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godzillamax
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Posted: 3/22/2013 11:03:01 AM
My wife and I decided to get back to our rural roots after six years of living in the suburbs south-west of Minneapolis, MN. We just purchased a home on 8 acres in a rural part of western Wisconsin that is buttressed up against about 100 acres of farm land and close by a heavily forested state park. About half my land is wooded, with a good size pond in a corner. The other half is pasture land, and there is a nice fairly new 40'-60' pole barn with two horse stalls inside (my wife owns two quarter horses and used to do barrel races, now we mostly just trail ride). The home, built in 1989, has a wood burning stove on the floor level. It looks to be fairly new. The homeowner indicated that it effectively heats the house during the fall, winter, and spring which saves a lot on the gas bill. I've never lived in a home with a wood burning stove (just a fireplace), and have no idea about using one. My father-in-law for a side business (he is a retired farmer/mill worker) buys timber that was cleared locally and then splits it and sells it locally for firewood. He sells it for something like $75 a pick-up truck load ($100 delivered), but said he would give it to us free (though I would give him like $50 a truckload when we pick some up).

I'm pretty excited about this because our cold season is lengthy here in the upper mid-west and heating a home can get expensive. I'm still going to have a gas bill since that will be used to heat water for showers, dishes, cooking, etc. Also excited that our home has a well so I won't be shelling out $70/month for a water bill like I do in the burbs on city water. Best part is that, from a prepper standpoint, should things get bad in the states and our economy or society derail, and certain services stop operating (like electric, natural gas, city water, etc.), I know I can still heat my home as long as I can find wood and get water from my well (though I'm guessing I would need a manual pump of sorts to do so).

What do I need to know about heating my house with a wood burning stove?

Thanks!
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HRomberg
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Posted: 3/22/2013 11:10:39 AM
Thick heavy iron is best. Big is good. Something with a big smooth flat top is good for cooking. If you can hang water tanks on the side of it to boil water it's a plus. You can run antifreeze to radiators around the house.

Hard wood only.

Good fire bricks inside.

Easy ash dump is important.

Pellet stoves can burn dried corn.

Natural fire wood warms you multiple times. Cutting, stacking, re-stacking. and burning.
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ColtRifle
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Posted: 3/22/2013 11:24:06 AM
Congrats on the new place!

Wood burning stoves are a lot of work but the heat from them is great. I wouldn't want one for full time heating (been there when I was a kid and it was a headache). However, as a supplemental heat source they are great....if you cut the wood yourself or get it VERY cheap. If you are buying wood, then it's going to be a similar cost to regular heating....depending on the price you pay for wood.

Check your chimney first! MOST fires from wood stoves are caused by some issue with the flue. Make sure that the flue is safe to use.

Clean your chimney at least once per year. If you are burning a lot of green wood, then you should clean the chimney more frequently. The tools aren't too expensive to DIY.

Burn seasoned wood. Wood should usually sit 6mo-1 year before it's ready to use.....depending on how big and what type of wood it is. Hardwoods like oak make some of the best firewood. Walnut is a hardwood but it doesn't burn very well in my experience.

If you want to extend a burn time (such as overnight) stoke the fire hot, then just before bed throw on a green log or two and damper the fire down. The seasoned wood will burn down and by the time the seasoned wood has burned down, the green wood will be dry and ready to burn. Doing this usually adds another couple hours to a burn.

Fire the stove hot at least once per day. Firing the stove hot occasionally will burn off excess creosote in the chimney and will help keep your chimney clear and mostly free of creosote.



ColtRifle
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Posted: 3/22/2013 11:27:10 AM
Originally Posted By HRomberg:
Thick heavy iron is best. Big is good. Something with a big smooth flat top is good for cooking. If you can hang water tanks on the side of it to boil water it's a plus. You can run antifreeze to radiators around the house.

Hard wood only.

Good fire bricks inside.

Easy ash dump is important.

Pellet stoves can burn dried corn.

