Need report on users of outside wood furnace

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Farmer Brown, Jun 30, 2004.

  1. Farmer Brown

    Farmer Brown Well-Known Member

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    Such as the "Hardy" brand or others. How has firewood consumption been compared to a regular inside wood stove? Anything else you may wish to share. FB
     
  2. BeeFree

    BeeFree Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We had a Hardy furnace put in a couple years ago.

    The first year we only heated the house. It took about 3 ranks of wood to heat it that year compared to about 6 with a indoor wood stove.

    The second year we heated the detached garage plus the house and it took about 6 ranks of wood.

    It is much cleaner as the wood and smoke is outside. You have hot water without using as much electric to heat it.

    A couple draw backs, you have to keep the stove going in winter. That means if you are away from home for over 12 hrs, someone has to go feed the furnace. Also, you need a generator to run the stove and blower if the electric goes out.

    I can wear my shorts in the winter time in the house and not have to worry about it costing much to keep the heat going.
     

  3. Farmer Brown

    Farmer Brown Well-Known Member

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    That's the kind of report I'm looking for. Thanks. On question----could you possible mean cords of wood instead of ranks? That seems like a small amount of firewood for a Missouri winter. And--do you need to keep it going 24 hrs to prevent water freezeup in outside unit? Thanks again for the comments, FB
     
  4. Hi, We have had a Hardy for 12 years. We absolutely love it. We are in Southwest VA. Shopped around alot before going with the Hardy. What sold me was the stainless steel construction. We have it exposed to the elements and only have had to replace the waterpump and relay in 12 years. I used the hot water feature the first year but found out I was burning twice the wood for the hot water. (4 children) So I dropped back to only heating the house and using my electric hot water heater the 2nd year. (Personal preference) I read alot of commentary about different waterstoves but feel the Hardy still was the right choice for me.

    I got sick one winter and couldn't load it for several days. I dropped back to my gas furnace. As long as the outside temp. didn't stay below freezing for several days the stove will be fine.(waterlines coming out near the heater freezing). Here in VA that seldom happens.
    When the power goes out you will need a generator to keep the stove going. I don't have one but use my gas logs for heat. (power usually out only for 6-12 hours at a time).

    All in all I highly recommend one IF:
    1)You don't mind cutting wood.
    3)You don't mind a few extra minutes work in the morning and evening.
    3)You have access to ample wood supply.(We've never had to cut a tree just for firewood. Friends and icestorms keep my supply up.
    4)You love staying warm and toasty when others are freezing while complaining their utility bill is skyhigh.

    Hope this helps,
    Todd
     
  5. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    I used a wood king indoor wood heater as an outside heat source in a mobile home. We built a ciderblock building 10 by 10 ft and 5 ft tall and bedded the floor and filled the holes in the blocks with construction sand. The heater building was 15 feet from the mobile home and connected to the ductwork with a airflow fan. The heater only needed to be charged twice a day and occasionally the heat from the stove bunker needed to be vented when the home got too hot.
     
  6. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well, up here in Minnesota a lot of folks don't like them - takes twice as much wood. Some of the brands are poorly made, as they are not much regulated. Some smoke pretty bad. We have the issue of keeping the water hot, as last winter 10 below was the high for several days. I personally would not want to bundle up 2 times a day to go out & feed the furnace - but my basement is set up for a wood boiler & wood room, so that is just very handy.

    Sounds like some of you hardly need a furnace? :)

    --->Paul
     
  7. I run a Classic CL 5648 from central boiler (http://www.centralboiler.com/). I use it to heat an old un-insulated farmhouse (3000sf) and it also heats the domestic hot water. My unit is going on its 6th heating year with no problems but it does eat a lot of wood. On a cold week, it will eat about 1 to 1.25 cords, (house at 68F with 6 hot showers) but I am essentially heating a pole barn. I pushed an easy 35 cords through it last winter (coldest winter since 1862) average winter about 25 cords. I burn mostly softwoods (pine) that are salvage from the tree business but it will burn anything (green, dry, punky, frozen, pallets, branches etc). Wood consumption on an insulated house would be a lot less. Before the boiler, I ran two wood stoves and could easily burn 12 cords good hardwood a year and you would freeze or cook depending on which side of you was facing the stove. I live in northern New England. Winters not too cold but we do have our share of negative nights. Wind is the biggest problem as it could blow the hat off your head inside the house. It just sucks the warm air out. Compared to the woodstoves the boiler has made life easier and lot more comfortable. Compared to oil or gas heat, the boiler is a lot more work but if you half to heat with wood it is like night and day compared to a woodstove. I will never go back to indoor woodstoves. One of the best features of the unit is that it is located almost 200 feet from the house. Keeps all the wood, bugs, dust, ash, flame, smoke, and filth outside. The unit will take a 56” piece of wood, lumps, scarf cuts, stumps, roots or pallets cut in half. I fill it 2 times a day, once in the morning going to work and once coming home. The ash is a very fine power and I remove some ash every other week.
    The unit does smoke when it first fires up but you can keep the smoke to a minimum by adjusting how much air the fan draft pumps into the fire box and by how you load the fire box. With a little know how, my unit produces less smoke than the Vermont Casting Vigilant it replaced. Likewise, if you stack the firebox tight with a clip of fresh cut pine slabs, the thing will produce an awe inspiring cloud of smoke and steam that could easily hide a carrier group.
    The outdoor wood fired boiler is not for everyone. You need to have access to a large volume of cheep wood and you need to have the time to smash up the wood and feed the fire. If you are purchasing dry hardwood, you are probably better off sticking with an indoor wood stove.
     
