Heating the house

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by ghrit, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. Oil or kerosene

    2 vote(s)
  2. Electricity (heat pump)

    2 vote(s)
  3. Electricity (straight resistance)

    3 vote(s)
  4. Wood / coal

    11 vote(s)
  5. Natural gas

    5 vote(s)
  6. Propane

    1 vote(s)
  7. Other

    0 vote(s)
  1. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    None (or precious few) of us are in the woods, doing a Ted Bundy. So what is your primary heat source, and why? What is your backup plan for when that source can't be used because the power is out, the snow is too deep for the delivery truck or any one or another common happenings?

    Pick one, and mention the second (or third) in a post.

  2. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    We use wood for our heating. We do also have a couple of electric heaters for the bedrooms just to make it a bit easier to get out of the bed in the mornings when the stove has died out. Doing without the electric isnt a big problem and as far as the wood goes, Im going back to work doing tree trimming where the wood is a waste product, there are a couple of saw mills not to far away where the slab wood is free for the takeing (so long as you clean up your mess) and if all of those fail then we do have some timber on our farm and a bunch more close by where we could likely cut. I have a few chain saws and axes and want to get a 2 man cross cut saw and a buck saw in case comes to that, but dont see us being likely to not be able to come up with wood or something to burn.

    Some of the time if we have been gone and want to help warm the place up quicker or for heating a garage or what not, will use the propane kitchen stove (natural gas works same and use a camp stove if a kitchen stove isnt there) and put a clay flower pot or 2 upside down over the burners and turn them on. Its absolutely amazeing how much heat it will put off. One pot on medium heat was the sould heat source for my first appartment which was VERY drafty and poorly insulated and kept it HOT.
  3. sheen_estevez

    sheen_estevez Monkey+++

    We have natural gas, I've thought about going with an outdoor burner for the house, but I'd have to secure a supplier of the wood.
  4. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    If you dont mind cutting it to size and splitting it then its not to hard. In most rural areas you can go out and cut it yourself BUT if you live in a city then get in touch with soem of the tree trimming companies. If you have a spot they can drive to and will let them dump whatever logs they happen to have that day there then a lot of tree companies will be thrilled to give you as much as you want. After they cut down or trim tres then unless they have a woodlot and sell it later (which few do) then they have to generaly pay to dump the wood. I they have to cut it to size and stack it of and only bring such and such kinds of wood then its not worth it to most of them most of the time but if you just want the raw material and let them pull up, dump whatever logs and go then you could likely get all you wanted or more delivered to you for free.

    That said, while the outside wood furnaces are great as a normal times heat source, keep in mind that just like other meathods, if the lights go of then the thermostat and blower stop and you get nothing from it,if its a regular old wood stove though then its still warm when the lights go out, its a trade of but something some dont think of with them.
  5. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    We only heat with wood, no electric fans for circulating. The house can get way to hot if I don't whatch what I'm doing. We have had the electric go out while cooking breakfest so it just got transfer from the kitchen stove to the wood stove, so did the coffee. Breakfest was done and the electric was still out but we had hot breakfest and coffee.

  6. sheen_estevez

    sheen_estevez Monkey+++

    Very true point about power going out. I have many friends that have switched to the pellet stoves as their main heat, but the way I look at that is then I have to rely on a company selling the pellets and pay the price they want, not that I don't have it now with natural gas. A friend of mine installs the outdoor burners, he figures it would be a good few years before the investment is paid for and real savings are seen. Securing a wood supply around my parts is easy, the hardest thing would be transportation in many cases. All you have to do is drive around and find someone starting to build, most of the time they will give you the wood as long as you haul it away.

    My thoughts one of these day is to get the outdoor burner and then switch out my fireplace from a natural gas fireplace to a wood fireplace. Since everything is in place it's just a matter of putting in the fire box and the flue and I'm all set.
  7. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    Right now we only have electric and I hate it. But I have kerosene back-ups and a fireplace.
    When I build the new house it will be super insulated and have propane for the primary source. I like propane. It stores indefinately. A thousand gallon tank will last for a year or more in a well insulated home.
  8. Wild Trapper

