wood stove how to - the basics please :). - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-08-2005, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I want to install a wood stove but I know nothing about it. We will have a fairly large very old house (will include dh's art studio that's why it is so big - well big for us).

Where is the best place to install it? Is the kitchen ok?
How does it work? Do you load it with wood a few times a day?
How does it heat other rooms?
Is it safe? (from burning down house, burning kids, treated wood)
How do you clean it and how often?

Sorry to ask such stupid questions, but I really wantto make the house we are going to buy more efficient and earth friendly, and it is almost 3 times the size of our current house so I am very nervous about dealing with this large old house, but excited about its charm and beauty.
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Old 11-08-2005, 04:28 PM
 
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we have 2 woodstoves in addition to an oil furnace. One is in the living room, the other is in the kitchen (at the opposite end of the house). Personally, I *love* having one in the kitchen, as that's where we tend to congregate anyway!

How often you have to stoke the stove will depend very much on the size, and the type of wood that you are burning. My kitchen stove is very small, and inefficient, and I tend to add one log per hour - this keeps the temp up at around 22 degrees C. Our LR woodstove needs a lot more wood to fill it, and burns a lot hotter, but again I figure that I have to add to it every hour or so...If you have airtight (and therefore more efficient) stoves YMMV

We burn only *untreated* hardwoods...mostly maple, ironwood, birch (have a barter going with a neighbour who stores his car in our barn) - and use cedar as kindling when possible. It's worth trying to source the best and hottest burning wood that you can - unseasoned or wet wood will coat the chimney with creosote (which can lead to chimney fires), and soft woods don't throw good heat, so they're pretty inefficient.

We have the chimneys swept every year whether they need it or not! usually around $120 (Canadian) for both. Sweeps can also tell you what state of repair your chimney is in...if you're not inclined to get up there yourself!

In order to help the heat to circulate in the house we flip the furnace fan on every once in a while - because the house is large it would not get warm upstairs other wise. We also have 2 ceiling fans that we use to help push the hot air around.

Safety: we try to damp the stoves down when we are going to be out of the house. I would also advocate a CO detector, and of course working smoke detectors. We are also very vigilant with dd - she is not allowed onto the hearth at any time, even when the stove is cold. I would never, ever burn treated timber...from what little I know that would just seem to be asking for trouble

I usually empty the ash a couple of times per week - but I'm lazy!

I would also strongly suggest that you humidify the air as well - stove kettles work really well - as it can get really dry. I love the heat though...I totally understand why the animals just crash out next to the hearth.

Wow - this must be my longest post ever! Sorry for the book! HTH!
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Old 11-08-2005, 05:52 PM
 
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Remember heat rises, normally the up stairs will be warmer than down. So put the stove down.

Air flow is a funny thing you never quite know where the best place for the stove will be to get the best heat flow. Fans are a good thing Central in your house is usually a good place.

Wood heat is drying, but that’s an easy fix. In our case we live in a house that’s holds moisture so we need the stove to dry us out to prevent mold.

You load the stove according to how warm you want it. Some stoves hold fire longer. The more wood the more heat output normally. Of course you can damper it down but then that makes your chimney and stove gunck up.

Stoves should not be installed on an outside wall as you don’t want to have the heat radiate outside and also chimneys need to be warm.

The stove with the closest clearance to a combustible wall is a Lopi Endeavor with 4.5 inches.

We love wood heat. I was raised with it and we just took out a Toyo oil heater and installed wood stove. Our last place we heated with a wood cook stove, granted it was a small place.

I clean our out when it needs it which is every couple of weeks for burning red fir. Some hard woods we where burning required every couple of days. Different wood burn different ways after awhile you find what you prefer to burn.

We go and get the wood ourselves which is much cheaper than buying it. Granted my Daddy gave me a chainsaw and we have a trailer we use for hauling the wood home.

We think it will take about 5 cords to heat our home this winter we have 6+ and just bought a permit for 3 more cords. We are getting Red Fir, White Fir and Tamarack We want to starting next year have at least a years worth of fire wood head of what we need. We didn’t have time this year to do that stockpiling.

Large old homes depending on the size and insulation and your area, might take 2 stoves to heat in the dead of winter.

