Outdoor woodstoves

Page 1 of 2  
doing tree work at his house, and rather than pay for a dumpster decided to get one of these:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber2058

Why is it EPA-exempt? The cook plates? Drumstoves made with $20 kits work well and hold lots of wood. I designed one into an outdoor stove near a window with a condensing counterflow chimney, on paper.
Outdoor stoves are very dirty, with one high-priced exception, but EPA- exempt, for some political reason, I guess. A hot firebox and a condensing chimney might make an efficient clean burn, with a small fan to push combustion air into the stove, which might run faster when more heat is needed, eg when water or room air temps drop.

Sounds funky. Is this a wood-framed porch? :-)

That small stove won't burn very long, and it may be hard to get heat into a radiator. At 50K Btu/h, an 800 Btu/h-F radiator with lots of water and airflow would have a 50K/800 = 63 F air-water temp diff, which might be hard on a fan motor. You might pump water out of a shallow tank on top of the stove through the house instead.
Or make a condensing chimney with a 6" (galvanized, aluminum, urethaned?) pipe inside 8" pipe, with the 6" pipe passing through 8" to 6" reducers at each end, waterproofed with lots of silicone caulk? Or wrap the inner pipe with polyethylene film and use PVC for the outer one?
And how about lots of foil-covered 4" thinwall PVC pipes under a foil ceiling instead of 55 gallon accent drums in the house, with a slow ceiling fan and a room temp thermostat and an occupancy sensor to bring down warm air as needed?
Nick
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What you have there is an old-fashioned, non-airtight wood stove. It is "EPA-exempt" because they don't bother rating the emissions - it's dirty buring. Depending on where you live, it might be illegal to use (as it says in the as you linked) If not, there's nothing inherently unsafe about it, provided to follow the clearances to combustibles, (which will be substantial compared to a more modern or shieded stove) and connect to to a proper chimney. Keep the chimney clean, because those old stoves will gum it up more quickly than an airtight stove will.
As for the Rube Goldberg ideas to circulate h2o, the sensors, the fans - by the time you go through all that, you're better off just buying a decent EPA-rated stove, putting it in the house and leaving it at that.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The EPA is a federal agency. Installation of stoves and fireplaces is goverened by local codes. Many cities in CA have a ban on any new fireplaces. Assuming you can install it legally where you plan:..........
Consider a gravity fed passive hot water recirculation system. In this you would place the car radiator on top of the stove. Next you would run a length of pipe UP about 4-5 feet then elbow over to any pipe to feed the radiator in the house (cold side). The water flows out of this second cool radiator at the bottom and returns to the first hot radiator from a low mounted pipe.
In theory, hot water is less dense and rises just like hot air. This rising causes a convection in the pipe which eventually gets the water circulating in the path described above. No pumps, no insulation except on the first few feet of pipe after the hot radiator. Should be OK to put in direct contact with stove as long as you do not overstoke it. Placement of the pipes and insulating the first section after heating are the critical design considerations to get the water moving. Sizing of the radiators, water volume and heat exchange efficiency at the stove will effect performance to some degree.
This is exactly the same way a hot water recirc system works with potable water systems. Don't expect it to heat your house toasty warm but it should take the edge off the coldest days.
This is also similar to the mode we used to run out hot water baseboard heating system in during power failures. We would manually open the zone valves then turn on the burner for a while. Since the furnace was in the basement, the water would circulate upstairs passively.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

heat rises. wouldnt it make more sense to put the hot water grid under the floor? maybe lay the grid, and pour cement over it?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Warm air rises...

Sounds like a lot more work, with a much slower response time and more heat wasted if the weather suddenly turns warm and less heat stored at a lower temp and less energy savings when the house is unoccupied, since you can't turn the heat off so easily.
Nick
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
SoCalMike wrote:

CHeap 3500PSI concrete runs over $100 a yard out here, excluding any formwork or labor. Right now I can't afford to do radiant heat. I actually am not living at the house in question (yet) because it needs too much work to be comfortably livable. I have spent a few nights there, but mainly I'm just interested in keeping the pipes from freezing. Due to a major electrical problem I can't actually run the heater, or anything that pulls more than around 10 amps total. The thought was to move as much heat as possible inside the house's insulation envelope, hopefully enough to keep the pipes safe during the few 20F days we expect to have this winter.
The system I envisioned wouldn't have any sensors, thermostats, etc. Basically I would get to the house after work, fire up the stove and start burning wood, get as much heat inside as possible before shutting down after a couple of hours and heading to where I sleep.
JazzMan
--
**********************************************************
Please reply to jsavage"at"airmail.net.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
SoCalMike wrote:

This is how one form of radiant flooring works.
--
Steve Spence
Dir., Green Trust, http://www.green-trust.org
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

I drive a Fiero, the stove fit into my car, a drum wouldn't. Besides, I liked the cool factor of the stove, reminded me of one we had as a wee child in our house. I have no idea about the EPA issues. I'm not sure what the principles are WRT a "condensing" chimney, care to elaborate? The wood I'll be burning is mostly softwoods, mulberry, hackberry, that sort of thing, plus a lot of old construction wood and pallets. I expect a chimney to get coated with creosote fairly fast and expect to have regular chimney fires, hence keeping it out on the concrete paved patio with no walls and a steel roof. I'll run the chimney up, sideways, then up again to avoid cutting a hole in the patio roof.
Every other sentence in the owner's manual for this stove warns about "overfueling" the stove, with frequent mentions of glowing stove parts being a warning to close all the dampers and call the fire department.
Very confidence inspiring. :)
Regarding storing water indoors, drums aren't a problem as I have a source that will sell and deliver plastic water drums fairly inezpensively. I am not particularly worried about aesthetics so much as not wanting the pipes to freeze this winter.
On the radiators (meant that to be plural in the original post) my thought was that if the radiators were inside an insulation envelope, with the water first being run through copper tubing coiled inside the chimney to preheat then through the radiators to pick up more heat, before moving it through insulated tubing inside, I could scavenge the most heat from the stove. I can get the radiators for dirt cheap from the wreckers.
Hang on, just had thought...
What if I build an insulated enclosure for the stove, then use a fan to move air over the firebox and hence into the house? However, it will only provide heat while I'm there, with no way to store heat for slow release while I'm not there. But, since the most heat I could get would be from two hours of burning, I guess it doesn't make a difference either way.

The foil would probably go well with my AFDB. :)
Anyway, I'm looking forward for some more info on a condensing chimney.
Thanks!
JazzMan
--
**********************************************************
Please reply to jsavage"at"airmail.net.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Many things make water vapor when burned. It usually goes up a chimney in vapor form, but condensing the vapor back to a liquid can add 5 (oil), 10 (natural gas), or 15% (wood) to the useful heat output of a pound of fuel. Water boils at 212 F, so condensation requires lower flue temps, which can be achieved by removing more heat from a flue. A very long indoor bare flue pipe is one way to this. Some old New England churches have large potbelly stoves in the back and very long gently-sloped flue pipes that run all the way to the front over the pews before exiting near the ceiling.
The corrosive condensate needs a drain. It can move lots of heat through small surfaces, eg 2000 vs 2 Btu/h-F-ft^2. It may allow burning damper wood cleanly, with a hotter firebox. A cooler chimney with less draw may need a small combustion air fan blowing air into the stove (easy, but dangerous if the flue pipe leaks), into the chimney (harder, requiring a high temp blower), or sucking air out at the chimney top (still harder, but safer if the chimney leaks.) The safety issues are less important outdoors, esp. if heat moves indoors in the form of hot water. Outdoor stoves with combustion fans can have very short small diameter chimneys. The fan can also run faster when more heat is required, eg when the water temp drops.

Seems to me that woodstoves are unreliable freeze protection, compared to an electric space heater with a 40 F thermostat.

What's an AFDB?
Nick
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

The PO of this house hacked with the wiring and there is just one single 12ga. wire as the neutral coming from the power pole to the breaker panel. I was wondering why the lights dimmed when I turned on the bathroom radiant overhead heater and why turning on the one window A/C unit caused all the lights to go almost completely out in the rest of the house, so I had an electrician friend of mine come take a look. That's when he discovered the wire guage problem, as well as several other problems. Now, I can easily repair the various problems but it will take a fair amount of money, especially for equipment rental, money that I don't have right now. I've worked the numbers several times, right now I think I can do the needed electrical repairs for around $1,700 or so, but it will be at least half a year or more before I can get that kind of money. So, I need to work with what I've got. :(

http://zapatopi.net/afdb.html
JazzMan
--
**********************************************************
Please reply to jsavage"at"airmail.net.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
[ ... ]

Is this a 220V feed with an undersized neutral, or a 120V feed done by an idiot?
If it's the former, use a 220V heater--there'll be no load on the neutral.
BTW, isn't the utility company responsible for the feed from the pole to the house? I can't imagine them allowing a homeowner to do it. Perhaps they can fix it for free or a reasonable cost.
Gary
--
Gary Heston snipped-for-privacy@hiwaay.net I don\'t need an iPod, I have an IQ.