Natural fire wood warms you multiple times. Cutting, stacking, re-stacking. and burning.



You don't want to start hanging water tanks on the side of the stove unless you have designed your system properly. If it's not designed properly, you can end up with a steam explosion.

It can be done but should NOT be done unless you know what you are doing.

I have seen outdoor wood burners that use non-pressurized water and have also seen sealed systems that use a gas or electric burner. They are complicated systems that must be designed and installed properly for them to function safely.
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Posted: 3/22/2013 11:46:05 AM
Get a woodburner that is designed so that you can clean the chimney easily.
The way mine is built, you CANNOT run a brush down the chimney and push it into the stove.
I have to pull the black pipe apart to clean the chimney. That sucks.
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FasterHotDog
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Posted: 3/22/2013 11:46:50 AM
Look into Lopi. Mine is designed for 2000 sq. ft. Dual walled so you cannot get the wall hot. Two level top that you can cook on. Runs the exhaust over the fire to burn twice and extra clean. At the coldest time of the winter (-20F) I used four logs in the evening through the night and kept the house between 60-75F. Has a blower that pushes the air and a thermostat. Still works great if power is off. I heat with it only, though I do have in floor heat. In the last two winters, I have gone through 2 cords of wood. My old stove would have been 3 cords a year. It was one of those big (twice the size), thick walled beasts that got the wall hot if you stoked the fire too much.
A log splitter is worth its weight in gold if you are a busy guy. Always have manual splitters, axes etc. for backup.
vtdubb
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Posted: 3/22/2013 1:48:33 PM
Get an outdoor wood furnace. I had lp gas, then got a Hardy H5 and the gas is now backup. No smoke, no soot, no dry air. Just ridiculous warmth for very little cost per day. I have plenty of free wood on the farm from deadfall, but I figured that I saved about $3500 per year for a $10,000 investment. My house is 2300 square feet and I could add another home or a greenhouse to the system. My parents have the smaller system (h3) and are equally pleased.
ColtRifle
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Posted: 3/22/2013 3:22:13 PM
Originally Posted By vtdubb:
Get an outdoor wood furnace. I had lp gas, then got a Hardy H5 and the gas is now backup. No smoke, no soot, no dry air. Just ridiculous warmth for very little cost per day. I have plenty of free wood on the farm from deadfall, but I figured that I saved about $3500 per year for a $10,000 investment. My house is 2300 square feet and I could add another home or a greenhouse to the system. My parents have the smaller system (h3) and are equally pleased.




My brother has one. Based on his experiences with them, they are nice but use a LOT of wood. Also, most don't have antifreeze in them so they need to run during cold weather otherwise, the pipes will freeze.

They have some really nice features but you have to know what you are getting into before buying one.
Boiler74
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Posted: 3/22/2013 7:27:53 PM
www.hearth.com. Lots of good people and LOTS of information.
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Posted: 3/22/2013 8:27:12 PM
Originally Posted By ColtRifle:
Congrats on the new place!

Wood burning stoves are a lot of work but the heat from them is great. I wouldn't want one for full time heating (been there when I was a kid and it was a headache). However, as a supplemental heat source they are great....if you cut the wood yourself or get it VERY cheap. If you are buying wood, then it's going to be a similar cost to regular heating....depending on the price you pay for wood.

Check your chimney first! MOST fires from wood stoves are caused by some issue with the flue. Make sure that the flue is safe to use.


Good advice in this whole post.

The only thing I'd add is to get a professional sweep to inspect your chimney. The old saying "you don't know what you don't know" comes to mind. You can have a setup that looks sound but isn't. An inspection from a pro is cheap compared to burning your house down.

I have mixed feelings about heating 24/7 with a freestanding wood stove and nothing else. We do it here and have no plans to change. But there is a lot of work involved with burning 4-5 cords a year and having to attend to the stove every waking hour for 5 or 6 months a year.

