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During the first winter out here, I almost cracked.
The cold was unbearable, and the former stove was inadequate in a number of ways, least of which was its small size.
A wood-burner has become indispensible for cooking, heating, distilling, drying laundry, and even smelting.
The stove seen above is a fireplace insert being utilized as a free-standing heat and cook stove. Placed directly on the concrete floor creates a long-lasting, slow to dissipate, thermal-assisted heat source, which acts as a bank of energy referred to as Thermal Mass.
The Concrete becomes warmed by contact with the wood-burner.The heat picked up in the concrete does not dissipate quickly. It's 130 degrees on the concrete, approximately 10inches from the door of the stove.
The photo below shows the side-view of the replacement stove which was purchased "used" a few years ago. Here it is sitting somewhat squarely on the concrete slab.
The Temperature is 30 degrees outside but the concrete floor is warm to the touch.
Bigger is better in the night-time
Unless cooking, or during times of needing a quick temperature increase, larger pieces of wood will save money during the winter. Larger pieces, like whole unsplit logs, will burn all night, without your having to get up every 3 or 4 hours (to feed more splinter-sized wood into the stove).
Smaller pieces burn hotter and quicker and require more effort to fill a stove with more trips to the wood-pile. The burn is quick to fire up, hot, but short-lived.
Typically, a firewood vendor over-splits the wood for a number of reasons, least of which is the fact that over-split wood gives the appearance of more wood since more area is required to stack (it would be impossible to stick all the mates of a split log together during stacking, which results in more air voids between wood and requires a larger volume of space to store. If starting the fire from scratch, large logs would not work in that scenario, until well-after the kindling and splinter-wood has brought the stove up to temperature.
Separate Ash Pan keeps down the dust
The advantages of an ash pan, that can be easily removed and dumped, without requiring the firebox door to be opened, are many.
The fireplace seen below shows the ash tray beneath the firebox that is simply pulled from the unit and carried outside to dump (later finding its way to the garden).
Having a large open space requires much less work to deliver the heat to all areas. Whereas most modern homes are so partitioned-off into separate cubicles (rooms) which typically require a large fan to push the hot air thoughout the home.
In Ohio, the winters can hold a few bone-chilling days and nights outside. But thanks to an ample amount of capitalist junk mail, which "legally" comes to us unsolicited, kindling a fire to warm the inside is not a problem.
The thermal mass of the concrete floor, integrated fans, damper, and draft control allow for the fireplace insert to easily heat the 3 car garage throughout the winter, and you get to cook on it too!
Behind the wood burner is an oil burner furnace.
Although the Oil Burner Furnace works flawlessly, I would prefer the space with its eradication from this garage.
The Furnace will remain connected to show any prospective buyers that it works fine.
The Furnace is for sale or I'll trade (firewood?).
You can find that furnace, it's listed here: Oil Burner Furnace
As an update this November 2018, the wood stove's distillery is working like a champ. At present there's a gallon of distilled water every two days. It's only been in the 30 degree range outside so the stove is not fired to near it's potential right now. This might not seem like a big deal, but it is to me. Here's why:
1). By making my own distilled water now eliminates my need to transport myself to the distant store. I don't drive and the bike would not carry enough of the yearly supply of water that the battery banks infrequently will consume.
2.) The cost for distilled water is not so significant if it were needed to be obtained from the monopoly-protected stores, however the inconvenience of having to get my geriatric self on a bike these days is petering-out.
3.) With the savings in the cost of distilled water, the cost of the loss of my time (my life) to obtain said water, and the potential of accidents along the way, are completely eliminated by making my own distilled water anyway.
4.) Since I've completely dropped away from the path of normal capitalistic ventures ( a job, wife, picket fence and a dog named Waldo ), I haven't any real source of income. One might say I've pushed this thing about faith a bit too far, but honestly....who needs to work when you're increasingly becoming self-sufficient? By not being forced to follow the "normal" route of obtaining outside employment I can avoid financing what may be our Nation's own demise (i.e. http://usdebtclock.org ).
