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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. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,762
    Loc:
    WNY
    +1

    Even though technically the Republic is WAY oversized for us (it's rated for 1200-2000 sq ft), the layout we have in addition to location (open fields and lake), older cottage with questionable insulation, leaky windows (two are definately original and we will recaulk them but I'm not replacing them even if they are single pane) and two 6' sliding doors, we still installed a backup ventfree in the dining room to help that part of the Cottage stay warm when it gets really cold. Additionally, I like knowing it's there just in case, since we don't have any other heat source (no furnace).

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  2. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Messages:
    867
    Loc:
    Mid-coast Maine
    -3 to 3 above here and haven't had to run the stove over 400 yet.I do stoke her a little harder than i was though.Was running around 300 till now.Still having trouble moving the air though i'm pushing the cold and have done the tissue in doorways i still have to heat other rooms a little better.Insulation and these double paned windows suck but will work on it.Livingroom is 2 rooms away and at 72 degrees,birdroom is next to stove room and at 69 and stoveroom is 80.All air is moving the right direction but would like to move it a little harder,for now will just have to run a lil hotter.Not sure just what was put under the vinyl siding.Burning my 6"s of coals down right now.WINNING! and very happy,haen't even had to run her hard.
  3. blwncrewchief

    blwncrewchief Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Messages:
    166
    Loc:
    Northern, IN
    Been winning quite easily. With this as the first winter with this stove and house this has been the first time I have got to really test it out. with a little over 1400 sq ft with 10' ceilings and 3 cu ft of stove it has been easy. Been down to 4-6*F the last two nights with highs in the teens and have had no problems keeping in the 70's. Friday night I was gone for a while and set the stove real low when I left so I was down to coals and about 66* in the house when I returned. It was 8* outside and falling so I decided it was time to see what she's got. Loaded her about 3/4 with 6 - 6-8" cherry and maple splits. Let her rip and got it up to 650* stove top in about a half hour, turned the blower on high, set the air at about 15-20% and she settled right in between 650-700*. Started doing some work around the house and an hour or two later I realized I was almost starting to get light headed. Went and checked on the stove and was still crusing about 650 but the house was up to 84* and it was down to 4* outside. By my calculations the stove should have been pushing close to 60K BTU for 3-4 hours to accomplish that rise at that outside temp. I now wish I would have weighed the load of wood so I could have had more accurate measurements. The best I can guess that was 50-60 pound load. So I am very happy as we normally do get -0F temps and sometimes as low as -20F. I wanted a stove that could keep the house up to temp as needed since the electric to the house is run overhead and we are the only house on the end of the line for a quarter mile. Of course this year I have got to work on perfecting my shoulder season heating techniques for the last three months.
  4. sksmass

    sksmass Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Messages:
    186
    Loc:
    Western MA
    Also in Massachusetts and am losing the single-degree battle. The Fireview kept the first floor at about 62-64 degrees this past weekend but never could get it to rise beyond that. Seemed like it was pumping out just as many BTUs as were leaving the building envelope. Running fast just to stay in place so to speak.

    Last night I had to open the doors to the upstairs bedrooms and turn on the oil heat in the upstairs zone for fear that the baseboard pipes would freeze. My IR thermometer said the outside corner of the furthest upstairs bedroom wall was 36F last night, which got my attention.

    But I recognize that a single Fireview was never inetnded to be the sole heat for a big house (2500+sf).
  5. AndrewInCT

    AndrewInCT New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2011
    Messages:
    14
    Loc:
    Oxford,CT
    In CT and losing...

    Jotul 450 keeping the inside temp around 66 max on both floors. (generally between 66 and 64 degrees). Over night and in the morning before reload the boiler kicks in at around 3 am to keep either floor at least at 62.

    I am heating an area larger than the recommended space (approx 2400 sq feet, but good layout for it). When the temp is above 35, the 450 has no problems.

    Wish I had gotten a larger stove, but this was the biggest one that fit the space I had without other alterations ($$$). I am considering getting another stove down the road for the 2nd fireplace on the same floor.

    The other battle with the inserts is that I need to allow time in the wee morning hours for the stove to cool so I can clean it and fill it before work...
  6. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,708
    Loc:
    South Central Indiana
    I have mentioned in other posts that I am in the middle of making a family room down stairs in the basement which is also my garage at the other end.
    I have not got the divider wall up or a ceiling. I tore down all the old aluminum foil looking floor joist coverings that was used as an insulating barrier. House was built in the late 60's.
    What I noticed was taking that barrier down the heat comes up thru the floors as upstairs is all wood floors. Feels like I got cable heating in the floors.
    Maybe I will delay getting that ceiling put up in the basement.

