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Portable wood stove for emergency heat? In house, safe, possible?

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Ajax, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Ajax

    Ajax Monkey++

    My house doesn't have a fire place or a good place to set up a permanent wood burning furnace.

    We have a kerosene heater and a propane burner for cooking and heating but I was thinking about ways to use wood for emergency heat and cooking since long term wood would be more available than propane or K-1.

    Would it be possible to set up a small or medium size wood stove like in the link below and route the vent out of a window up higher than the stove using some sort of heat rated rig where you could run the exhaust out the middle of the window so the heat doesn't get near the walls? Maybe this would be hard to do right but I figured it would be worth looking into. It would let me have another option for emergencies but would be something I wouldn't have to cut a hole in the roof or wall and could set it up as needed. How much fresh air coming in would you need for a stove like that?

    Wood Stove

    If not does anyone know of a way to use wood heat in the house, safely without remodeling? I helped my dad set up a nice wood burning furnace when I was a kid but I don't know all the technical details of how you have to run the exhaust, I know it's not a simple as running the exhaust outside any way you want.
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Yep, Lots of folks have setups like that. Things you should look for:
    1. Find a small Glass Window near where you could safely setup the Stove, and then build a Stove/Chimney, insulated, replacement for that window, using some Fire Rated material and your Stove Flue Pipe, (Thimble) then route your Wood Stove Pipe thru that, and then once outside, Vertical a good 10 feet to a RainHat, or other suitable FlueTop.
    2. Set the Stove up on a minimum 4 Ft Square Piece of Fire Rated Material, so that when the Loading Door is open, any embers, falling out of the Stove, will on the Fire Rated Material, and NOT on the room flooring.
    3. If at all possible, setup the Stove Air Intake, so that it does NOT Draw Room Air into the FireBox, but uses air from, either the Room below, or the Crawl Space below the Floor. This keeps the Stove generated Heat in the Room, rather than using it to feed the fire. It also keeps the DRAFT working in a Vertical (Heat Rises) Flow.

    You can get the system all designed, and the Flue Piping, and Window Thimble, all setup without actually spending money for the Stove right off. Especially if money is tight, The setup is a lot less than the Stove, itself, which can come when finances allow....
  3. Ajax

    Ajax Monkey++

    That's good to know, what I'm hoping is I can prebuild some sort of kit that doesn't require any permanent changes and then if ever needed I could set it up and leave it for however long we need it and get some good heat and cooking use in the winter.

    Does a stove like what I linked to have to have a air intake? If so could it be in the form of some type of hose or duct work that runs from the rig in the window? I'm on a cement slab and brick walls.
  4. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King Site Supporter

    It appears that those stoves have a front intake (the round thing with triangular holes that looks a little like a radiation symbol), so you really would not have an easy option for drawing air from elsewhere.

    Please take into account that BT is in Alaska and has somewhat tougher heating requirements than most of us...I have never had a problem with a front draw stove in the lower 48...

    Also note that those stoves have the hole for the stovepipe on the top of the chamber...the updraft factor he mentioned is more of an issue with the pipes that come out the back and then turn up...
  5. Ajax

    Ajax Monkey++

    It gets in the single digits here some times but no more than a month or so, mostly in the 20's and 30's through the winter. I don't think I would need something to heat the hole house just something to keep a room warm at night and if I needed it long term wood is easier to come by.

    I'll try to put some thought into it and come back with a crude drawing or something and see what you guys think and what else I can do to make it better.

    Right now I'm thinking something like the link above or at least something with a stovepipe out the top, a rig on the window and pipe going up about 10 feet. I just need to think of a way to secure the chimney.
  6. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    make sure that you chimny raises above your roof line....
    chelloveck likes this.
  7. KAS

    KAS Monkey++

    also im not sure how handy u are with welding but this stove is pretty easy to make if u go to the scrap yard and buy 2 ft of 20 inch pipe or so with some plate on top then add in all the features u want... {if u can weld and use a torch }
    but if u dont have a clue about it its better to just buy one...
  8. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Built a replica of a "Papa Bear" 20 yrs ago. Getting ready to install it on our back patio and duct it into the heating system. For installations inside you can actually bore a 1 1/2 inch hole or a series of smaller to supply fresh air for combustion. If your home is built tight then this is a must. For our home we simply leave a slight crack in the window near the wood stove. Have seen heater pipes run through window panes made of tin, out beyond the roof overhang, and up. A draft damper is a must just outside your heater to prevent downdrafts from blowing embers/sparks into your room. Also a regular damper will slow fuel consumption. Seriously recommend putting sheet metal screws into the joints of your flue pipes. At least three per joint as these will prevent high winds from taking them apart. A bonnet cap is needed also to help prevent down drafts and rain/birds from entering. That "Papa Bear" kept our two story warm and cozy. Weighs about 500 #s because I baffled it with 1" plate, 1/2" top, and 3/8 sides. Then there is the air chamber surrounding it and 8 2" pipes through the firebox. The thing is a "tank" but sure works nice. Wood heat is wonderful but bears great care in installation/operation. My sister lost her home because of embers blown back under her roof on a windy day.
    Witch Doctor 01 likes this.
  9. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I used to roof houses, and If I remember correctly, the rule was the top of the stack had to be a minimum of three feet above, and ten feet away from the nearest roof point. Also, houses are now designed with a combustion air feed for your gas furnaces. This is just a clay pipe (in old houses) straight down the chimney chase, or ( as I converted mine to modern) a 3-4 inch PVC pipe through the foundation wall (above grade) with a down turn on the outside intake (I added a screen for bugs) and terminates within a foot or two to the burn chamber of the furnace. Since it is not hot air, twists and turns don't matter much. It is the nearest form of combustion air for any fire, and the lowest pressure needed to draw it, so it does not suck your heated room air into the fire.
  10. Ajax

    Ajax Monkey++

    What's the technical reason for making sure the chimney goes a few feet above the peek?

