Posts Tagged ‘wood’

Heating With Wood – Vintage-Style Energy

admin | July 23rd, 2010 | No Comments »

Old Is New Again

The newer things become, they more they return to the past. This is true of heating with wood. From the dawn of time, heating with wood was a natural emanation of the need to stay warm in cold temperatures as well as a means with which to cook. The return to heating with wood is no surprise. Until the early 1900’s most homes were heated with wood stoves and wood-burning fireplaces. Most meals were cooked on wood stoves.

Where Did All That Wood Come From?

With careful conservation methods, wood used for heating and cooking was never in short supply. It was grown in heavily wooded areas or on designated tree farms. Care was taken to insure wood stoves were properly venting fly ash so that fires were rare. Chimneys and flues received regular meticulous cleaning by expert chimney sweeps.

In big cities, fireplaces and large open hearths provided enough heat from wood even in three-story Victorian homes. Wood for these homes and businesses was brought in from lumber yards. The lumbering process was so exacting that there was little in the way of waste. Twigs, branches and short sawings were used as fat wood to help a wood fire start. Sawdust was used in any number of ways: to patch holes in wood as well as to line walkways and chicken coops. Whatever remained was returned to the earth as mulch. Wood was carefully selected for heating purposes.

Vintage-Style Energy

Though heating with wood may be a vintage-style energy source, it is effective as a means of energy. It does require knowledge of the types of wood that can be safely and cleanly burned. Hardwoods like oak, maple, beech and sycamore as well as fruit-woods like apple, crab apple and cherry are some of the types of woods that make clean burning fuel for heating with wood. Among others, nut-woods like walnut, pecan, chestnut and almond also give off a lovely fragrance while burning.

Choose hardwoods, fruit-woods or nut-woods that are aged. One tip is to look for orchards that are in the process of removing dead woods. In most cases, the wood will be sold for firewood. Unaged, green woods retain sap and therefore need to be dried before they can be used for heating with wood. Sappy woods create dangerous sparks and as a result burn faster.

Wood Stoves Today

Today’s wood stoves make heating with wood more efficient than those of the past. Venting systems for these wood stoves has been greatly upgraded to produce thorough efficient heating with wood. Aged woods for wood stoves are sold in large lumber and hardware stores as well as by individual sellers of wood. In most cases, these woods are already split and bundled. Wood is sold in stacks and cords for heating with woods in wood stoves. Cords of wood need to be shielded from too much dampness or dry rot will occur fairly quickly.

Be sure to stack your wood so that it is protected from ground moisture. Also, it’s a good idea to use a moisture-proof tarp to cover your wood pile or, use log holders and hoops.

Written by Craig Daniels and used under the Creative Commons License.

Outdoor wood furnace or boiler can solve high energy costs

admin | July 22nd, 2010 | No Comments »

What if there were a way to provide heat for your home, a way to give you all the hot water you and your family would need for showers, baths, laundry and more – all your family would need to heat your pool, spa, and anything else you wanted to keep warm with a truly efficient, completely renewable resource? What if you were able to help the environment while you were heating your home? What if you could do all this for FREE?

freefirewoodCertainly, there’s the up front cost of the equipment in the beginning, but I’ll ask you to demonstrate to me a heating system that doesn’t demand a substantial initial purchase price. Being able, then, to do everything in the preceding paragraph truly sounds great, does it not? Wood is the resource that matches all of these needs. It is right down the road or in the backyard. Yes, we are talking about wood.

Naturally, you might say that that is old-fashioned and inefficient. That’s not the case anymore. Wood heating has finally come of age. The modern outdoor wood furnaces Alternative Heating & Supply has take advantage of the latest developments in heating technology. Once one is installed outside your home, and using water and heat exchangers, our furnace burns efficiently and cleanly. Normally it can be attached to your existing system to distribute the warm air wherever your home needs it.

Due to the fact all of your fuel, the wood, is kept outside, you will not have the mess associated with indoor stoves. The furnace will burn all dimensions and types of wood, too, even those unsplittable knotty pieces. And, the cool thing is you only have to add to it once or twice a day, even in the coldest weather. That’s terrific, isn’t it? Load it up in the morning and again in the evening, and the unit will do the rest. Normal water heated to 185 to 200 degrees surrounds the firebox, and then courses through tubing to your home where heat exchangers change it to hot air that is dispersed by your present system.