Give it a try and see how it works for you. Congrats on your new place.
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Ops
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Posted: 3/22/2013 9:40:59 PM
Ever think about using coal? It's cheaper if you have to buy wood..

Ops
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EllisWyatt
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Posted: 3/23/2013 5:17:39 AM
Welcome to the neighborhood!
These guys are in my AO of Southwest WI I recommend them for inspection depending on your location. http://www.chimneyspecialistsinc.com

As far as burning the rules are strict but pretty basic.
1. As a rule I don't consider wood seasoned until it's at least a year old after splitting. Creosote is not your friend.
2 .Don't stack wood directly on the ground and keep it covered.
3. Don't stack wood against the house.
4. Beer comes after sawing and splitting, not during.
5. I have my best luck cutting timber in the springtime after the snow is gone and the brush is still down.
Put her in 4-lo. Point it in the direction you want to go. Step on it.
maypo59
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Posted: 3/23/2013 8:38:06 AM
Originally Posted By Boiler74:
www.hearth.com. Lots of good people and LOTS of information.


+ 1 on the Hearth.com. Go over there and do a search for your stove make and model.. or just read the stickies for new burners..

Since you already have a stove, no advice to give there. Best advice I can give you is get your wood together for the next three years NOW.. You want to burn wood that has seasoned for at least a couple years. I stay 4 years ahead. ie: the wood I am splitting and stacking this weekend is for the winter of '16-'17.

We heat 24/7 with a Hearthstone Mansfield. 2100sqft above ground, heat pump is back up. It has run about 20 minutes this winter.
vtdubb
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Posted: 3/23/2013 9:12:58 AM
Originally Posted By ColtRifle:
Originally Posted By vtdubb:
Get an outdoor wood furnace. I had lp gas, then got a Hardy H5 and the gas is now backup. No smoke, no soot, no dry air. Just ridiculous warmth for very little cost per day. I have plenty of free wood on the farm from deadfall, but I figured that I saved about $3500 per year for a $10,000 investment. My house is 2300 square feet and I could add another home or a greenhouse to the system. My parents have the smaller system (h3) and are equally pleased.




My brother has one. Based on his experiences with them, they are nice but use a LOT of wood. Also, most don't have antifreeze in them so they need to run during cold weather otherwise, the pipes will freeze.

They have some really nice features but you have to know what you are getting into before buying one.


It doesn't take much more than an indoor stove, and you dont have to split wood and you don't have to carry wood. I cut fallen trees to 25" long, load them on a trailer and park the trailer near the stove and load it right into the firebox. I work it out as I keep the house warmer than I did with gas, but you could be very conservative if you wanted to be. I don't like being cold, and have lots of wood. As long as its less than 16" in diameter, you're good. The main limit is your back- it definitely can handle a "man-sized" log.

And as far as antifreeze, well, what the....? I use the HEATER when it's cold outside to keep the water from freezing. I run it 12 months as it heats my hot water for showers as well.

I love the hardy, but have talked to folks with other brands and they're happy too. The big silver box just looks cool.
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Posted: 3/23/2013 3:10:04 PM
Originally Posted By Ops:
Ever think about using coal? It's cheaper if you have to buy wood..

Ops



Thats my thought as well but the OP would be limited to Bituminous only. Burn times are not much longer than the new wood stoves out there. Look at These as well
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ColtRifle
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Posted: 3/23/2013 5:40:45 PM
[Last Edit: 3/23/2013 5:45:36 PM by ColtRifle]
Originally Posted By vtdubb:
Originally Posted By ColtRifle:
Originally Posted By vtdubb:
Get an outdoor wood furnace. I had lp gas, then got a Hardy H5 and the gas is now backup. No smoke, no soot, no dry air. Just ridiculous warmth for very little cost per day. I have plenty of free wood on the farm from deadfall, but I figured that I saved about $3500 per year for a $10,000 investment. My house is 2300 square feet and I could add another home or a greenhouse to the system. My parents have the smaller system (h3) and are equally pleased.