5.) And finally there's the religious reasons, tenets such as, "be ye separate" and "let thine OWN cisterns water thee" and "my people, when ye see these signs, depart from her"
In short, the distillery was worth the moments to construct. The water that fuels the distillery is actually the washer and dryer's refuse water. And furthermore, the refuse washer / dryer water is actually the refuse water from the Reverse Osmosis unit! In fact, the water that comes into my lab is completely raw from deep in the ground. The raw water is not what I drink, there are a half-dozen filters for the drinking water. One need only bother to stare at the wet concrete floor as the water pools down the drain to see the nematode creatures (use a magnifying glass). When the concrete is almost completely drained off, that's the best time to see what's really happening in your water. It appears they are squirming around trying to find a pool to dip into. Also, if you've ever killed a cricket or other similar bug and noticed a white thing coming out of it's buttocks, that squirming thing is another form of nematode. But enough of the worms already.
The revolutionary part of the setup is that since all R.O. Systems (reverse-osmosis) throw out tons of water (you'd be surprised what your under-the-sink R.O units throw down the drain!), the answer was to automate and use the wasted water.
So, when the raw water comes in to the lab it goes to a splitter that allows for an avenue of becoming filter and then the other avenue is set to a hose for spraying down the washout area, another to the shower, and finally yet another to the washer. However the washer's use of the raw water is further utilized in that the runoff it receives directly from the R.O.'s refused water is then drained into a catch of jugs. As the jugs become full, it's then that the rounds to the various end-points are made. For instance, on the wood burner is a larger-than-life roasting pan that boils water pretty much perpectually, it also acts as the humidifier (I don't like dry air), if it is full then I top off the distillery. If the distillery is full then I water the over-30 seedlings that have soil that tends to dry out daily. There's also other plants that need constant tending to (which hopefully there will be implented to automate that process using a simple drip-waterer).
I'm only leaving the following note because it's something that really blew me away. However I'm retarded so that isn't really saying too much.
Let's say you need more heat out of your fire but it appears to be burning lazily. What do you do?
Some of you might say open the damper to get the suction effect going (but then you are simply releasing the heat up the chimney), others will say open the draft control (but let's assume it's wide open already), and still others will say pour some gasoline in there (LOL...no, nobody is actually saying that, right?).
Well here's a tip:
1.) You could pull the ash pan out a bit. That would permit more air to enter up through the fire. This works but let's say you have burning embers in the ash pan, now you risk some of the smoke entering your breathable space. Also, for argument's sake, let's say that pulling the pan out a tad also isn't making the fire burn hotter, now what?
2.) Poke the grate. This is the thing that blew me away. Apparently, sometimes the grate becomes impassable even to air, whether by logs or un-burned kindling, or rocks (you never seen how I load my stove so don't laugh....rocks are a part of things here). Anyway, you need only poke one or two holes in the grate to see the instant effects....suddenly your lazy fire will sound as though a turbo-engine were firing up.
Poking the grate, try it sometime.
As a final note, rotten wood is just that, plain old rotten to use.
Here's what burning rotten wood gets you:
- Rotten wood does not create heat. In fact, it actually cools off the fire
- Rotten wood creates more problems with the chimney too. Expect to clean out that flue more now. Since the rotten wood holds moisture, that moisture will collect in the flue to attract more build-up of creosote.
- Rotten wood has more living matter in it. Bugs burning do not create more heat either. As a matter of fact, as their little bodies are exploding in the fire, their inards are helping also to cool down the fire.
- Rotten wood, especially when the wood is so soft that it is easily separated from the core attracts more pests, the bad kind (such as termites and other boring bugs). So if you are planning to store it, make real certain there's not a wooden structure nearby that you'd like to see remain standing.
However if you are in need of rotten wood, try this guy:
This Concludes Wood Burner
More of this?