We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, November 30. 2014
We have posted recently about firewood, green or dried.
Of course, it all depends on whether your fires are for pleasure, comfort, and ambience or for the BTUs. We have an old wood stove in the kitchen which provides tons of heat, but my fireplace in the den warms that little room up very effectively, to the point that I have to open the window.
Fireplaces do radiate heat, just much more ineffectively than stoves.
What wood to burn? Any wood is good. Some people are too afraid of burning fir and pine, but they are excellent, produce wonderful smells, and probably produce less chimney creosote than slower-burning hardwoods. However, if you keep a home fire burning as we do, you must have the chimney cleaned at least twice per winter, and ideally once per cord or two whatever the wood. Chimney fires are the reason so many churches and old houses have burned down in New England.
Generally speaking, the hotter the fire, the less creosote condensation in the chimney. Here you can read all about chimney creosote.
I have read that it takes a year to air-dry unsplit green wood, which can contain over 50% water when freshly cut (dry wood is around 25% water, depending on where you live). I burn green wood sometimes once I have a good bed of coals and don't want a blazing fire, but it certainly does not burn as hot as air-dried wood. I don't care because I am not reliant on wood for heat except when our power is down.
Here is some good firewood info from the Master Sweep.
Here are some good data about firewood
Info re the Franklin stove
Info re the Rumford Fireplace
Brick-lined chimneys? They are obsolete. Best thing is to line them with stovepipe.
Always bear in mind that every time you light a fire you are producing CO2, killing Gaia, and destroying the planet. Coal and oil, after all, are just very well-seasoned old wood. If you truly love Gaia, you would do without mechanized transport, or horses, or A/C, heat, and the internet.
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An interesting post B.
I did like the all about chimney creosote link. I did not know 250 was the magic temp for creosote.
I agree stove pipes are the way to go. I bought a bunch of heavy pipe to drop down my chimney and hook to my furnace pipe, but haven't worked out getting the pipe lowered down the chimney yet. I had planned to flange it and bolt it together as it was lowered down, but it will get pretty heavy by the time the last piece goes on.
Hopefully I will have it figured out and installed before I burn the house down.
I think my preferred sort of smoldering fires is part of why I have so much experience with chimney fires (3). Very scarey. Shut the damper, call 911, and spray a hose on the roof and top of the chimney, and hope for the best.
And thus plenty of experience with chimney sweeps. I just keep the sweep on retainer!
Somewhere on my hard disk, I have a scientific paper from the late 1920s on the science of chimneys. Dealing mostly with coal fires in brick/stone chimneys. It reminds me that we aren't that far away from when real research into the science was the norm. And that is ignoring the 1970s revival.
I have an indoor wood furnace so I burn about 9 cord a year. I buy a log length load dropped on my property so I have to cut it, split it and truck it into my drive-in basement. This year, I bought a conveyor and fabricated a wood-loader. Holy smokes, it works splendidly and most of my wood is already indoors.
Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, almond wood from the orchards in the Central Valley is the common species for firewood. They prune the branches regularly then retail the larger cuttings.
It burns well enough and has a mild scent of almonds when it burns.
$220 for a full cord in Queens. And it's usually green.
Get a "fireback". Helps throw out the heat..
Your photo reminds me of the old story of the Indian chief with an excellent reputation for being able to predict whether the coming winter would be harsh or mild.
One daring white guy asked the chief one autumn day just on what facts or trends he based his prediction.
The chief looked the white man in the eye and said "When I see white men build BIG wood piles, I know it will be a long, cold winter."
That wood gives off CO2 whether it is burnt or rots. At least you are using the heat from combustion and replacing older fossil fuels.
Yes. Burning wood is carbon neutral.
Coal and oil contain the CO2 from the distant past whereas trees have absorbed their CO2 content fairly recently. If wood is not used for building or burning, it will soon rot returning its CO2 and perhaps converting some of it into methane if termites become involved in the process.
We have been recycling the same earth-stuff ever since it was formed from star-stuff some 4+ some billion years ago.
Sweeps are good luck. Not having a chimbley fire is the goodest of lucks!
I don't think you have burned cottonwood logs or you might not say all logs all smell nice while burning.
My father told me to throw a handful of rock salt in with each fire you built. He had chimney cleaners tell him that his chimney was amazingly clean, compared to others they worked on.
In reference to those chemically treated fire logs such as "CSL-Creosote Sweeping Logs" that you buy to get rid of the creosote build up in your chimney.
I was told that putting a box of regular table salt in the fireplace does just as good a job at a fraction of the price! Something to think about.
Liked the post! As one who lived in Montana and chopped his own wood, I prefer hardwood (a lot less wood to chop!). Fireplaces depend so much on the design of the firebox and it's matching to the room it heats. In general I agree on the metal chimney flue, but a correctly built masonry firebox and flue will rarely if ever catch fire. The actual placement of the fireplace in the structure also makes a difference, older buildings and houses tend to have them on the north side to mitigate the cold wind on the house.
Holy Cow, I'm James also, lived in Montana, and you better believe that hardwood is preferable! Masonry fireboxes correctly built and matched to the room cannot be beat. A rule of thumb is the shallower the firebox the more heat it will throw out across the room, the deeper the cooler, but slower burning. The real problem with masonry fireboxes are the expense and finding a mason competent enough to build one. Disclosure: I come from a family of bricklayers and masonry contractors.
Ps: I lived and worked on the Diamond Bar X ranch located at the emergence of the Dearborn river from the east face of the Rockies just west of Augusta in the 80's.
The notion that stovepipe is the way to go is incorrect. A gazillion masonry chimneys in North America - at least - stand many feet of fired orange flues on brick throats and shelves, which stand atop firebrick-lined masonry fireplaces, whether brick or stone.
They don't rust, leak, burn through, or fail to last as long as the wooden structures surrounding them.
My wife and I lived for 20 years in a 1712 house in Newtown, CT. When we bought the house, I found lots of alarming cracks in the bricks where they passed through a closet on the second floor. I patched them all with furnace cement. We had countless fires in the enormous (formerly kitchen) fireplace in our dining room. During power outages, we found that fireplace was basically capable of heating the whole house. And I never got the chimney swept.
Anyone tried to buy a new wood burning stove or insert lately?
I bought a new wood stove at Menard's a couple of months ago.
Wasn't cheap but it works pretty well.
We burn locust if we can get it. There are plenty of standing and fallen dead locust in Virginia. It burns long and hot and does NOT crap up the chimney flue. Our flue is stainless steel and we've only had it cleaned once in 10 years. The sweep said there was almost no creosote found. Oak is not bad either.