    What I do have completed down stairs are the priority things:
    New Wood Stove
    New 50" TV
    NewCarpet flooring
    Recliner
    Couch
    Futon
    New Ping Pong Table
    Fire wood Box.
    Small Fridge with the beer
    Of Course the kids have the play station 3

    Did I miss anything?
  7. FGZ

    FGZ Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    78
    Loc:
    N.Shore MA
    Glad to hear I'm not the only one with this struggle :gulp:


    Great point. I was calling it "momentum" in my head - several hot fire cycles seemed to help me catch up and stay ahead. One slip where the restart takes too long and you can then only maintain ~5deg less than what you were before. My slip happened right before bed, so I didn't dump as much heat into my thermal mass as I would have liked, but with a 2:30am reload I was still at 72 when I got to it again at 6:30.

    So basically, I can keep up if I try real hard and don't make any mistakes. Insulation refinements and a block off plate should help that.


    That is kind of surprising that you have to clean it out every day. I clean mine Saturday afternoons once too much ash and nails (I burn pallets some) build up on the bottom and start limiting the amount of wood I can shove in. On these hot restarts I have been doing during the single digit fight, I have found that under my bed of hot coals is a bed of unburnt, cold (not red) coals that all need to be stirred up and burned down before I can effectively reload. That one is new by me, the bottom of the stove looked as full Sunday night as it did Friday night even though I cleaned it Saturday! But luckily everything in there is burnable and I just have to stir it up some to finish burning it to ash.
  8. AndrewInCT

    AndrewInCT New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2011
    Messages:
    14
    Loc:
    Oxford,CT
    Well, I neglected to mention that I am mainly burning bio bricks this year, which could be contributing. I've found that I need to clean more often with these than when I burn splits (maybe I need to handle them different than cord wood - or at least moreso than I am doing now.).. On a given cold day like we have today, I'd burn 40-50 bio bricks (about 2-3 packages).
  9. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    WNY
    That's weird, I find less ash from burning ecobricks, which I thought were basically the same except bigger (I think they are about 3lb per brick).
  10. HighHeat22

    HighHeat22 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2011
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    137
    Loc:
    southern michigan
    No ! losing miserable. Underpowered stove for house.
  11. vixster

    vixster Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Messages:
    122
    Loc:
    hudson valley , ny
    Well, I think we are winning. The 3rd floor, our bedroom, drops to about 59-62 with this cold snap. But we only sleep up there, so really perfect sleeping temps. Yesterday we sealed nearly all the windows, and put pink insulation around the floor boards, all of which really helped. This house has NO insulation between the stucco and plaster walls. The plaster has a nice warm heating effect so I don't want to rip the walls open and replace with sheetrock. Plaster just gives off a lovely warmth it retains. The main floor is warm. Last night we fed the stove at 5:00am and had an easy morning. I am refusing to put on the burner and give money to the local gas utility company. And will make sure the next bill reflects that it wasn't being used because I don't trust them! (ORU). There meter readings are really screwy. I can't figure that one out.
  12. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Messages:
    6,212
    Loc:
    Carver, MA.
    ditto very little ash from the few I have burned.. I would not burn just Ecobricks as they could overfire a stove easily..

    Ray
  13. SmokeyCity

    SmokeyCity Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2011
    Messages:
    421
    Loc:
    Western Pa
    It doesn't seem to get as cold as it used to in Pgh. As a kid in the 60s I remember many subzero winters. Now we get an occasional teens or a single digit but we don't seem to be able to crack zero much lately.

    Thanks for the help Mr Gore, but I actually enjoy watching my stoves defy sub zero temps :=)
  14. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    We had 9 degrees last night and the house never went below 69........put three medium locust splits on a bed of coals at 11:00pm and took the 69 degree reading at 6:25am before I left for work. House is around 2800 sq. ft. and it's MEGA-insulated from my recent remodel, that made a world of difference.
  15. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
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    5,248
    Loc:
    Croton-on-Hudson, suburbs of NYC
    I think that my stove not being able to keep up with single digit temps is about the same as my central A/C not being able to keep up with triple digit temps. These are rare conditions for where I live. My setup is pretty good with the usual temps and needs some help with the extremes. A stove that could keep my house comfy in single digits would roast us out most of the heating season. I have a furnace and I am not afraid to use it from time to time if need be. I do like to not use it, but I will if I have to.
  16. FireWalker

    FireWalker Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Messages:
    380
    Loc:
    Lake George
    One good thing about these cold snaps is, it's really easy to locate infiltration points, just move your hand around and feel for cold air. I spent my sunday in the basement insulating and sealing up drafts, every little bit helps!

