Calling all woodburners…
Currently we operate with two wood burning stoves: 1. Hearthstone Heritage Model 2. Montgomery Wards Wood Burning Cook Stove. But it wasn't always that way.
We initially installed the Hearthstone wood stove in 2006. We had a mason come in to perform some rebuilding/pointing work on the home's two chimneys and fireplace. While that work was underway he discovered/pointed out that the central chimney had two flues where one was in the living room for the fireplace and the other was in the kitchen hidden behind a wall put up in the last twenty years or so.
We ended up tearing down that wall in the kitchen, lining the kitchen flue with a 6" liner, and building a platform for the Hearthstone fireplace. That work was completed in January of 2006 and became our primary heat source with the oil-burning furnace as backup.
This year we moved the Hearthstone stove to the living room after relining that flue with a 6" stainless liner, and installed the Wood-Burning Cook Stove in the kitchen.
We will probably burn about four cords this year. We do love those wood stoves and we are using the stove top and the oven in the wood burning cook stove for meals. The primary benefit is that the single Hearthstone is sufficient to keep our 2400 sf two-story house fully heated into the mid-60's (lots of drafts as the home is ancient with poor or non-existing insulation). With both stove's on at the same time while baking pizza for dinner we ended up with a temp of 83 in the kitchen. I was uncomfortable at that temp and ended up going outside to cool down. Way too hot in the kitchen.
We continue to add insulation in the attic, and two-inches of rigid foam to the front of the house and the dormers in order to allow the house to retain all that heat. Last year for example, the Hearthstone stove located in the kitchen could only raise the house temperature to 72 on a good day.
We still spend about $250 or so on oil as the furnace turns on during the coldest nights, but I can live with that…
Just a minor add to my post on heating and cooking with wood,
We clean our chimneys every year. I can not emphasize this enough. I have met folks who heat with wood who think that they can wait 2 or 3 years before having a good cleaning. Those folks are playing with fire and gasoline at the same time. It is not a question if they will have a chimney fire, but when.
Those folks have no response plan as many are off grid and without phone service, no chemical pack to use to douse the flames, and no idea where they would even live if they end up with a chimney fire in their home.
Please, Please, Please keep that stove pipe clean and maintained. Replace the liner if need be. It cost me $600 in materials to install a stainless steel liner in Southern Vermont. The chimney is 25' in length. So you can use that for some idea of costs.
Purchase a dry chemical fire extinguisher and keep it near the wood burning stove and handy at all times.
Purchase a chemical pack of dry chemical extinguisher chemicals (monoammonium phosphate) to toss into the wood burning stove to help extinguish the fire. Throw the opened pack into the fireplace, stove, or down the chimney. (Observation: when you have a chimney fire you and everybody else will see flames two or three feet above the top of your chimney. Whoever suggested tossing this chemical pack down the chimney to extinguish a chimney fire had no flipping idea what they were asking of us). Ask for this at your local hardware store or where you can get your fire extinguisher filled. Your friendly local fire station or fire chief should be able to direct you to a suitable vendor.
I have dry chemical extinguishers and a dry chemical pack that I can just toss into the stove. A dry chemical pack can't lose pressure over time so it is a good backup item and the cost is low.
I do not suggest water being thrown into a wood burning stove fire. Water gets turned to steam, and steam creates pressure. That sudden increase of pressure can blow out any glass in a wood burning stove. Steam will blind and burn you carrying small, hot particulates (embers) from the stove. Us it if that is the only thing you have, but be aware of the high-risk of personal injury.
Stay warm, stay safe!
Once the temps drop below 40-45 F we start using the stove, and we had the same cold spell down here that you did, Amanda. It dropped temps in SC until you could see your breath at 38 F.
We have a 1,000 square-foot home, one level, and heat it with the above cast iron stove, rated for 1,300 sq. ft. It has no catalytic converter, to cut on maintenance costs. It's a freestanding stove, but we had the clearances to use it in our fireplace, utilizing the existing flue. Part of the installation was a double-insulated steel liner. You may not know that gas stoves only heat the flue to 600 F but woodstoves can heat a flue to 2,000 F so the insulated liner was essential. It handles logs up to 17 inches long. Supposedly it burns only 6 hours, but we both love getting up in the middle of the night to feed to stove, and if we use what I call a "stove-stuffer" log–a 10" square chunk of oak–on an existing fire, it lasts 8 hours. We cannot cook on it since the reburner technology (81% efficient) runs air under the top of the stove, but we always have a shallow pan on the stove to increase moisture and make the home feel warmer.
Economics: Like many homes in the Deep South, our house in SC was heated (and cooled) with an electric heat pump. Thanks to the stove our electric bill went down $300 a month for our heating season, which runs November through January, with a little bit of help on cold temps at the end of Oct and the beginning of February.
We have never paid a dime for wood. We pick up trash wood off the road, or cut dead wood from the forest behind us, or help friends and neighbors remove trees. As we've never had a formal delivery I can only estimate our usage: about 1.5 cords of wood a winter, probably. We split it before storing it, to help it dry. It's back there on free, slightly damaged oak pallets, or cedar planks, to keep it off the ground. under tarps to keep it dry. We have two big, long stacks of fire wood -and we alternate which stack using the oldest first.