A worthwhile endeavour:
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gary Heston wrote:

It's the former. The meter is on a pole I own, ten feet a way is the power company's pole. The wire that's been futzed with is the one from the power company's pole to my pole, above the meter. Everything from the meter up is theirs. If I call them they will pull the meter and disconnect power until I get the house cleared by the local city/county electrical inspectors, requiring a permit, and the local inspectors will not approve the permit until I bring this 1955 house up to current electrical code.
The electrician estimated that it would take somewhere north of ten thousand dollars to do that because the house will have to be gutted to get to all the wiring system. That's not going to happen since at my maximum savings rate it will take more than three years to get $10K, and I can't go without electricity for three years.

I've never seen a 220v portable heater, and in any case I'd rather not spend money on that right now.

See above. The PO (Previous Owner) was an idiot, I have no idea what he was thinking.
JazzMan
--
**********************************************************
Please reply to jsavage"at"airmail.net.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That seems to be a bit extreme on their part. The utility should look at this as repairing their feed and not worry about your house. Of course, different areas have different practices. Here, they won't disconnect as long as the bill is paid, even if they have to replace the drop to the house (other than long enough to get the new cable connected).

Does it have a basement or crawl space? If so, you should be able to pull replaement cable (Romex, etc.) yourself through that and the attic. While it's a lot of physical work, it's not hard to figure out. You can use the old cable in many cases to pull a string back out of the wall, which can then be used to pull the new cable in. (Tip: pull more string through than the length of cable you need to pull, tie a loop in the string, and attach the cable to the loop--if it slips off, you just pull string and cable back out and reattach.)
You'll need a breaker panel and breakers, which will cost $200 to $300, depending upon the number of circuits and capacity. Cable is about $35 a box, although I haven't looked closely at it since the storms along the Gulf Coast. It may be higher, now. Receptacles, switches, and faceplates aren't much. If you have to add a new box somewhere, plastic boxes are 70 cents or so; a long drill bit is less than $20, IIRC. Home Depot and Lowes have basic wiring guides for a couple of dollars, and I believe Home Depot has a short class on wiring.
As long as you're legally allowed to (as opposed to being in Chicago, where all electrical work is required by law to be done by licensed electricians and residential wiring has to be in conduit) you should be able to rewire for a lot less than $10K and without gutting the place.

They exist. As an alternative, a 220V light bulb would work, as well as two same wattage 110V bulbs wired in series. You can make a series adapter with a duplex outlet; break off the little tab connecting the two connection locations for the hot (brass) side, tie one 220V hot to each screw, and plug in two lamps. Or, use a couple of the inexpensive porcelain bases wired in series and mounted on a board. You can reuse them later.

Me neither. I can't see any reason to touch the cable on that side of the meter; in addition, it's very dangerous.
Gary
--
Gary Heston snipped-for-privacy@hiwaay.net I don\'t need an iPod, I have an IQ.

A worthwhile endeavour:
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 03 Dec 2005 18:14:59 -0000, snipped-for-privacy@hiwaay.net (Gary Heston) wrote:

Talk to an inspector, and other electricians. Code enforcement I'm familiar with takes these kinds of situations into account. There are many reasons an electric utility may need to put in new service lines to your home, eg squirrel electrocution, fire, ice, age, etc. In my case a neighbor's garage fire took out my electric service and when the electric utility restored the lines to the house that automatically kicked off a code requirement that my service (the in-house box) be upgraded from fuses to circuit breakers, and a visit by a city electric inspector. The utility guys putting in the new wires from the pole to my fusebox told me this and maybe left some paperwork. I shopped 2 electricians. The first one , 5th Avenue Electric, told me on the phone the breaker box install would cost about 600 bucks. I told him I'd get back to him. The second one, McCoy Electric, wanted to come have a look and soon did. He came up with about 1200 bucks for the circuit box and some untold thousands to bring the house up to code. I told him I didn't think I had to rewire my entire house when all I needed was a breaker box. He told me how the inspectors would think otherwise. I asked him why he wanted 1200 for the box when I had a phone quote for 600. He asked who, and I told him it was 5th Avenue Electric. He turned red and went on about how they're not licensed and they "buy" their permits. A disgrace to the trade. I told him I'd get back to him. But I almost bought his line of crap, thinking about how I didn't want trouble with code violations, and though he may be expensive, I could take a loan if I had to. But I had chatted with the first guy and liked him. I called 5th Avenue Electric back, and talked to the same guy as before. Asked him why he hadn't told me he wasn't licensed. He assured me that all work he did would be properly permitted and legal. Said goodbye. I still liked him, but was uneasy about the risk of having him do the job. Soon enough the city inspector came over to look at the new wires the electric company had put in, and at my fusebox. We went to my basement where he looked at the box. I bluntly asked him what I had to fix (my 2-flat was 60 years old.) He said "Get a circuit breaker box put in." As we walked through the basement on the way out he pointed to a junction box without a cover and said "put a cover on that, they're a dime at Handy Andy", pointed at a dangling ceiling bulb, said "that has to be a ceramic fixture, 2 bucks at Handy Andy. Then he looked at me and pointedly said "I'm not going upstairs." Later that day McCoy comes over, and I tell him I just talked to the inspector and I only want him to do the circuit box. The asshole gave me a hard time to the effect that despite the inspector's words he, McCoy, had a reputation to uphold, and must correct anything out of code. I saw him for the crook he was, things got heated, and I basically had to tell him to get the fuck out of my face and off my property. Chased after him, I got so pissed. I called 5th Avenue Electric back and told him he had the job. These guys (turned out they were Smiths) were a father and 11 brothers whose family had been electricians in the city for 3 generations. I talked mostly with the older brother("Bob"). They worked like banshees, got my house in shape quickly. Even had them do some upstairs receptacle and wall switch installs that I really needed but didn't have the money for it. Bob said "pay me when you get it." He charged 35 bucks an install, but I did the plaster/paint finish work. New circuits.

FYI, in Chicago you only need the license to pull the permit. What was going on above with 5th Avenue Electric is that the Smiths wouldn't pay kickbacks to the city inspectors, so the city revoked their electrical licenses. But they had so many friends willing to pull permits for them the city's action against them hardly slowed them down at all. I learned a lot from Bob about these machinations. What he didn't tell me is that his dad was wearing a wire for the feds, and within a year of him working on my house, the indictments came down. It was a huge scandal in Chicago, as scandals go. Royko wrote a column about the elder Smith and the inspector scandal, which was hardly limited to the electric inspectors. The inspector who came to my house may have known something was up, or may simply have been honest. In the same vein, if you're friendly with a licensed electrician, he might pull a permit for *your* work if he trusts you. He would want to inspect the work of course. In any case, it may not be a given that new utility legs would require the entire house must be brought to current code.

If your primary concern about heating is to keep the pipes from freezing, you might consider draining the lines when it's cold enough to freeze them. BTW jazzman, how many miles you got on your 2.8?
--Vic
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Victor Smith wrote:

Essentially this is what I'm going to do. I will install the new meter base, conduit, and buried wiring from the pole to the breaker box in side the house, as well as all new wiring up to a new drop at the top of the pole. He will inspect it to see that it was done right, then swap the meter to the new base and repair the messed up wiring at the top of the pole.

My city basically says that any time a permit is issued to work at the meter, requiring that the meter be pulled the OK will not be given to reconnect power until the house is completely brought up to the latest code, which is NEC2005 IIRC. The power company, upon inspecting the tampered wiring, is required to pull the meter, repair the wiring to the meter base (which is a 75 amp base, another screwup by the PO and not legal by local code), then await notification by the city code department before reinstalling the meter and initiating electrical service.

