wood stove

musingsheader image

Things You Do Not Need

And a few things you do

Posted on Feb 9 2018 by Martin Holladay
prime

Houses are changing. Anyone buying a new home in 2018 expects the home to be quite different from one built in 1918, of course.

What “new features” is the typical buyer of a new home seeking out? It depends. Some buyers are looking for a foyer with a 20-foot ceiling and a master bathroom with a big Jacuzzi. Others, including the typical GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com reader, are looking for low energy bills and superior indoor air quality.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Image Credits:

  1. Image #1: Midwest Construction

musingsheader image

Brick Chimneys With Multiple Flues

Wood-burning appliances are incompatible with a modern airtight home — especially if the home has a brick chimney with multiple flues

Posted on Jan 26 2018 by Martin Holladay
prime

One of my first construction jobs in Vermont, back in the late 1970s, was at an architect-designed home with a massive brick chimney with four flues: one flue for the oil-fired boiler, and three flues for the home’s three wood stoves. The chimney worked fine — mostly because the house had so many air leaks that the wood stoves were never starved for combustion air.

Massive chimneys like the one I remember from that job are expensive to build, but they are often a source of pride for the owner. They provide interior thermal massHeavy, high-heat-capacity material that can absorb and store a significant amount of heat; used in passive solar heating to keep the house warm at night. ; they are durable; and they are handsome to behold.


Tags: , , , ,

Image Credits:

  1. Fine Homebuilding

QA-spotlightheader image

Choosing a New Wood Stove

Matching the heat output of the stove with the heat load of the house, and leaving room for the quirks of human operators

Posted on Jan 5 2015 by Scott Gibson

Patricia Appelbaum is in the market for a new wood-burning stove, one without a catalytic element, to provide mostly supplemental heat for her 1,600-square-foot home. There are a lot of models to choose from, and that's part of the problem.


Tags: , , , ,

Image Credits:

  1. Wikimedia Commons

musingsheader image

Vermont House Uses Only Half a Cord of Firewood

In Ripton, Vermont, this fuel-stingy replica of Chris Corson’s Maine Passivhaus was heated last winter by a small wood stove

Posted on Jun 6 2014 by Martin Holladay

When my friend Laura Murphy mentioned that her neighbors in Ripton, Vermont, Chris and Zoe Pike, stayed warm last winter by burning just half a cord of firewood, I was intrigued. So I tracked down the Pikes to learn a few more details about their house.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Image Credits:

  1. Image #1, #3, and #4: Chris Pike
  2. Image #2: Alex Carver
  3. Image #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, and #14 : Zoe Pike
  4. Image #15: Chris Corson

musingsheader image

When the Gas Pipeline Shuts Down

What would happen to urban residents if utilities stopped delivering natural gas and electricity?

Posted on Mar 14 2014 by Martin Holladay

In the wake of the recent military crisis in Crimea, energy experts have been discussing whether Vladimir Putin will be tempted to gain political advantage by shutting the valves on the Russian natural gas pipelines that supply Ukraine and Western Europe. Regardless of whether this scenario is likely, such speculation raises the question: How would urban residents in a cold climate cope if the supply of natural gas were suddenly turned off?


Tags: , , , , , ,

Image Credits:

  1. All photos: Martin Holladay

QA-spotlightheader image

Why Is This Wood Stove Misbehaving?

A basement wood stove should provide inexpensive supplemental heat, but this homeowner is never sure when it will backdraft and smoke

Posted on Jan 13 2014 by Scott Gibson

Clark Agnew should be the envy of his neighborhood. He has a tight house, a high-efficiency wood stove with its own fresh-air intake, and access to free firewood. A heat recovery ventilator (HRV(HRV). Balanced ventilation system in which most of the heat from outgoing exhaust air is transferred to incoming fresh air via an air-to-air heat exchanger; a similar device, an energy-recovery ventilator, also transfers water vapor. HRVs recover 50% to 80% of the heat in exhausted air. In hot climates, the function is reversed so that the cooler inside air reduces the temperature of the incoming hot air. ) keeps indoor air healthy. What's not to like?

But, as he writes in a Q&A post at Green Building Advisor, the situation is far from ideal.

"I have run the stove about 6 or 7 times since we moved in," Agnew writes. "Three of those times it has backdrafted."


Tags: , , , , , ,

Image Credits:

  1. Clark Agnew

energy-solutionsheader image

Heating System Safety In Cold Weather

Most house fires occur during cold weather, when wood stoves are cranked up and portable electric space heaters are brought out of the basement and plugged in

Posted on Jan 9 2014 by Alex Wilson

The morning paper had yet another story about a destructive house fire — fortunately no fatalities (this time*), but the total loss of another home and another family’s belongings. And like many others, the culprit appears to have been the wood stove.

So many of the home fires we experience in Vermont result from trying to keep warm. Some have to do with faulty installation of wood heating equipment; many others result from improper operation of that equipment or management of the ash.


Tags: , , , , ,

Image Credits:

  1. Alex Wilson
  2. Vermont Castings

guest-blogsheader image

Providing Outdoor Combustion Air for a Wood Stove

We brought ducted outdoor combustion air to our wood stove by punching a hole through the back of the unused fireplace

Posted on Oct 14 2013 by Chris West

In November 2012, I started on a deep energy retrofit of my 1976 raised ranch in northwestern Vermont, in the shadow of Mount Mansfield. As a Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. consultant, I wanted to make my leaky (8.25 ach50) house with fiberglass-filled 2x4 walls and a tuck-under garage much more energy-efficient.


Tags: , , , , ,

Image Credits:

  1. Chris West

musingsheader image

All About Wood Stoves

It might make sense to heat your home with wood — even though firewood is the least convenient of all common fuels

Posted on Sep 13 2013 by Martin Holladay

If you’ve been heating your house with wood for years, you probably don’t need to read this article. By now, you know all about the disadvantages and inconveniences that accompany wood heat, and yet you still heat with wood — either because you genuinely love wood heat, or because you love the low cost of the fuel. If you haven’t burned down your house by now, you may even have figured out how to install and operate your stove safely.

This article is addressed to a different audience: those who are thinking about buying their first wood stove.


Tags: , ,

Image Credits:

  1. Erica Breetoe

QA-spotlightheader image

Is There an Alternative to a Heat-Recovery Ventilator?

HRVs are a great idea, but they can get expensive

Posted on Dec 17 2012 by Scott Gibson

The tighter the house, the more it needs mechanical ventilation. That's become a rule of thumb for energy-efficient builders, and designers often turn to heat-recovery ventilators to get the job done. These relatively simple (but not necessarily cheap) devices use the temperature of outgoing air to moderate the temperature of incoming air, thus lowering the energy penalty for providing fresh air to the whole house.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Image Credits:

  1. Fantech

Register for a free account and join the conversation


Get a free account and join the conversation!
Become a GBA PRO!

Syndicate content