The stove installation, including rebuilding the firebox on our fireplace, the insulated flue sleeve, the stove and a new cap, was $7K. We bought this back when we could get a $1500 tax credit; now it's a $300 credit so I am glad we did not wait but chagrinned that we missed out on other credits. .You can see what federal, state and local –and utility–credits you can currently get in our part of the USA at this site, DSIRE. At any rate, we will reach our break-even rate on our investment in a little over two years.
Maintenance: We have to replace the door liner cord every year, but they sell the high-heat resistant cord and the right glue at Ace Hardware, cheap. We use a single-edged razor blade to get any deposits off the inside of the glass door. And we bought a set of chimney brushes ($80) and clean it ourselves once a year.
We've burned live oak, hickory, cherry, white oak and red oak. There is abundant pine in our area, so we burn that, too. Compared to when we burned hardwood only, our annual cleanout gives us two quarts of creosote to the one quart from all-hardwood fuel so when we burn pine we might start cleaning it mid-winter; we have enough warm days in December and January to do that. .Pine starts easier but oak lasts longer for when we are sleeping. Any time we find a pine with a "fatwood" center, we split that fine and keep it in a special crock to get a fire going quickly
I looked up the specs on your stove (or at least one very similar, Shelburne 8371 model) because I was curious about the window. It is described as "ceramic glass" which apparently is similar to the stuff mine is made of. The manual that came with mine recommended cleaning with 00 steel wool. We've been doing that for years with no scratching or diminution of clarity. Your manual has different instructions:
[quote]When necessary, clean the glass with low alkaline content commercial stove glass cleaners, which are available from your local dealer. Never attempt to clean the glass while the fire is burning or the glass is hot. Following the instructions provided with the cleaner will remove most deposits. To clean heavier deposits, open the door and lift it straight up and off the stove with the hinge pins remaining in the door (take care to save hinge pins and any spacer washers for reuse). Lay the door face down on a workbench or table. Apply the cleaner to the glass and allow it to soak for a few minutes. Laying the door flat will allow the cleaner to penetrate rather than run off the surface of the glass. Wipe the cleaner off with a soft cloth.
Important: scratching or etching the glass will weaken the integrity of the glass. Do not use a razor blade, steel wool, or any other abrasive material to clean the glass. Use low alkaline content cleaners only.
The front door glass is a high temperature ceramic, shock-resistant glass, made specifically for use in woodstoves. Do not use any replacement glass other than the ceramic glass manufactured and supplied for use in this woodstove. Replacement glass is available through your local dealer. [/quote]
I think I'll call my manufacturer to clarify the differences. I thought I would give you a heads up on the warning.
Some friends and I just closed on a 2500sq' house, out buildings and 46 acres near Prairie Farm, WI. The Pacific Summit wood stove is working well for now, but there is also a Kitchen Queen 480 wood cook stove, an Energy King wood furnace, and a propane furnace.
i built my house with r25 walls and r40 attic insulation, so this is key to my house maintaining the heat.
i burn wood on cloudy days from 9 am -5pm, use my solar heater on sunny days and run my natural gas furnace for 1 hour each morning when i get up at 6 am because i don't feel like messing with the stove til about 9 am [ this combo gives me heating bills in january ,in michigan of $35 for the month.
every year it's something different for a source of wood and i try to keep 2 winters ahead. i've traded deer hunting for wood, i gave an 85 yr old man vegetables one summer and in the fall he showed up with a grin and a dump truck full of red oak.i just keep an eye out for opportunities.
if i had to buy the wood, it would be cheaper to just run my furnace…but ya gotta love a wood fire for comfort.
We have a DAKA model 512FB, with two blower motors. The DAKA is connected to an old, unusable oil furnace system's ductwork plus I wired the old system's large blower to kick in when the DAKA blowers run. We have a 1950's built, two story, South Dakota farmhouse that has been re-insulated with foam, new high efficiency windows, house wrap and fiber cement siding. We needed the old system's blower to get heat pushed upstairs, the ductwork is 4" similar to a dryer vent and it takes a lot of blower to push the heat upstairs. We are very isolated so we had the chimney redone, they put a tube in the chimney and pour and cement made from volcanic ash around the inflated tube (6" in our case but they can do any size). The chimney is rated at more than 2100 degrees. We're generally happy with the whole setup after heating with it for two winters.
Our installer advised us to clean the glass with a damp paper towel dipped in ash (powder). Works quite well. Do this with a cold stove! Finish with a clean damp towel. Could use a rag instead.
I use a Kitchen Queen wood cook stove. Made by an Amish guy in Indiana. It has a fairly large firebox and heats the house well enough. It does tend to overheat easily so I have to be careful with it. I like it as I cook on it all winter and that is important for me. Large cook top area and a decent size oven. It also has a 17 gallon water reserve which I haven't used much. My house is difficult to heat evenly. It has a 24' cathedral ceiling and loft, so upstairs is very warm, by the stove is comfortable and the back rooms are cool. Not a problem other than being cool getting out of the shower! There is a sawmill 2 miles away and I get slabs (the scrap strips) for free. They'll even load them! Easy way to heat the house for free! I try to keep at least one winter's supply in the wood shed. I'm in southern Tennessee I have a shorter heat season than others.