66k and counting. The old gal is holding up fairly well considering the rest of the chassis has over 208k on mostly original parts, excluding wear items like brake pads. In fact, even the belts have 66k and are doing well, I love the Goodyear Gatorback belts, they're the best I've ever used. Sometime next year I've got to take her out of service for some major work on the rest of the chassis and suspension, but I'll have one of my other cars up and running by then.
Oh, and with the .040 overbore and retrofitting the 3.1 crank it's now a 3.2, and with the Crane 2030H it's got 173 ft/lbs of torque, of which I develop almost 90% at 1,200 RPM. With that flat of a torque curve it is a nice zippy ride, downshifting is completely optional at any speed and grade, in fact I rarely bother shifting out of third for cornering in city driving and never out of 5th for highway, regardless of the grade:
http://www.fierocentral.com/images/misc/dynochart.gif
Another plus is that with the increased efficiency at lower RPMs my fuel mileage has risen dramatically, up to 31MPG on the highway at 75MPH susptained driving and in the mid twenties around town in the brutal stop and go commuting traffic I deal with every day. The original factory rating was 24/18, 20 combined. Now it's about 30/23, 25 combined.
JazzMan
--
**********************************************************
Please reply to jsavage"at"airmail.net.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That's assinine. So a 50 year old house, with only two-pronged outlets everywhere would have to be completely retrofitted to 3-prong, GFCI and AFI circuits? Here in NY, all 'work' done must be to the latest code, but other parts of the home that complied with the code that was in affect when built do not need retrofit. So if adding new bedroom, the wiring in it must meet 2005, but the kitchen doesn't need retrofit.
Installing a new service panel typically requires pulling the meter. But here in NY it doesn't require that all the circuits in the house be replaced. I don't know where you are, but that is idiotic and could probably be contested in a court. And NY is pretty 'anal' about building inspections/code.
Are you sure it isn't more like NY, in that all *new* work must meet code, but you don't have to 'gut the house' just to replace a meter? I've never heard such extreme 'interpretation' of the law before. Look for it in writing, I think you just have an idiot for a code inspector.
daestrom
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
[ ... ]

[ ... ]
Sounds draconian relative to here, but not unusual in some areas.
My brain finally made itself useful this morning and presented the two words "heat tapes". Put them on your pipes, they won't pull much power at all, will keep the pipes from freezing, and will be lots safer than the workarounds we've been discussing.
Gary
--
Gary Heston snipped-for-privacy@hiwaay.net I don\'t need an iPod, I have an IQ.

A worthwhile endeavour:
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gary Heston wrote:

Or even two 110V portable heaters wired in series, if they are of a very simple type (mechanical thermostat, no electronics, etc.). However, you probably want to be careful about the issue of things that need to be plugged into a polarized outlet.
Also, to elaborate on the light bulb idea, you can get 500W halogen bulbs in a tubular shape (like the kind that go into those torchiere floor lamps that were ubiquitous a few years back, except those take 300W bulbs). Two 500W bulbs in series makes 1000W of heat, which is a fairly significant amount.
- Logan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Are you sure about the permit approval? There is usually a grandfather clause for work already done. It might not hurt to check with the your state's electrical board.
Dean
-
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
JazzMan wrote:

OK, my question would be whether the previous owner knew about this defect and whether they disclosed it to you at the time of the sale. I think it depends on individual state law, but if they knew and didn't disclose, they could be guilty of something like fraud or breach of contract. Or at least liable financially.
Since you had to find out about this from an electrician, it would seem fairly obvious that they did not disclose it. So then the only question remains whether they were aware, and I would suspect they were, since this seems like a classic example of a homeowner going "I can fix this myself" when, in fact, they cannot.
So, personally, based on the knowledge I have of the situation (which is, admittedly, limited), I would be thinking in terms of the previous owner paying to have his own mess to be cleaned up.
Also, what about solving the short-term problem by getting some really cheap lamps with 100W light bulbs and placing them in cabinets that have exposed pipes? If you put the lamp in the same cabinet and close the doors and leave it on 24/7, that might keep the pipes relatively warm since it's a confined space. Of course, then you are targeting specific areas, which means you'll need to be aware of all the places where pipes might freeze and get them all. Still, with a 12 ga wire, that should be enough to run perhaps 1000W of light bulbs.
Another possible idea is to just go buy a space heater that runs on propane, natural gas (if you have it at the house), or kerosene and is designed for indoor use. Home Depot's web site lists a 23,000 BTU indoor kerosene space heater for $119. That seems like a very simple and easy way to get the job done.
- Logan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.