    Regarding the battle of the delta T? I'm winning but if I had to be away for more than 5 hours or so the oil man would be winning, it was cold up here the last few nights. Truth be told, we use the furnace when it gets cold like this.........it's just so nice to have hot floors (radiant in floor heat) when it's so cold out. My Equinox can keep us warm in our living space but does little for the basement so being able to suppliment with some oil heat is a nice thing and I don't mind spending the money. I just dropped below 3/4's full on my one tank (275 gallon) of oil for the year. I'd dare say the heating season is half over so we are doing just fine. I'm running a little better than expected on wood use, I'm less than half way thru my January wood row, it was 19 feet long and 5 feet high and it is mostly oak!

    Keep warm out there!
  17. ohlongarm

    ohlongarm Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Messages:
    723
    Loc:
    Northeastern Ohio
    No problem here,there's nothing that mother nature can hit us with here that me and the King cannot handle,house never goes below 72 and I'm not running him hard,haven't even brought out the real serious wood yet. Been burning mostly white oak some cherry a little ash. When it really gets cold got a chit load of BL,Hickory,and Hedge he will be fed,coldest here this year -3 wind chill.
  18. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    WNY
    We have, but we usually throw in two splits, one on each side n/s. You definately need to use them when you're home for a few times to get to know how your stove will react. I usually use between 2-5 depending on the weather and burn time we need, and they usually max the stove top temp out at 750, although it tried to creep past that last night on a hot reload with three (I just popped on the blower). You really need to learn where the air control needs to be-they do burn hot.
  19. nyokie

    nyokie New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    25
    Loc:
    southwest CT
    We kept up fairly well for not having oh so great wood this year. Was in the mid single digits last night and our furnace never came on but was about 62 upstairs. Lil chilly but my oil tank gauge didnt move so im happy :)
  20. Dexter

    Dexter Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Messages:
    206
    Loc:
    Boulder County, CO
    We normally have milder winters than you might expect, but punctuated with a few intense cold snaps, with temps -5 to -15 f. It was hard to stay comfortable with just wood, but we could manage with lots of reloads.

    Then we got additional attic insulation, up to... I'm not sure... R55? It's deep. We also got new, very tight windows.

    Before= about 4.33 to 4.5 cords per winter

    Now= about 3 to 3.33 cords per winter, and the overnight burn is sufficient during cold snaps. (Don't have to reload in the middle of the night, even at -10. Upstairs bedroom at 60, downstairs at 64 in the morning -- but that's ok, it warms up fast.) I'm convinced that most improvement came from the attic insulation.

    regards,
  21. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,440
    Loc:
    Delaware, Ohio
    Oh yeah, I'm winning. Not Charlie Sheen winning, but actually winning.

    That is the beauty of an oversized stove. It's hell (or, at least it feels like it) in mild weather though. Hard to get just a little bit of heat.

    -SF
  22. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    703
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    With both stoves going we beat this short cold snap. Temps are forecast to rise through the night to the mid 40's tomorrow. Main living area (Kit, LR, DR & Study) stayed in the low 70's. The coal stove kept downstairs in the mid to upper 70's and the bedrooms stayed in the upper 60's.

    We have a "cat gauge" to let us know how well we are doing. If they are on the rug opposite the wood stove all is perfect. If they are on the wood floor right near the hearth the stove is cooling down. When they are on the hearth there is probably not enough coals to re-start the stove. If they jump into the bed looking for a warm place to sleep then the weather has won this round...

    KaptJaq
  23. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    That is strange that you can't heat a 1200 sq ft house better than you are even if you get below zero. So far this year we've not had any below zero but have seen zero. I do not have an indoor temperature gauge but we have checked and we keep the house above 80 degrees. On the coldest night this year I did fill the stove (only filled it a few times so far this winter) and the house stayed nice and warm all night. Stove down to coals in the morning but it quickly started back up when we added wood. If memory serves me (sometimes it doesn't) that was an 11 hour burn and I am certain the house never got below 80 degrees except perhaps the far bedroom but we prefer it a bit cooler there.
  24. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Mid-coast Maine
    That a boy Dennis,keep her warm but maybe just a tad cooler. %-P
  25. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Messages:
    27,815
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Hey Bub, I do have a physical problem that requires some extra heat. The wife suffers a bit and seems to run a fan a lot but the best part is it forces the females to remove more clothing. Nope. We'll keep it warm. lol

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