1850s Cape House looking for the right coat

mainefarmstead Posted By mainefarmstead, Mar 7, 2008 at 11:15 PM

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  1. mainefarmstead

    New Member 2.

    Mar 7, 2008
    Union, ME
    Hello there boiler folks. This is my first post here, and I hope I'm not being too demanding with the following inquiry, but I am tired of chasing my tail on this one.

    We are new and proud owners of a 19th century Cape here in Maine, and I am trying to figure out how to use limited resources --without having to go to the bank-- to renovate a home that a millionaire would probably raize and how to make it an energy-efficient, oil-independent home.

    The best thing we have going for us in this regard is that even though we only own outright about 2 acres of land, we share the rights with several other families to cut firewood (as much as we need) on 180 acres of surrounding land. So that is what brings me to you.

    My intention is to solve all of our heating needs using firewood. (Someday, we'll add solar PVs for our electrical.) So the question is: what is the best way to do this? Okay, so I'm going to take you through my reasoning on this, limited as it is...

    Two other parameters that we have to consider: one is that my partner --she loves to cook, thank the good lord above-- wants to use a wood cookstove and nothing else in the kitchen, and, two, I don't want to use any kerosene, propane, or oil whatsoever. So backups are not an option. (In terms of keeping the pipes from freezing, housesitters will have to do.)

    I was completely sold on building a masonry heater with a copper coil for heating water (and sending it down to a basement-level storage tank for supplying hot water to bathrooms, kitchen, radiators, and radiant heat flooring) and on putting a wood cookstove in the backside of the masonry heater for cooking. The problem with this, of course, is that in the summertime we won't want to fire up either the heater or the cookstove for fear of dying of heat stroke.

    So then I thought, okay, we'll import one of those lovely enameled wood cookstoves from the Old Country, which don't give out as much heat and so can be used in the hot months, and pipe the water through that. However, the EPA apparently would not pleased, and it doesn't seem possible to import those models, anyway. So there goes ideas 1 & 2.

    Finally, recently I discovered gasification boilers. Well, I have no idea how this entire arena of heating has thus far escaped my attention, but now that I've found it I am overjoyed that this may be our answer.

    Am I correct that I could put an HSTarm or one like it in our basement along with a storage tank and heat our home and hot water year-round? I guess we'd be looking at radiant heat flooring and radiators for the space heating, and then some kind of Dr. Seuss set-up with pipes, pumps, controllers, and weezigigs to get the water heated and sent to the bathroom and kitchen. I am not a plumber so I also would imagine a hefty installation bill. Our home is about 1500 sq feet in size.

    I am not totally sure about the availability of a wood cookstove that I could put in the kitchen for year-round usage, but at least I wouldn't need one that could also heat the water. I would be sorry to give up the idea of a masonry heater because I think they are grand and so very efficient, but we'd be at a loss in the summer to heat everything.

    (Unfortunately, the house has not been re-insulated since 1980, but I don't think we can afford to do that quite yet. I know what the heat-loss guys out there are thinking.)

    Okay, so I've been long-winded in asking you what sort of set-up you would design to heat everything by wood, including Idabelle's scrumptious roast chicken, and do you have any idea what this might cost?

    Thank you very much in advance.

    Union, ME
  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson
    Mod Emeritus 2.

    Nov 18, 2005
    Central NYS
    Welcome to the Boiler Room, mainefarmstead.

    Yes, with a gasification boiler you can easily heat your home and hot water year-around.
  3. roninnb

    New Member 2.

    Feb 8, 2008
    New Brunswick Canada
    I've seen one of these heartland in a showroom and it is a beautiful stove. My wife is definitely looking forward to having one of these one day.

    Here is another: Savoy.

    I've seen a third brand but didn't make a mental note of the name, but this may be it.
  4. Jersey Bill

    Jersey Bill
    Member 2.

    Jan 21, 2008
    Central NJ
    I would separate the heating from the cooking. cooking is year round, heating is seasonal.

    in reference to heating, a wood boiler coupled w/ a storage tank is the way to go. the bigger the storage tank, the better.

    You can fairly easily install radiant heat for the 1st floor w/ a staple up system from below. Given your location, you will probably need supplimental baseboards or convectors for 1st floor when its really cold, and for the 2nd floor.

    For domestic, use an indirect water heater.
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