We live in a 1940 house with NO insulation 1,000 sf, it was heated with one Toyo Heater so we installed a small wood stove central in our living room. Our only back up heat is electric heaters, 2 walls and one plug in. We used them last year when we ran out of oil on a Friday night

Enjoy your old house

Wood heat
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Old 11-08-2005, 05:56 PM
 
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Another thought, check with your home insurance as some are really picky or require extra$$ for wood heat.
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Old 11-08-2005, 11:21 PM
 
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yeah, I'd forgotten that....we had to have the stoves inspected *before* we could get insurance coverage :

I my chainsaw!
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Old 12-08-2005, 07:52 PM
 
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I have a 1048 square foot home. My woodstove heats it all and it is my only source of heat, as I do not turn on my furnace anymore. I load it at 7:20 am, it burns down to coals and heats until I get home at 7:00 or later. I put a couple small chunks in until I go to bed at 10:00 pm, then fill it up and do it all over the next day! My stove is not a big one either-it holds only 18 inch pcs.

It was 8 degrees here today, and my house will be over 75 degrees when I get home!

When I am home I have a window open in this kind of weather to keep it cool! It feels great to have fresh outside air when it is below 10 degrees outside!

I don't worry about fires, and mine burns all day everyday. I get NO smoke smell inside. Open the door once without opening the damper and you won't do it again! When you open the damper you get a really good draft going and you will have no smoke when you open the door if you do it slowly, so as not to cause suction.

Mine is installed with the pipe through my chimney, but they make thimbles to go right through the roof also.

I was just telling my wife yesterday my stove is the best money I ever spent. For once she agreed with me!

Any other questions e-mail me, as I was once wondering what one to buy and other such things too!

I clean the ashes out once a week. I have my furnace pilot turned off, but use the furnace fan to circulate air sometimes. Also, the stove will heat for hrs with a fan blowing across it after it goes out, as the firebrick and steel hold so much heat.

My home lacks insulation, just for you info. Also, my home insurance went up $40.75 a year when I added the stove..not bad for free heat!

PS: dry pine is better than wet hardwood anyday!
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Old 12-08-2005, 10:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the help everyone! I have a wall in mind, it is a wall in the kitchen, but on the other side in the dining room we have a fireplace - can that be done?

I think my dh would love wood heat, he is definitely the type that would like to spend some $ upfront and then not see those bills.
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Old 12-08-2005, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, and I would LOVE to hear about different types.
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Old 12-09-2005, 04:17 AM
 
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We have a Lopi and we love it. We have a 2000 sqft. log cabin with a loft that holds the heat pretty well once it's warmed up, although our kitchen isn't insulated, so it's usually cooler in there.

Tips:

Split your wood into smaller pieces to get a nice coal bed going, then you can throw on the big logs to last throughout the day, or night.

Learn how to use the dampers. Our top damper stays closed unless I picked out a wet piece of wood and need a better draft to get it going. . Keep the bottom damper open until the fire and coals are really going, then dampen it all the way down to get your best heat.


Our stove happens to be on an outside wall, but we've talked about getting a wood cook stove for the kitchen (and insulation), which is a good portion of the house, so that would our ideal.

We love that we spend maybe $500 in wood year, power bills stay low. And, I love that I can wake up in the morning and there are still live embers, so easy to start!
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Old 12-10-2005, 01:39 AM
 
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We just replaced our small woodstove with this one http://www.newenergyinc.com/Products...wood_stove.htm
LOVE it. I have always heated with wood, growing up I didn't know that people didn't have woodstoves. Our house is small, 1100 sq ft, I have to keep my fires small or else this woodstove would run us out of the house. We have to be a bit careful not to get the woodstove REALLY going, our pipe is as close to the wall as safety allowed due to construction issues. But other then that we don't worry about fires, we get our pipes cleaned every year. It's so cheap, we bought 2 cords of oak, and got about 1 1/2 cords of aspen and that will last us all winter. We heat mainly with wood, if I'm not home to start a fire sometimes the hydonic floor heat will kick on, but rarely.