My brother has one. Based on his experiences with them, they are nice but use a LOT of wood. Also, most don't have antifreeze in them so they need to run during cold weather otherwise, the pipes will freeze.

They have some really nice features but you have to know what you are getting into before buying one.


It doesn't take much more than an indoor stove, and you dont have to split wood and you don't have to carry wood. I cut fallen trees to 25" long, load them on a trailer and park the trailer near the stove and load it right into the firebox. I work it out as I keep the house warmer than I did with gas, but you could be very conservative if you wanted to be. I don't like being cold, and have lots of wood. As long as its less than 16" in diameter, you're good. The main limit is your back- it definitely can handle a "man-sized" log.

And as far as antifreeze, well, what the....? I use the HEATER when it's cold outside to keep the water from freezing. I run it 12 months as it heats my hot water for showers as well.

I love the hardy, but have talked to folks with other brands and they're happy too. The big silver box just looks cool.





So what do you do if you leave the house during the winter for a week for vacation/work/whatever?

I know several people with outdoor wood burners and each one have told me that they use a lot more wood than an indoor stove. They like them but there is a learning curve with them....it's not as simple as turning up the thermostat. My brother likes his stove but he's had frozen water pipe on it when he's been gone for a few days. He also says that it uses a lot of wood. We cut some wood on my property for him this fall/winter from felling two VERY large oak trees. Both those trees together would have provided two winters of wood for an indoor wood burner for an average house. He'll burn through almost all of that this winter for his small house. He does heats his small shop with it as well.

It's nice to throw in huge logs (his can take HUGE logs) and let it burn. But, they still use more wood than an indoor wood burner.

If you have a large woodlot in close proximity to your place and you have plenty of time to cut the wood, then they can be a cheap heat source. If I had to buy the wood, I would NOT have an outdoor wood burner because of the amount of wood needed.

If I did have an outdoor burner, I would use it to heat as many things as possible. Also, if I had one I think it would be neat to install a system to drip used motor oil onto the fire to both use up my excess motor oil as well as to prolong the burn.
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Posted: 3/23/2013 9:07:34 PM
Don't get into the habit of choking the fire down all the time- especially the wood is a bit green. If you are home, burn just a couple logs at a time keeping it hot and check it every hour or two. I have an exterior (cold) chimney and I clogged it one February night when it was -5 outside and charged the whole house with smoke (3 little kids sleeping upstairs). It sucked to have every window and door open for a half hour in sub zero weather. That happened after I had cleaned the chimney in the fall.

I still burn 2 wood stoves all winter- I just run them hot.
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Posted: 3/24/2013 12:27:35 AM
Im heating 1300sf with a Fisher Papa bear , I been heating with wood for the majority of my life. I have been useing the fisher as our only source of heat for the last 5 years.

I like the welded plate steel stoves like the fisher over cast stoves just because I have the means to make good repairs , someone with a greater shop could repair cast stoves just the same just for me its easy to deal with welded plate stoves.

The stove should seal up well, I like to be able to regulate the air in and out , lets me have total control over the fire.

The flu needs to be correct, above the ridge line of the roof with a good wind blocking cap.

Fans, a few of them. good air flow through the house is the only way to push the hot air short of opening a window and that just pulls heat out.

A good chainsaw, for the better part of 20 years I would have said Sthil (I have spent the last 19 years as an Arborist) , but now I would say look at Solo, and a few of the Jap saws.

I do not have a log splitter, I bust it all with a maul and wedges, though a wood splitter would be welcome some times get a good maul.

I would say get a furnace, leave the temp very low just so that it will come on to keep the pipes from freezing and let you wake up warm just in case you sleep to long and the fire dies. there are times it would be very nice.
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Posted: 3/24/2013 2:42:39 AM
Like others have said go to hearth.com.There is a lot of info there. Also some dealers are on the forum. It is the arfcom ffor woodburners