    Wild Trapper Pirate Biker

    Primary heat is wood fired outdoor boiler. One boiler heats both my home and my son's. Our other heat source for me is propane and for my son is fuel oil. We have enough wood just for our own needs for a few years, so we only try to cut the trees that are needed to be removed from the edge of the fields and the dead of dying trees in the woods. There may come a time when we will have to start buying wood, as I would rather buy it than cut all the trees I have.
  9. duanet

    duanet Monkey+++

    We heat with wood. In Southern NH you can still buy a grapple truck load for about $600. Usually about 20 ft long sections and 8 to 9 cords in a load. Have about 20 cords of standing timber on place, but want to save it for future. It takes about 4 cords to heat place for a winter. Have about 20 cords split and stacked. Got another truck coming when he gets a load ahead. So far wood costs nothing. Keep at least 2 years ahead and my about $50 to 70 a cord, plus labor, the dry 2 year old surplus sells for $200 to 250 a cord and helps to pay taxes and rotates the supply. Would like to have at least 30 cords on hand. I like playing with the tractor and splitter and wood on a cool fall day.

    Spent a lot of money for a good wood stove. Made by Pacific Energy in Canada and will heat my 1200 square foot place with no problem. Fill it 3 or 4 times a day when it is 0 out and once a day now in April. IMHO I would rather have a Russian bolt action rifle and a $1800 stove and $900 stainless steel chimney liner that will give me controlable heat and 30 to 50 percent more heat from a cord of dry wood than a $1800 black rifle and a barrel stove. Spent the extra money and got the one my wife wanted, gold trim, tile pad with oak trim, glass door, cast iron teakettle and all. Looks pretty, sides and back stay cool, sits in the living room and unlike the old stove, I don't have to try to talk 5 friends into helping me move the ugly old stove and tin pad out of the house in the spring and back in in the fall. You can cook on the top and we got an oven that sits on it and works fine for bread and such. Coming up on 46 years of wedded bliss? and have long ago learned that if the wife doesn't like it, it doesn't work, and the worst part is that she usually is right. The average cost of fuel oil in Maine last winter was right at $4,000 per the news last week. The wood stove, chimney liner, log splitter, and chainsaw all cost me about that over a period of time and about a 100% return on your investment isn't bad and it is in place so I didn't have to come up with $800 for an oil delivery. The stove has a fan with a thermostat that blows the heat out and makes the heat in the house more even, the thermostat that controls the burn is not electric and the heat output is the same with no electric power. We have been very happy with the stove, but we now are looking for a good wood and propane kitchen cook stove. Will need another chimney for that so I now am finding out why all the old houses in Newe England had 3 or 4 chmneys sticking out of the roof and drool as I drive by.
  10. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    We don't generally heat the house; it isn't needed except maybe a few nights during the winter. If it gets cool inside, we might build a fire in the fireplace. We look forward to the nights when it is cool enough to build a fire.
  11. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    I live in Florida, there are about 2 weeks a year when we have the heat on and that can easily be subsidized by a dog and/or a few extra blankets.

    It's the summer that'll suck.
  12. MbRodge

    MbRodge Monkey+++

    I use the traditional Russian-style central heat system.....Take a shot of vodka every time you start to feel cold. Warms you right up! Seriously though, I live in Hawaii in military housing, I haven't actually checked to see if the heat works or if we even have it.
  13. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Wood stove on the main floor, pellet stove downstairs, with electric baseboard heat as an expensive backup for the main floor and upstairs bedroom area.

    We had talked about getting another pellet stove to replace the wood stove - for the ease and comfort of our old age - but decided against it due to its dependence on electricity for successful heating. Besides, it's good to have options and I really like having the wood stove option for cooking, which the pellet stove does not allow.
  14. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    What Tracy said but would add that the old pellet stove in the basement has the option of running on a 12 volt battery, so it will not be replaced. I like this option if the power ever went out, newer pellet stoves are 110volt, no options for 12volt that I'm aware of on newer pellet stoves. However, I have contemplated putting the woodstove in the basement to keep the wood mess out of the main floor of the house. Either way, I do need to add floor vent grilles so heat from the basement could get to the bedroom floor with the use of fans or natural drafting of air from one floor to the other.

    I will eventually replace my 50 yr. old electric baseboard heaters with either hydronic baseboard heaters or hydronic underfloor tubing. I'll probably go with baseboards instead of underfloor tubing because we have oak hardwood floors and you can't run as hot of a temp. of water through tubing when you have hardwood floors, it could dry out the wood more than it already is and buckle it. Hydronic heating isn't a cheap sytem to install, especially if you go with a boiler instead of a couple of water heaters designated for the hydronic system. However, the boiler is a better and more efficient sytem and doesn't require as large of a hot water storage as water heaters, since boilers heat water a lot faster. However, I don't like the idea of being dependent on natural gas to heat my home, so using a natural gas fired boiler would not be in my best interest.

