Woodstove Steamers?

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We have a small woodstove (Lopi Patriot model) and as anyone who uses a woodstove knows, the air gets very dry when we use it. Dry eyes, dry noses, and static electricity. So, I'd like to buy a steamer to set on the stove to add moisture back into the air.
Unfortunately, all of the steamers and kettles I have seen are rather large and wouldn't fit on the top of our small woodstove very nicely.
So, I'm curious if anyone knows where I could find a SMALL steamer (to fit on a 6" ledge), or what other options I might have for setting on the stove. I don't have a lot of money right now, so I'd prefer something under $50. It should also be black to match the stove, it shouldn't rust or leave marks on the stove, and it shouldn't be damaged if it runs out of water.
I'm currently using a glass pyrex dish which has helped with the air situation, but doesn't look very attractive. I'm also worried about it cracking when I need to add more water, and don't know what would happen if it ran dry.
Thanks,
Anthony
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wrote:

Your Pyrex dish sounds perfect--easy to clean, easy to see water level, fairly easy to clean, no rust, inexpensive. If glass is hot and dry never get it wet until it completely cools to room temperature. I bought a tea kettle (for $1 at Goodwill) to use a wood steamer for my shop--still works well after 12 years of use.
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Seems like a lot of fuss to get a bit of moisture in a room! Was going to suggest a stainless steel bowl of some kind, no problems with it cracking which might occur if new cold water was added to an empty hot pyrex dish. Also stainless does not rust. A stainless container could be of any size suitable; as small as a small milk jug/sugar bowl or as large as a mixing bowl. And yes, pick up something suitable for 50- cents or a buck at the good will store. If you want fancy maybe you have a vintage copper saucepan that would look 'nice' somewhere. Another alterntive, which we used 45 years ago, when our first was in diapers (nappies) was to hang damp clothes on a 'clothes horse' near the stove after we had put them through the wringer. That baby is now a departmental manager with a staff of 60 and her own all-electric house! Have fun.
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I'm using a 5x9 pyrex baking dish, which works well for adding moisture to the air, but it's when I need to add water that I get nervous. I make sure to add water before it gets empty, and try to get the water as hot as possible from the tap before adding it, but I still worry about it cracking.
I'd also like to find something that "looks" a little nicer. :)
Anthony
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Not necessarily, with a fairly airtight woodstove in a fairly airtight house. It might only need 10 cfm of combustion air, vs an average US house that naturally leaks 225 cfm or ASHRAE's 15 cfm per occupant fresh air standard.

Evaporating water takes heat energy, ie more firewood. Airsealing the house will raise the humidity and decrease the need for heating energy, ie firewood.
Nick
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On Nov 14, 8:09 am, snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

The additional humidity provided will, or should, result in less firewood. You can feel comfortable in a more humid atmosphere at lower temp. In any case, the energy that goes into evaporating a quart or so of water a day isn't enough to be of concern.
Harry K
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Wrong.
But evaporating the water requires 10 times more energy than keeping the house warmer, for equivalent comfort.

A quart or so won't make much difference. Andersen estimates that a typical family of 4 evaporates 2 gallons per day in breathing, cooking, cleaning, showering, and so on.
How much will a quart a day raise the indoor RH if w = 0.0025 outdoors and a house leaks 225 cfm? How much will 2 gallons raise the RH if the house leaks 15 cfm?
This is a matter of science, vs old wive's tales :-)
Nick
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On 14 Nov 2007 17:31:47 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

Depends heavily on your proximity to the stove. A steamer makes a big difference when you spend time near the stove. My old wife told me that.
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With some diffusion equations? :-)
Nick
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On 14 Nov 2007 17:38:19 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

Not necessary. You tried to be scientific about this, but failed miserably, because you failed to look at the whole picture.
I have introduced just ONE obvious factor that makes all your equations useless and irrelevent.
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Wrong :-)
Nick
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wrote:

The rest of us saw the other factor that trumps any and all equations. No sense of humor, Nick?
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Putting your head into the steamer pot would help :-)

Just physics :-)
Nick
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We have radiators and a woodstove. This is our first house and the other places that we lived all had forced air heat. After our first winter here, we had nasal issues and very dry skin. Our family Dr. told us to get a humidity meter and put coffe cups filled with water on our radiators. Since we have a baby, we also have a vaporizor. I filled it up and sure enough the humidity level in the house came into comfortable levels. Now we have two "cool mist" vaporizers, one for the first floor and one for the second. Works great! Once we get the SS chimney up I am hoping that by putting a cast iron pot with water on the stove top will work as well as the vaporizers.
They also make small hang on pots for radiators that hang on the front, but they are so small that you would have to fill them at least twice a day. Plus you would probably have to have one on every radiator. In my shop I have a kerosene heater on top I put a SS stock pot filled half with water and this works great...
SD
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I couldn't explain the physics behind it, but I can attest to the dry air when we use the woodstove.
We have a fairly airtight house (built in 2003/2004), but also have a fresh air ventilation system as required by Washington state building codes. So we always have fresh air entering the house.
The woodstove has it's own external air supply and doesn't take air from our living space.
It's not too bad if the weather is rainy, but if it's a cool dry day, it only takes a couple of hours before our noses start feeling dry, and we start getting lots of static shocks.

Our small woodstove puts off way more heat than we need to heat up the house comfortably, so a little heat loss to evaporate the water is a minor issue. I doubt blocking a small 6"x9" area on the top of the stove is going to make much difference anyway, since a lot of heat seems to come from the front and sides.

We only use our woodstove for supplimental heat. Mostly for the romantic aspect and for power outages. A cord of wood can last us almost two years. I'm not too worried about using a little extra firewood.
Anthony
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Same here. A gallon of water/day (about my use) adds up to a _lot_ of vapor. Here also, any loss of heat is not noticeable as the wife runs it too warm anyhow.
Harry K
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On Thu, 15 Nov 2007 08:02:49 -0800 (PST), Harry K

You get your wood stove to evaporate a gallon a day?

Get rid of the wife. Solves all sorts of problems.
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Pretty close to a gallon (never measured it) but the stove runs 24 hours a day. shut all drafts down when I go to bed.
Harry K
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Sounds like the stove is not airtight, ergo also inefficient.

Less than 0.2 ACH, ie 4 ACH at 50 Pa with a blower door test?

You might do well to turn it off, or only turn it on when the house RH rises to 60%, automatically, using a $30 humidistat switch. A perfectly airtight house would require DEhumidification in wintertime...

If the combustion air supply goes right into the woodstove, vs into the room air surrounding the woodstove, it shouldn't lower the room air humidity,

It takes 1000 Btu to evaporate a pound of water, and dry wood makes about 10K Btu when burned, but more house airsealing raise the house RH and REDUCE vs increase the amount of wood or other fuel burning required.

I'm afraid that's irrelevant.
Nick
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Nick,

The stats are fine and dandy, but what matters to me is the real world situation. When I burn wood in the woodstove, the air gets dry. Simple as that.
Our house is sealed and insulated well with good windows. The woodstove is fairly new and has good efficiency ratings. The ventilation system noticeably improves the air quality in the house.
Given a choice between setting a pan of water on the woodstove, or updating the house/woodstove/shutting off the ventilation system, I'll choose the pan of water.

Short of wrapping the house in a plastic bubble, I don't think there's much more I could do to better seal the house. We built our own home, and I paid extra attention to sealing gaps and whatnot during construction.
Anthony
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