Subtle way to sway my dad's thinking?

warno Posted By warno, Jan 1, 2016 at 11:42 AM

  1. warno

    warno
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    So short story first:

    Dad has been burning wood for heat for about 30 years now. Naturally he's kind of stuck in his methods of thinking as far as dying and burning goes. He's ok with cutting rounds leaving them for a year or so then splitting and burning the wood. I keep trying to subtly tell him we need to get the rounds split up and stacked but this is how's he done it for decades so it works for him. He also told me most wood is good in a year to burn, which is true to some extent, then in the next breath he said hedge is good to burn green because it doesn't pick up much water anyway. I told him the last hedge pieces I cut had sap running out of them. He said well wait a year then burn it.

    This is my first year burning so I know I have ALOT to learn. But I understand split wood dries faster then rounds. So I ask, what's the best way to try to say my father's thinking about burning wood? Have any of you guys had this dilemma?
     
  2. Applesister

    Applesister
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    Leave your Dads pride intact, just sweep his chimney for him. I argued with my father all the time, you know cause the apples don't fall too far from the tree.
    And taking advise from upstarts is hard to do. ;)
     
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  3. D8Chumley

    D8Chumley
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    Some people are set in their ways and there's just no changing them. I'm a first gen wood burner in my family, got my first stove free from the in laws when they divorced and sold the house. Inherited a barely used Federal Airtight that he wasn't much help with because he just burned scraps from the millwork shop he owned, and that wasn't much. After my first chimney fire burning wood I just split, I found this forum and my burning experiences have been steadily better as I gained more knowledge from the members here. Maybe have him spend a little time here, or see how this thread progresses and have him read the suggestions posted? Good luck and Happy New Years!
    Edit: I'd at least try to relieve him of the hedge, maybe swap him for something else so you can benefit from it when properly seasoned?
     
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  4. Supersurvey

    Supersurvey
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    You may just have to take over some of the cutting, chopping and splitting for him.
     
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  5. jatoxico

    jatoxico
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    It comes up some with me and my Dad and with other folks I know now and then. I usually just point out that the "new" stoves are different and need drier wood. Sometimes I'll mention even the older stoves can benefit from dry wood too but I try not go on about it unless asked.
     
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  6. NordicSplitter

    NordicSplitter
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    Take some free time when you have it and go ahead and Bless your Dad by splitting all of his rounds for him. After about 2 seasons, he will realize the faster you split them the faster they will season. :)
     
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  7. Poindexter

    Poindexter
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    Best I can think of is get his flue clean and give a face cord of good dry wood.

    He'll either be convinced, or not.
     
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  8. The46Zone

    The46Zone
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    I find a lot of people that I know who burn, split and stack asap so the drying process can begin. I have no luck with cutting rounds and letting them sit for a year then split and burn right away. Just my opinion but if it works for him it works.
     
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  9. Mike Z

    Mike Z
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    I find that the stuff I split, mostly red and white oak, splits easiest when it's green - I use a carrot analogy: a raw carrot has snap to it and an aging carrot won't snap; green wood de-laminates easier when struck if it is green. That may not be true for all species and my experience is in splitting by hand. I'd suggest splitting some for him and let him run a side by side comparison next winter. Otherwise, if he's happy his way, just let it pass.
     
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  10. melloyello

    melloyello
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    Split some for him this year and give it to him to use next year. Or better yet split some oak and let it sit for 2 years then give it to him. Only give him a cord that way he has to use his recently split wood that same season too. That way he will see the difference in the way the stove reacts to the wood. If the 2 year old oak doesn't change his mind just let him be.
     
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  11. Ashful

    Ashful
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    Well, not knowing if he's a rocket scientist or a floor sweeper, I'll suggest some simple math. At a minimum, you can show how burning dry wood can save a ton (or literally, a few tons) of gathering and splitting work, each year.

    A 3 cu.ft. stove an hold 115 lb of freshly cut red oak, or 79 lb of the same at 20% MC, the difference of 36 lb being entirely water. Either way, that load contains roughly a half-million BTU, but in the case of wetter wood you'll be spending at least an additional 20,000 BTU per load, raising that 36 lb of water at least 500F. Figure on blowing at least 40k BTU of each load to get a non-cat re-burn, if he's running an EPA non-cat stove.

    I'd rather not throw away an unnecessary 10% of each load of wood, but to each his own.
     