Gas, oil and coal are fossil-based, non-renewable resources. And in the last year, costs for these commodities have soared toward the moon. You know this to be true. Power prices are rising, too.

The environmental impact of these fuels is significant and must be taken into account. The methods used to extract fossil fuels are damaging to the ecosystem. Home systems, unless they are constantly and professionally maintained, are not really efficient burners. And electricity is often produced by coal-fueled plants or by hydroelectric dams that affect our fragile ecosystems.

So, when you take it all into mind, there’s no other source of heating your home to provide you all the advantages of a timber-fueled method. Wood is environmentally friendly, efficient and cost-effective. And with a little extra work, you can get all this at no cost. This is an energy resource which grows virtually everywhere. Areas are frequently being cleared and what remains are excellent for your personal use. Haul it home and you and your loved ones can stay toasty all winter season for the price of a tank or two of petrol.

Written by sillyfrank and used under a Creative Commons license.

A windy/sunny day gets you thinking

admin | May 6th, 2010 | No Comments »

compare-wind-turbinesOn a day like today where the winds are gusting, the sky is clear and the sun is bright, it’s hard not to think of alternative energy. The average electricity bill in Southern NH is right around $85 a month and the thought of getting off the grid and having a few days a month where PSNH actually pays you is really tantillizing.

A couple new wind turbines that take up little space and spin quietly as your electrical meter grinds to a halt and perhaps even starts spinning the other way, is worth looking into. Seriously, there are so many sizes and shapes to select from, surely one or more of those would fit your lifestyle. The stereotype of a giant propeller spinning with that gentle but prominent “whoosh” sound is no more.

But say you don’t want all that metal spinning in your backyard like some sort of Calder sculpture. Maybe harvesting all those trees that have fallen over in the yard because of gusty winds or recent ice/snow storms. Cut it up large and load your wood-burning outdoor furnace. Now is a perfect time to stock up for the cold months. Better to have too much than too little. In fact, if you don;t have enough, ask you neighbors. They are likely to just want to get it off their grass and whether it’s pine or oak, you can burn it all and save money.

For those looking to capitalize on the sun, solar panels are starting to become cost-effective for residential installations and coming first-hand from a small installation in Amherst, in about 10 years everything will be paid for with annual electricity savings. Not bad considering there is little to no maintenance on the panels.

Combine any number of these and you are looking at significant savings and for no other reason, you are doing your part to keep the Earth healthy for future generations.

Pros and cons with outdoor boilers

admin | February 15th, 2010 | No Comments »

Small_boiler_picOutdoor boilers, sometimes called outdoor wood furnaces, provide an alternative means to heat your home. Their use is becoming increasingly popular in the Northeast including our lovely State of New Hampshire. There are a number of pluses in using an outdoor boiler as your source of heat.

Outdoor boilers are usually quite large requiring the homeowner to only have to load it once or twice a day. The large size means that large, irregular pieces of wood can be burned. The type of wood is also less important than that of a regular wood stove meaning, the rule about only burning hardwoods and not burning pine is no longer in effect. Without the large chimney, smoke from burning the wood only has a short distance to travel creating significantly less risk for a chimney fire.

In addition, wetter wood can be burned because the large fuel load can offset the lower efficiency of burning unseasoned wood. Along with heating an entire house, outdoor boiler systems can also be used to simultaneously heat shops, garages or barns. Despite the fact that burning wood inside is safe if properly done, many homeowners feel outdoor boilers are safer because the fire is far away from the home. Utilizing an outdoor furnace also removes the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning which can be an issue with oil, gas and propane furnaces in the home.  Finally, because the outdoor boiler keeps the wood outside, there is no bark, dirt and ash mess to clean up inside the house.

The biggest downside to outdoor boilers is that they require electricity to run the water-circulation pumps and fans. They don’t provide the same insurance against power outages that a normal wood stove does but is nothing new to those homeowners that rely on gas, propane or oil furnaces. Typically homeowners who experience regular power outages already have a generator that supplies electricity to maintain their furnace.