    I have looked into the outside woodburning stoves and would like to figure out a way to incorporate this into a hydronic system with a heat exchanger inside the firebox. If one doesn't exist I would imagine I could figure out a way to do so but without having an engineer designing the system I would probably be in some sort of liability risk if I decided to sell the home and somebody blew themselves up or something terrible happened within the system, even if I put all the proper safety devices into the sysytem.

    Hydronic heat is very efficient and gives you that warm feeling throughout your body like wood heat, radiant heat. It would be the best of both worlds, two radiant heat systems that would work in conjunction with one another.

    One problem though, $$$$$$$$$$$$$
  15. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    A lot of wood burning or coal burning going on here contributing to pollution [gone]
  16. BAT1

    BAT1 Cowboys know no fear

    We have a fire place I converted to a gas fireplace. They also make a kit that taps a forced air fireplace heater that exists already into the central duct system. I'm still working on my project of putting old frig coils on the roof in series in the thermal system I found on this site. You can not only tie it into your water heater system but also through your central system before the fan, say in the intake/filter chamber. Just use coils that will fit. The recirculation pump just carries it through the whole route. The nieghbor asked what it was, and I told him it was a galactic antenna. Hey it could work.
  17. SLugomist

    SLugomist Monkey++

    They use passive solar to heat pool water, maye that could be an option for your floor boards.
  18. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    I would love to hear about your progress with this (maybe even some photos?). Save me searching for the original thread ;) and let us know if you ran into any difficulties (or found a better way to do any of the steps) throughout the process.
  19. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I would think you could have the wood furnace outside and use the heat from it to heat water then have the cater circulate in and just use it as the boiler. Could even do it relatively on the cheap I would think with a steel drum or some such over the fire box then the tubeing running off with a small pump in line on the outgoing and dumps in on the top after running the circut. Have the pump wired into the thermostat same as the power for the fan to bring the heat in. When room cools fire whips up when it reaches temp in the surounding box blows hot air through vents AND turns on pump to circulate hot water into circuit. The water inthe tank, especialy if insulated and larger to help the thermal mass should stay hot a good long time once hot so should still be hot from last cycle. If wanted to could even skip the pump and seal the unit (just make sure to have presure blow off vaulve) then have a holding tank large enouph to fill the tubeing over the main tank with a check vaulve that lets it drain down into the main tank. Water heats, steam pushes water into tubes and cold water into mini tank then once enouph water out to lower pressure vaulve lets water drain in to reheat....I think....just spit balling late at night. lol
  20. ColtCarbine

    ColtCarbine Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Is it similiar to this? What type of heat source did you tap into hydronic, forced air? What do these cost?

    Aspen Series Outdoor Wood Furnace

    Aspen SeriesThe Aspen Series outdoor wood furnace is designed to replace often-banned, low-efficiency outdoor wood boilers. When this high-efficiency unit is combined with a radiant, baseboard, forced-air or other space-heating heating system, it can reduce heating bills by 70%. Each Greenwood Aspen Series outdoor wood furnace is:

    Clean. The Aspen Series operates cleanly burn wood completely, leaving virtually no particles to create smoke or ash.

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    Certified Safe. Meets strict UL and CSA standards for safe operation.

    Low Maintenance. Aspen Series models do not need to be cleaned as often as wood stoves or inefficient outdoor furnaces.

    Simple. The design removes known failure points that are part of all dual-fuel systems and is designed for easy maintenance.

    EPA Qualified. The Aspen Series exceeds new strict emission limits for sale in areas where traditional outdoor wood boilers have come under strict regulation.

    95** 175 350

    8-hr Sustained Output

    70,000 BTUH 100,000 BTUH 175,000 BTUH

    Max. Rated Output

    150,000 BTUH 230,000 BTUH 430,000 BTUH

    Comparable Heating Area * (square feet)
    up to 2,500 SF up to 6,000 SF up to 12,000 SF

    * square footage based sizing is unreliable, always base sizing on sustained output
    ** Available 2009

    Aspen Series Features

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