The Fat Ewe Farm 
    and B & B

...organic permaculture farmin' 
  for the lazy you's and
 Bed, Breakfast 'n Bale

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Heating With Wood

Posted by Fluffy on January 11, 2013 at 1:40 PM

How much wood does it take to keep an 850 square foot house warm?


Well, that depends entirely on the temperature outside. When the outside temperature is 10 degrees above freezing, a warm fire, dampers almost closed down, will bring the interior temperature up to about 18, which is relatively comfortable. But, in minus 28, as it is today, the fire must be a roaring blaze, dampers both patially opened to oxygenate the flames and wood being fed on the average of 2 sticks an hour, which is double or more what it takes at even zero degrees outside. Granted, the little wood stove in the farmhouse is not 100 percent efficient. Although it is generally air tight, it does not "reburn" the wood gas, which is lost to the atmosphere. Reburning wood gas, also called gasification, results in higher temperatures achieved from the wood and extremely high efficiency in the burn, so less wood would be consumed. Since the wood is purchased for the farm currently, it almost makes sense to replace the little old wood stove with a high effieciency gasification model. 

There is a gas forced air furnace in the house as well, but gas prices are astronimical and are going up, plus gas is not a renewable resource as wood is. The farm has been considering adding a small wood gasification cook stove unit, without an oven, but that could be plumbed to also provide hot water using the current hot water tank for storage. In order to realize value from any large purchase such as this, the owner must live on the farm using the new equipment for at least ten years. Thereafter, the unit is almost free. Decisions, decisions. In the meantime, it is pretty cozy to have the wood stove churning away, sipping on a hot cup of coffee and enjoying the morning sun streaming through the large eastern picture window. Ahhhh. 

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