I have been reading here and asking a newbie question or two and was wondering how well this system heats a house that is subject to below zero weather through much of the winter. This winter has been especially cold. I want to build one of these but will leave my wood stove in place in case this doesn't do the job. I generally burn 16 to 18 face cord of fire wood a year and that needs to come down. We are able to get logs just fine and I love cutting wood, after all I collect chainsaws but I also try to be mindful of the resources I use as far as what kind of impact I am having on things. I am very fascinated with off grid living and I think that this is one step along with others we have started to take that would help.
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A cast iron stove can't possibly get all the BTU's out of the wood because it doesn't stay hot enough (1200°) long enough to burn the volatiles in the wood. These leave your house unconsumed as smoke. Well-tuned rocket stoves don't have nearly as much smoke.
The other big difference between a cast iron wood stove and a rocket mass heater is the mass. The cast iron radiates all the heat right way. The iron is cool pretty soon after the fire goes out. A rocket mass heater stores heat in cob which takes a long time to cool down compared to cast iron.
I built my house 7 years ago up to NYS code which is pretty strict on insulating. I have r-38 in the ceiling as well as r-21 in the walls and floor. As far as the wood stove goes it's a matter of how well the wood has been seasoned. This winter I have been burning red oak and hickory I cut down three years ago and blocked a year ago. There has been no smoke with this wood by the time it leaves the chimney, most of the time the only way you can tell if my wood stove is burning is by the heat waves coming out of the chimney. That is an awful lot of wasted heat and energy. I have never put an analyzer on the stack, I should just to see. I have one in my my work truck anyway, I am a commercial HVAC/Refrigeration mechanic so I get all of the fun toys plus a pretty good background as to how fire and fuels work with fuel to air ratios. Burning green wood is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to home heating, if the wood isn't seasoned properly it shouldn't go in the stove. It takes more energy to dry that wood out to make it burn properly than it's worth plus the fact that you are creating soot. Soot has an r value of something like 8 at 1/8" thick, that is a dangerous thing when it builds on your chimney.
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Newbie from the middle of Michigan here, US Army veteran. Just wanted to say I love the site and appreciate all the good information and help topics y'all post. This is by far one of the most informed and best forums I have yet to see. Thanks again and god bless!
All gave some, Some Gave all! god Bless our men and women in uniform! Hooah Army SGT strong!
Phil Holbrook wrote:I've got a simple question, I'm not sure what a face cord is. 4x4xstove length or 4x8xstove length. Or something else?
I would love to cut down my firewood by 50%. I live in interior Alaska and burn about 7-8 full cords (4x4x8) per winter in a steel Earth stove.
Yep, a "face cord" is 4'x8'xstove length.
Synonymous with a "rick" (that's what we use here in Michigan), a "rack", a "rank", or, I swear I'm not making this up, a "pickup load."
As much as there's a standard, around here stove length means 16". That way, it's three face cords per full cord. But the more popularity those outdoor boilers gain, the more people are cutting it at 24".
Here's an example:
This is the picture of the "$60 face cords." The other pictures attached to the listing showed the "$10, $20, and $30 racks of bonfire wood".
Having it out in the weather like this is, unfortunately, pretty normal around here. In general, people do care enough to let their firewood season a year, but they don't keep it out of the rain.