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First Year Heating With Wood Fiasco

nwmo_aggie

nwmo_aggie

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At what point do you move a modular home in next to the place you’re living in? Having done a complete gut remodel of a place on a solid foundation, you’re biting off quite a chunk. Ours had a solid basement, and good siding. We did all the rest over...windows, insulation, wires, bathrooms, moved walls new plumbing, new hvac, and roof. Came out good on it, but was a lot of work.

I’ve seen quotes from $100-250/sq foot for additions. I’m still waiting on a guy to get back with me on it all, but he already told me I’ll have $35/sq foot of addition just in lumber in ours...a basic living room on a slab.


I guess I find having my house on fire a lot less funny than you do...even if it is little bits at a time. Best of luck to you. It will warm up one of these days.
 
CaptainMauw

CaptainMauw

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Joined
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Location
Northwest Indiana
At what point do you move a modular home in next to the place you’re living in? Having done a complete gut remodel of a place on a solid foundation, you’re biting off quite a chunk. Ours had a solid basement, and good siding. We did all the rest over...windows, insulation, wires, bathrooms, moved walls new plumbing, new hvac, and roof. Came out good on it, but was a lot of work.

I’ve seen quotes from $100-250/sq foot for additions. I’m still waiting on a guy to get back with me on it all, but he already told me I’ll have $35/sq foot of addition just in lumber in ours...a basic living room on a slab.
I have time, and planned on all of this when buying. The true value of this property is in the barns. 5 of them, all metal sided, and all but one metal roofed. As I keep logging I am stashing timber in my back barn for the mill, and ill be milling the vast majority of the lumber I will need for the house and the barns (3 more planned). Ill undertake the additions myself and pay a friend or two with beer. I am a carpenter and equipment operator, built buildings and poured foundations, am a pipe fitter and underground trench-man, and have experience in electrical and roofing. Perks of growing up in the rural Midwest on the farms I suppose. I also hold a degree in aerospace engineering, so I have the design side covered. I am actually getting ready to install the new septic and leach field this summer as is.

I bought the only house and property I ever expect to own, so I am ok with the work that needs done. It allows me to build everything the way that I want it to be for myself and my future family.
 
Deleted member 150358
D

Deleted member 150358

Guest
Friend/neighbor is going through this. We refer to it as being the local Winchester mansion. They remodeled then built up on over and under. Last part of the original house comes down this summer (maybe). Pay as they go so they stay out of debt but progress is very slow.
 
Marley5

Marley5

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VA
My sister and her husband bought a REALLY old "1800's" farm house that needed a lot of attention, a lot I say.

And guess who they called ?
I ran out of excuses until finally they got they're hands dirty.

I'm glad you have the energy and skill to accomplish this endeavor but in my case....knowing how lazy my BIL is, I ran.
 
cantoo

cantoo

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If this is your forever home then I would get my pencil sharpened and look at an outdoor boiler. Put it between the house and wherever you are going to build your shop because someday you will want to heat it too. I bought a used over sized unit 7 years ago and wish I had done it 20 years ago. I heat 2 houses and a 24x 55' shop with mine. I cut my wood to 32" long and split with a homemade 36" splitter with 4 way hydraulic wedge. Realistically there isn't much price difference between the smallest and the biggest ( within reason) outdoor boilers. I used to heat the one house with a Hotblast and it did pretty good considering the investment. I still have it sitting there in case I ever need it again.
20190218_112756.jpg 20190131_173405.jpg 20190131_173424.jpg 20190124_195926.jpg
 
esshup

esshup

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Talking to people here, outdoor boilers use more wood than a fireplace insert, and a fireplace insert uses more wood than a free standing wood stove.

I'd recommend insulation, insulation, insulation. The more the merrier. Ceilings, walls, windows, doors, etc. Stop any cold air from coming in and you will be much better off, If you can, see if there was an outside air for combustion kit for your stove. Add one if you can. That way you aren't sucking cold air into the house to be sent up the flue. I saw my heat bill drop in half when I added insulation to this pre 1900's farmhouse. Then I replaced the aluminum triple track windows with insulated double pane windows and saw another drop in energy used. Still have problems with keeping the pipes from not freezing in the crawlspace when running just the fireplace insert, but it keeps the house warm, I have seen 100°F above outside ambient temp inside.

Change the water supply pipes to pex if you can, they won't bust if frozen. I keep all faucets open to trickle about a pencil lead thickness of water when it's below zero. I'll run the forced air furnace (ducts are uninsulated and run in the crawlspace) when it's below zero out too to put some heat down there in addition to burning the insert. I'll go thru 4-5 cords per year and this house is right at 2,000 sq. ft. with 2 bedrooms upstairs.
 