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  12. D8Chumley

    D8Chumley
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    I'm with Ashful, good points
     
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  13. heavy hammer

    heavy hammer
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    If you take over the cutting splitting and stacking, just keep track what is the driest wood and keep working from there. He will definitely see the difference in wood seasoned two to three years. Sometimes when you just keep up on the wood work like that they will see the difference. My father truly became a fan of getting a couple years ahead on firewood this year. All it took was for him to throw some three year old beech and shag bark hickory into his insert this year. Even my mother said to him the insert seems to be throwing out much more heat with using less wood. It's hard to change someone's stance on certain things trust me been there. But you give this a try you will win him over, and if not you will be better off for the coming years.
     
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  14. warno

    warno
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    Well the hedge is technically "mine" to burn but he was yelling me that it's good to go now. I planned to let it sit for 2 years.

    As far as his chimney cleaning goes. He cleans about it 3 times a season. Once at start up to knock the cob webs and whatever else out, again about half way through, and again at the end of the season. I've helped him clean it out and there's only about a coffee can size pile of flaky stuff in it. And I think there's about 30 feet of chimney in the house.

    He's burning an old non cat furnace. He's talked about getting a new one, but hasn't pulled that trigger yet.
     
  15. D8Chumley

    D8Chumley
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    Seems to be working ok for him if that's all he's getting after a cleaning, but there's always room for improvement ;)
     
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  16. jatoxico

    jatoxico
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    As an aside and at the risk of being the contrarian I would guess many old stoves are not set up to take advantage of wood dried to the quality needed for an EPA unit. If they (the stoves) can't cut air enough and are free breathers they may get pretty good performance using what they have always used.

    I sometimes think we fail to realize that not all old timers were knuckle heads with clogged flues and daily chimney fires. Some came to some reasonable conclusions using the set ups they had.
     
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  17. BIGDADDY

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    No matter if the wood is burned in an old stove or the newest EPA stove or just outside the fire will burn better and hotter with lower moisture content because it uses less of its energy burning off the higher moisture. It's that simple and no one called anyone knuckle heads.
     
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  18. jatoxico

    jatoxico
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    No reason to get offended. As an example I have a friend with an older stove with an 8" flue about 14' long. Filling that stove with 3 yr dried would result in an over-fire. It's simply not set up for it and would be like filling my stove with kindling. He uses wood that is seasoned over 1 summer, I would guess its 25% moisture give or take. His house is warm and and his flue stays clean.

    So in that case and the physical realities of trying to burn water aside (cause I do get it), it really doesn't make sense to change what he's doing and I don't try to talk him into changing. Now if he wanted to add a baffle and make a few other changes he could save wood and put less particulates in the atmosphere but he's not complaining.
     
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  19. BIGDADDY

    BIGDADDY
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    My soon to be 82 year old father burns wood, in a Vermont castings Vigilant which is over 30 years old, with a similar moisture content. I guess his major concern must be over firing also. Ha ha!!
     
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  20. warno

    warno
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    I'm not sure the brand on dad's stove but it has a baffle plate in it that forces the smoke to travel across the top of the flames to get out of the flue pipe. It burns clean when you look at the chimney from the outside of the house. Honestly how dad's been doing it works for him. But I figured it could be better. Maybe drier wood might cause a over fire in his stove. He did say the crack that formed in the upper area of the stove came from an over fire.
     
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  21. jatoxico

    jatoxico
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    Hey Warno didn't mean to derail you and you may be right there could be room for improvement. If you have a load of dry wood to try out in your father's stove give it a whirl. I was just saying that while there's plenty of old schoolers that could stand to learn a thing or two, not everyone needs saving.
     
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  22. warno

    warno
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    I know. I keep saying things like "I've been reading online" this or that. But I didn't think that was quite the best way of bringing it up. That's why I started this thread.
     
  23. jatoxico

    jatoxico
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    There are EPA or other gov't documents on the topic but not everyone is receptive. If he's splitting and it's going right into the furnace then there probably is room to improve but it's like the pine discussion, you can tell in 5 sec if someone is willing consider new ideas.

    I always found @Ashful approach most convincing. When you actually calculate how much water is in green vs. dry wood it's pretty hard to argue that dry wood doesn't burn hotter.
     
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  24. jb6l6gc

    jb6l6gc
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    I would have to agree with that, if i fill my hot last with really good dry stuff she will over fire for sure as it's definitely not controllable like the new units. I've had a cpl close calls and can only do small loads of well seasoned stuff. Won't have to worry when I get the tundra next year
     
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  25. warno

    warno
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    When I say he splits then stacks for burning. The rounds usually sit for at least a year or better. So basically its as seasoned as it can be in round form.
     

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