So far so good
  20. mcollect

    mcollect Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    121
    Loc:
    Garrett County, Md
    It's 2' here and the 550 is keeping us at 70' time to load for the night big oak split and hope it lasts until I wake at 5:30. The propane hasn't kicked on yet. Night all.
  21. Ash Man

    Ash Man New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    35
    Loc:
    Spruce Grove, Alberta
    I've been outdone! Showoff!
  22. Ash Man

    Ash Man New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Messages:
    35
    Loc:
    Spruce Grove, Alberta
    Sorry, my comment was for North of 60!
  23. SmokeyCity

    SmokeyCity Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Messages:
    406
    Loc:
    Western Pa
    winning?... KILLIN em!

    the trick is to tag team. Multiple smaller stoves located where the heat is needed.
    I have 3 stoves ( OK 1 is a coal stove)
  24. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Messages:
    6,848
    Loc:
    Next to nuke plant Berwick, PA.
    Winner, winner, Chicken Dinner.....
    Winner, winner, Hogz Dinner.........
  25. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Double digits here, just the wrong way. Not as bad as North of 60, but still pretty cold. -18* right now.

    My stove is all I use to heat the house. Granted I have the floor heat as a backup, but I avoid using it as much as possible, T Stats are set to 60* It's around 75* in here right now.

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