Kevin in Ohio

Kevin in Ohio

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As others have said, Insulate tour home and fix those issues first. I moved into Our family homeplace after my grandmother passed. I installed an OWB and was doing upgrades. With her prior heating bills it would pay for itself in leas than 4 years and that was without heating the 36' x 50' attached garage I was building + hot water. First year I used 28 cord WITHOUT heating the garage. We cut everything so everything from willow to hardwood comes into play.

If your home is an energy hog BEFORE an OWB, it will be after as well. Don't expect it to be more "efficient". You have longer burn times because of shear volume that you can stuff in there. My stove was an early Central Boiler Stainless so it isn't as efficeint as the newer catalytic. After working my but off the next year on a complete house redo while working a full time job, I cut it down to a 13 cord usage(with the garage as well). It has averaged that now for 15 years. I can do one load a day on most days but tend to light load twice a day. Extreme cold naturally eats more and you adjust accordingly.

If you want some ideas and tips, look at my house redo in the below picture album. Album 12

http://imageevent.com/kevininohio?n=0

I'm happy with my boiler.
 
esshup

esshup

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Juat another note, see if the local utility company can do a fan test on the house. That is where they install a false door with a fan in it. They turn the fan on, and find all the places where outside air is doming into the house. The tighter the house, the less it will cost to heat it. I forget what the correct name for that test is, but that is my next step to reduce the heat loss in this old house.
 
Marine5068

Marine5068

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Well, it’s been a heck of a winter. Work finally brought me home to the upper Midwest last year, so I bought an old family farm in BFE because people suck and nosey neighbors are terrible. House started as an old single room with cellar and front porch. House was built in 18-something-freaking-old, and has been added on to at least 6 times. Apparently in 19-something someone had the bright idea to attach the cattle feed barn to the back of the house. Then years after the dairy barn was built out across the drive, the old barn and milk room were renovated as part of the house now. Yeah, the fiancé was already “thrilled” about where and how we were living, and now knowing that our kitchen and dining room are in an old cattle barn, well, you can imagine.

In the house was a circa 1994 Vermont Castings Dutchwest 2462. Given the awful price of propane and that my best friend’s family farm was only an hour away, I decided wood was going to be the primary heat. So I dismantled the stove, redid the door seals, scrubbed the flue and chimney, and fired her up. Was new to wood burning, and followed the owner’s manual a bit too literally. Cue:

“Oh God, get the bypass closed! It isn’t supposed to be open for long!”

Quickly discovered that the cat and refractory packaging were bad, and replaced those. Fired her up again and ill-be-darned if the stove didn’t hit 1400F in under an hour and light off the chimney. Learned the response time of the local volunteer fire department that night. Good guys, and the sheriff deputies enjoyed playing with my German shepherd.

So, called in a pro to look everything over, basically said there was nothing wrong and that any chimney fire would have been minor and simply cleaned out the flue (from burning under temps on the bad cat). Was told to “let her rip,” so in late December I fired her up and kept her warm. Quickly learned that taking the wheelbarrow out to the barn for a load of wood every night is annoying. Also, storing a small amount of wood inside to warm up and fully dry out in the super dry indoor air seems to help the burn.

Then the true cold hit. There are now straw bales wrapped in plastic all around the entire exterior foundation and infrared space heaters placed in the crawl spaces aimed at pipes. Only took one frozen pipe to dictate this. Then the extreme cold hit (-30+) and I was reloading the stove every 3 hours. Between the stove ripping, the LP furnace going, and the space heaters, we marginally maintained 62F.

Wood sourcing is no problem for me. I started logging at the farm back east at home for field expansion in November, and will have the equivalent of 40-50 chords stashed in my back barn by April….and im not even halfway thru logging yet. All of this dictated new chainsaws….plural. My little Farm and Ranch ms311 is a beast, but I was running it like a raped ape and felling 36”+ trees with a small saw is neither optimal nor truly “safe.” So, I now own an MS661 and have an MS462 on order (the more I log, the more local farms want me to log their areas, so the saws are truly an investment). In the logging process, I couldn’t bring myself to hack beautiful, straight, hardwoods into firewood, so I bought a partially built sawmill and finished it so that I can mill my own timbers and boards. All of this then necessitated multiple chains, bars, and the purchase of bar oil by the case. Then with the sheer time im putting on the saws, parts galore to keep them running well (my local Stihl dealer loves me). I got a crash course on the new M-tronics as well as tearing a saw down and rebuilding it when the 661 ran into issues….there went money for a new control unit and fuel solenoid. Then, tired of always getting halfway thru a tree then stopping and walking away to get a wedge, I figured it was time for a kit load out to keep everything on me. And, not liking the age of my current plastic hardhat, now in the market for a steel pot. Weeks later, I understand exactly why fellers and loggers use everything they do (tape measure is ridiculous, and loggers tape is a dream!).