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
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Old 12-12-2005, 10:53 PM
 
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Lots of great advice here. We buy our wood precut and it is still cheaper than firing up the furnace. Even if some year the $$$ came out the same - the difference is that our house is actually WARM wit the woodstove and that feels great!
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Old 12-18-2005, 04:50 AM
 
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I have a Vermont Castings fireplace insert woodstove.

http://www.vermontcastings.com/conte...fm?category=11

I know they are kind of yuppie. Might be good if you want to spend the $ you would save by heating with wood.
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Old 12-25-2005, 03:27 AM
 
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I'm getting a lot out of this thread. We're in the process of installing a woodstove and we're really excited about it. We've been talking about it now for 2 years and finally made the leap! The only issue I have is worrying a bit about the kids. Our neighbors who have had a woodstove now for a few years and have small kids said that it was never an issue. The kids learned immediately to stay away from it. The neighbor's daughter touched theirs one time. And that was it. Never touched it again. Not like I want my kids to touch it at all, but I'm hoping that they'll learn FAST!
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Old 12-25-2005, 11:40 AM
 
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I put a big metal sectioned dog gate around mine.
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Old 12-26-2005, 12:52 AM
 
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Paloma-Yes, DH is interested in getting a gate to go around it. That should help a bit. Thanks for letting me hijack with my own questions, mom2JandG!
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Old 12-31-2005, 12:09 AM
 
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You've got to check out www.woodstove.com That's the Woodstock Soapstone Stove Co's addy. We've had the Fireview model for 5 years. It's AWESOME! It's really earth friendly too, it has it's own little built in catalytic converter. When it gets up to 200 degrees, you flip up this black knob. You can go outside when it's engaged, and not see any wood smoke at all!! It just rocks in my attitude. We have a 1,250 square foot home.It'ssuper simpleto keep it at 70 degrees when it's 30 degrees outside. You fed it about 3-4 times a day. We had a few weeks of below zero weather a bit ago, and the stove was a champ!
We had to fill it more, but it was super worthwhile. It cost about $2,200 delivered. We just love it. It's installed in the center of our living room. We have double OSB pipes, they are a double lined metalbestos type pipe. Very expensive, but safer than plain pipe. We had a very scary chimney fire with a outdated 1970's "earthstove" brand stove. It was a terrible stove (came w/the house). Not airtight at all. This stove is airtight, and simple to operate, and very pretty to look at. It's got a gothic-victorian thing going on.

BTW we cut and split our own wood from fallen timber on our land. We use about 3-4 cords per winter. The woodspecies is fir and tamarack. We do not have the luxury of having nice hard woods such as oak in this part of northern idaho.
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Old 01-01-2006, 02:23 PM
 
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Jennifer-Thanks again for starting this thread.

I'm not sure if this is a concern for you, but could someone address the carbon monoxide issue? This is a fear of mine, although I don't know what the statistics or information says about how frequently CM is an issue for folks that have a woodstove. The place where we bought the stove said that we would know immediately if there's an issue with CM b/c we would realize that smoke was filling the room-that we did something incorrect with the dampers. Obviously, we're going to install another (maybe even two) new CM detectors, but other than that, anyone have additional info.????

TIA, for letting my questions hijack here.
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Old 01-04-2006, 10:07 PM
 
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I've never had a prob w/ carbon monoxide. THe Woodstock Soapstone Stove is brilliant. www.woodstove.com really, call them and ask them about it. Don't bother w/ a Vermont castings stove. Looks similar but bad performance-wise. This style of stove has been around since the Ben Franklin days.
The catalytic converter cannot be beat! Very safe,and earth friendly.
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Old 01-04-2006, 10:53 PM
 
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I heated 2900 sf for an entire winter with a Vermont castings. Mine had a cat. converter and took up no additional floor space.
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Old 01-05-2006, 01:23 PM
 
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You should not worry about carbon monoxide unless you are getting a lot of smoke in the house, because your stove is always drawing quite a bit of fresh air into the house as a result of the draft. All the gas is going up the pipe. If you have a new house and it is really, really airtight you may want to crack a window. If you don't you could, theoretically draw CM back through your furnce or hot water tank exhaust pipe. A CM detector is a must in any home, not just because you have a woodstove.
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Old 01-08-2006, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the great information, and I am definitely concerned about carbon monoxide as well, so thanks for posting that.
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