  8. Farmer Brown

    Farmer Brown Well-Known Member

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    Todd, How many cords do you use without the hot water heater in use? Per winter I mean. I have regular wood heat now and trying to determine how much more, if any, this system will require. FB
     
  9. coso

    coso Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I burned 14 rank in my wood furnance in SW MO last winter. They seem to burn a awlful lot of wood but they keep it warm.
     
  10. Tractorman

    Tractorman Well-Known Member

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    How much is a "Rank"?
    around here wood is measured in Cords is it the same?
    I think a cord is like 128 cubic feet.
     
  11. Farmer Brown

    Farmer Brown Well-Known Member

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    14 rank is not too bad. 18 inch wood is 3 rank to the cord. So your just under 5 cord for the winter. Thanks, FB
     
  12. It is hard to say how many cords I burn in my Hardy.
    I always try to burn all wood near the heater before shutting it down usually in mid March. I've been cutting wood since teen years and yet I still don't store my wood for next year the season before. I usually keep a mental note of downed trees in my 6 acres and when Sept- Oct rolls around I just go out on Saturdays and cut enough for 1-2 weeks. I know it sounds crazy but mix that in with the occasional friend who wants me to come pick up wood that they cut and won't use(cleaning lots, downed trees, etc.) and I always make it thru the winter. Also have a friend in the tree topping business who will drop off wood if he's in my area. The drawback is sometimes I need to mix dry and green wood together. Most of the time I can make it only cutting every other Sat.
    Keep in mind the winters in VA seldom get below freezing for several days in a row.
    Hope this helps.
    Todd
     
  13. Farmer Brown

    Farmer Brown Well-Known Member

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    Just a note to update on early post on outside furnace. Did buy a small Hardy. Super way to go. I installed myself so saved money and also know how it's done. Started a fire in November and it's still going today. Heat the winter with only one match. One of the good things about this furnace that I like is it's not fussy about wood. Wet, green, rotten, whatever. Toss it in and it burns. I also preheat water for an electric water heater, so the waterheater rarely comes on. FB
     
  14. dla

    dla Well-Known Member

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    This is the kind of system we are hoping to convert to eventually.
    Our home heating system is a great one as long as electricity prices are rock bottom - which they were when it was built.

    It basically uses electricity to heat water which is then pumped all over the house, with individual room air blowers.

    DH wants to heat the water for this system and our hot water heater in an outdoor stove, so this is all very helpful!

    We do have tons of wood, and we go out to feed the animals anyway.

    thanks, Sounds like a possibility.
     
  15. SherrieT

    SherrieT State of Confusion

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    Can I ask what your approximate costs were??

    Sherrie
     
  16. Farmer Brown

    Farmer Brown Well-Known Member

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    I bought the smallest unit as just have 1200 sq ft. All in all it ran almost $4000 with supplies to install. Soooooo--it better last a long time!FB
     
  17. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    4 k isn't bad. A new furnace would be at least 2500$. How long do you figure for payback just concidering monthly fuel cost? 2-3 years +-??


    mikell
     
  18. Ardie/WI

    Ardie/WI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When we moved out here about 11 years ago, we installed a Central Boiler. We were the first to use that type of furnace. Now, they're popping up all over the place! I know of two that wee going in soon!
     
  19. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

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    Not to beat a dead horse, but you can burn green wood?! That's intriguing to me as green is sooooo much cheaper than seasoned in these parts. I also have a ton of birch junk lying around these acres--it that okay, too?
     
  20. twstanley

    twstanley Well-Known Member

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    Missouri
    ]

    I have a Hardy outdoor furnace, it came with the property when we bought it 2 and a half years ago. It took a bit of tinkering to get it going as the previous owners had it wired wrong and had let it freeze which split the domestic hot water coil, but it works like a charm now.

    I would guess I go thru a little over a cord of wood a month during the winter, it is hard to tell as I never buy any, just take down the dead trees on our property and get wood from friends and family who don't want or need it.

    And yes, you can burn green, wet, whatever wood. You might have to start the fire with good dry wood but after its going good you can stack whatever on top of it. When the blower is pumping air in the bottom and its going good and hot it will dry whatever you put in before it burns it.