So here I am in March now. Not even really the end of the season, and I’ve already burned 6.5-7 chords for a collective maybe 90-100 days of run time. Clearly this stove is a hungry monster. I have holes burned in the carpet from embers, a mangled tool box in the truck from hauling wood, two saws in the truck that the fiancé does NOT know the true price of, a lawn mower engine powered chainsaw mill in the barn, a new-to-me trailer for hauling trees and timber that the fiancé also does NOT know the price of, and the need for more barn space to store cut and split firewood for drying. The fire department now knows me well, the local chimney sweep is awaiting my call this summer for installation of a new stove that doesn’t eat wood like cookie monster eats cookies, and within a year I need a bigger truck and trailer to haul full 8’-14’ sections of timber for milling from the increased logging work I am now doing. Oh, and given the fiasco of everything, the propane tank has been filled twice now as well, at $800 each time, which is what I was trying to avoid in the first place!

On the up side; selling a few timber sections of cherry and black walnut should offset most costs incurred…..I hope. And by goly is that 661 worth every penny that it costs. I have also managed to get back into the shape I was in late high school at this point by swinging the 661 with 36” bar around and humping out logs on my shoulder to where equipment can get to them. All in all, felling and logging is truly enjoyable work.

So, does this all sound about right for “first year of wood burning” and cost of such? Also, I would not mind suggestions on a new wood stove for the house to get this old hungry VC out. Currently looking at the Blaze King Ultra models.

And I am truly grateful for this site. The untold hours of research and reading I have conducted here have helped immensely throughout this winter when I was running into problems and second guessing decisions. So, i want thank you to all and express my gratitude.
Great story and life experience.
 
tdiguy

tdiguy

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Messages
158
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47
Location
NE Iowa
Juat another note, see if the local utility company can do a fan test on the house. That is where they install a false door with a fan in it. They turn the fan on, and find all the places where outside air is doming into the house. The tighter the house, the less it will cost to heat it. I forget what the correct name for that test is, but that is my next step to reduce the heat loss in this old house.
Probably not necessary if you can see light in the crawl space.
As others have said, Insulate tour home and fix those issues first. I moved into Our family homeplace after my grandmother passed. I installed an OWB and was doing upgrades. With her prior heating bills it would pay for itself in leas than 4 years and that was without heating the 36' x 50' attached garage I was building + hot water. First year I used 28 cord WITHOUT heating the garage. We cut everything so everything from willow to hardwood comes into play.

If your home is an energy hog BEFORE an OWB, it will be after as well. Don't expect it to be more "efficient". You have longer burn times because of shear volume that you can stuff in there. My stove was an early Central Boiler Stainless so it isn't as efficeint as the newer catalytic. After working my but off the next year on a complete house redo while working a full time job, I cut it down to a 13 cord usage(with the garage as well). It has averaged that now for 15 years. I can do one load a day on most days but tend to light load twice a day. Extreme cold naturally eats more and you adjust accordingly.

If you want some ideas and tips, look at my house redo in the below picture album. Album 12

http://imageevent.com/kevininohio?n=0

I'm happy with my boiler.
I've fallen into the same trap, should have been doing repairs instead of cutting wood. I also want to add, sometimes it's years later that your realize, if i had shoved this in a hole and started over, i would have been so much better off.
 
turnkey4099

turnkey4099

Tree Freak
Joined
Feb 27, 2002
Messages
18,177
Location
se washington
I have an older (1986) Suburban Woodchief I bought for $100 off craigslist, you can put 24" + logs in it, stuff it full and it will last for 12+ hours. The ash pan is below in a separate compartment, no burning embers anywhere ever, the firebox is separate. No fire to see but it does the job better than most I have seen and setup for friends. Ashley makes a similar unit. Below is what it looks like, loads from the side and has a thermostat controlling the fresh air coming in.

View attachment 720896

Ashley is the original IIANM. I have a "King" (Ashley knockoff). Those types are known as "Circualtors" as the theory is the hot air around the firbox rises up, pulling cool floor air up into the shroud. They do work pretty good. Been heating my house with one since 1983.
 
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