    If you were to tie a wood heater into the main duct work would it still provide a good amount of heat if there is no electricity and does it require a lot more fuel? Or are you better with a area heater with no juice?

    Maybe I should just go all out and tie something in and leave it in the garage. I just want to make sure it can be used in emergencies.
  11. oth47

    oth47 Monkey+

    There's been a lot of wood heaters and cookstoves set up thru a window with nothing but stovepipe for a chimney.Saw a lot of that when I was a kid.My son set up a heater like that a couple of years ago when the money for propane ran out.Not something I'd recommend for a permanent fix,but whatever works when you're cold..
  12. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    The chimney has to be high enough to draw without getting into the influence of wind on the structure, thus (IIRC) has to be 3 feet above the nearest point of the roof, and 10 feet horizontally from the nearest point on the slope of the roof. This is both for draft and sparks. There are drawings to illustrate the requirements in the code.

    Not sure what you mean about tying it into the main duct work. If you mean put the wood stove smoke pipe into your existing chimney, that'll work, following the building codes. Depending on the size of the existing chimney it may not be allowed. But if you mean put the smoke pipe into a hot air duct, well, don't.

    The stove might not put out enough heat for the whole house. There are some sizing issues that most stove mfrs talk about. My guess, without looking at the sales data, is that these "portable" stoves are not designed for much more than a tent.
    chelloveck likes this.
  13. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Not above the peak. above the wood roof it passes through. The reason is sparks. burning stuff carried up the pipe on the thermal must have time to cool before it lands on your roof. If you have a fire place vent near the eaves you want it to extend at least 3 feet up above the roof. to the side you want no less than ten feet before your hot sparks hit your roof. If you have a roof vent at the peak, it should extend up 3 feet. At least by the rules I remember.
    EDIT: If you are thinking of running the exhaust from your wood burner through you house duct work DO NOT! You could kill everyone in the house! Your house furnace works by drawing cool air through a return air to the furnace to be heated, then driven by a blower though the ducts to the vents and back to the cool air return. It is a cycle. You would be using the entire house as the smoke stack. READ DEATH! DO NOT!
  14. Ajax

    Ajax Monkey++

    LOL, I wasn't talking about running the exhaust going through the duct work, but thanks for bringing it up, you can't be too careful with stuff like this.

    I was kind of changing gears and thinking about putting in a full size professional wood heater made for a house as a backup or supplementation heater by running the heat output through the duct work and chimney outside. My gas heater is in the garage so I could technically put something in the garage that was more permanent. I'm just wondering if you can still operate it without electricity so no fan blowing the heat through the house.

    Back to the portable, so if I had it run out the window and up near the gutter I would just need to make sure it is 10 feet from the nearest point of the roof. The hard part there is figuring out how to rig something up like that, sturdy enough and that isn't permanent.
    chelloveck likes this.
  15. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    And three feet above the bare ends of the shingles, not the gutter. You also have to make sure the slope of the roof stays below ten feet horizontally from the open end of the smoke pipe. The rain cap does not count in that calculation. You are right about the hard part being the temporary roof and/or siding attachment.

    It isn't clear to me what having the gas fired water heater in the garage has to do with rightness or wrongness of putting in a whole house wood burner. That said, if I were to put in a wood burner to heat the house, I'd surely want to look at a heat exchanger to get burner jacket heat into the house ducts. Consider also that without a fan, all you will have to drive the air is gravity, and I'm betting the house is on or close to the same elevation as the garage, so there won't be a gravity head to drive air flow. Think of what was called a "gravity furnace" at the turn of the last century; my grandparents had a coal burner in the basement, heated a two story house.
  16. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    If all you want is a stable temporary stack mount, do what the Indians did, and build a tripod. Three rods or pipes through bolted at one end and spread into a tripod. then hang you cap and attached (screwed) stack from the top.
  17. Ajax

    Ajax Monkey++

    I was referring to the gas central heating system for the house. I see what you mean and the house is the same level as garage, I don't have a basement either.

    Maybe some thing like that would work if I ran the pipe out the window several fee and then up.
  18. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Has a pot of water been mentioned ?

    If not...Set a open pot of water on top of the stove...This will help keep a little moisture in the air and not dry out the nose so badly...Gator's like water..lol
    chelloveck and BTPost like this.
  19. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Kettle on the Stove that heats the Cabin, works well...Just have to remember to refill it every four days, or so...
    chelloveck and Gator 45/70 like this.
  20. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Depends on the size of the pot! [touchdown] [winkthumb] [gone]
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