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Old 10-19-2022, 06:20 PM   #1
SailinAway
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Default Heating with wood only, protecting pipes

I've never heated only with wood. I'm wondering what I need to be aware of to avoid freezing pipes.

I maintain the temperature on the main floor at around 64 to 66 (personal preference).

Two-story cape. Upstairs there are radiators in two bedrooms and the bathroom. I've always kept the radiators closed in the bedrooms and open in the bathroom. The bedroom radiators are on exterior walls. I "assume" they're empty, thus can't freeze(?).

I'm not yet comfortable leaving the woodstove burning all night. I will reread last year's thread on maintaining a fire. It contained a lot of good information that we don't need to repeat here.

Would the simplest solution be to set the furnace (remember, that's the thing that some call a boiler) to 45 degrees so that it never comes on during the day and occasionally comes on at night? In extremely cold weather I also know to leave the kitchen and bathroom sink cabinet doors open, especially with pipes near exterior walls.

In past years the temperature in the cellar has been about 45. Is that a concern if the furnace isn't running and not contributing heat to the cellar? Or will the fact that the cellar is underground keep the temperature above freezing?

Anything else I should be thinking about?
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Old 10-19-2022, 07:20 PM   #2
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The boiler, unless a cold start, will always come on to maintain the water in it at a standby temperature set through the aquastat. It circulates it based on a heat call from the thermostat that you have on your wall.

If the thermostat is too close to the wood stove, it will perceive that the entire heat loop that is attached to is at whatever temperature it is reading.

So a really cold room could dip below freezing as long as the thermostat equated with it does not sense the room to be colder than its setting.
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Old 10-20-2022, 09:41 AM   #3
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The boiler, unless a cold start, will always come on to maintain the water in it at a standby temperature set through the aquastat. It circulates it based on a heat call from the thermostat that you have on your wall.

If the thermostat is too close to the wood stove, it will perceive that the entire heat loop that is attached to is at whatever temperature it is reading.

So a really cold room could dip below freezing as long as the thermostat equated with it does not sense the room to be colder than its setting.
when we used to heat with mostly wood we put a secondary thermostat in the basement set to about 55 since it was always hot in the kitchen the heat would never cut on
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Old 10-20-2022, 11:13 AM   #4
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I've never heated only with wood. I'm wondering what I need to be aware of to avoid freezing pipes.

I maintain the temperature on the main floor at around 64 to 66 (personal preference).

Two-story cape. Upstairs there are radiators in two bedrooms and the bathroom. I've always kept the radiators closed in the bedrooms and open in the bathroom. The bedroom radiators are on exterior walls. I "assume" they're empty, thus can't freeze(?).

I'm not yet comfortable leaving the woodstove burning all night. I will reread last year's thread on maintaining a fire. It contained a lot of good information that we don't need to repeat here.

Would the simplest solution be to set the furnace (remember, that's the thing that some call a boiler) to 45 degrees so that it never comes on during the day and occasionally comes on at night? In extremely cold weather I also know to leave the kitchen and bathroom sink cabinet doors open, especially with pipes near exterior walls.

In past years the temperature in the cellar has been about 45. Is that a concern if the furnace isn't running and not contributing heat to the cellar? Or will the fact that the cellar is underground keep the temperature above freezing?

Anything else I should be thinking about?
Speak with your Plumber and ask his advice on putting anti freeze in your boiler system to prevent possible freezing heating pipes on exterior walls.

Some folks recommend it, others do not. It could make the winter a bit easier if we have a bitter cold snap.
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Old 10-20-2022, 11:18 AM   #5
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I would set your thermostats to 55, if you really want to push it you could try 50.

I don't know what you mean by "radiators closed" but if they have water in them you don't want them to freeze. Frozen pipes cause a lot of damage many times what you would save in 5 or 10 years if you don't catch it in time.

I don't know what you have to burn the wood in, but it will be interesting to see if you can generate enough heat in the colder days.
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Old 10-20-2022, 07:45 PM   #6
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I don't know what you mean by "radiators closed" but if they have water in them you don't want them to freeze.
The radiators are turned off in the upstairs bedroom and I "think" they're empty. I say this because the water only goes upstairs to the radiators when they're turned on---I can hear it rising.

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Old 10-20-2022, 08:57 PM   #7
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That might be due to a circulator...

The system should be charged with no air in it, but when the circulator comes on and the zone valve is open... it can shake the pipes in some case.
The heated water also conducts heat to the piping and causes it to expand.
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Old 10-21-2022, 04:17 AM   #8
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Post Hemlock "Round" Mentioned Years Ago...

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I'm not yet comfortable leaving the woodstove burning all night. I will reread last year's thread on maintaining a fire. It contained a lot of good information that we don't need to repeat here.
IDK if the suggestion to put a "round" of unseasoned Hemlock is mentioned in that thread. If you can fit a large one in one half-hour before bedtime and shut all air intakes, it'll burn for eight warm hours. That bedtime "fire bed" should have plenty of glowing-red coals on which to rest the Hemlock.

(Hemlock is otherwise a poor choice of wood for burning in a woodstove).

Every home should have smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. Keep an extinguisher in the bedroom--NOT in the kitchen or next to the woodstove. (You don't want to pick up an overheated fire extinguisher!)
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Old 10-21-2022, 05:51 AM   #9
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Default Heating with wood only, protecting pipes

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Every home should have smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
Add carbon monoxide detectors to that list, especially if you’re burning wood for heat.
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Old 10-21-2022, 08:19 AM   #10
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The radiators are turned off in the upstairs bedroom and I "think" they're empty. I say this because the water only goes upstairs to the radiators when they're turned on---I can hear it rising.
Hmmmm, do you have a steam system or a forced hot water system?
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Old 10-21-2022, 10:19 AM   #11
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IDK if the suggestion to put a "round" of unseasoned Hemlock is mentioned in that thread. If you can fit a large one in one half-hour before bedtime and shut all air intakes, it'll burn for eight warm hours. That bedtime "fire bed" should have plenty of glowing-red coals on which to rest the Hemlock. ...
Running a woodstove on unseasoned wood with air turned way down is apt to contribute to fouling the chimney, potentially leading later to a chimney fire. If you see smoke coming from the chimney well after startup, that's an indication of incomplete combustion from wet wood or a stove simply not running hot enough. Smoke from the chimney is only part of what enters the chimney.
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Old 10-21-2022, 11:25 AM   #12
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Hmmmm, do you have a steam system or a forced hot water system?
Hot water. I can hear the water gurgling and rising in the pipes (not shaking) when the furnace is turned on and the bathroom radiator is open.
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Old 10-21-2022, 01:00 PM   #13
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That would be air.
The system should have an air separator on it to remove that on the return to the boiler.

So you would need to drain those lines if you are seriously shutting down enough of the heat that they may drop below freezing.
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Old 10-21-2022, 02:10 PM   #14
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That would be air.
The system should have an air separator on it to remove that on the return to the boiler.

So you would need to drain those lines if you are seriously shutting down enough of the heat that they may drop below freezing.
I feel quite sure it's water. It makes a gurgling sound. I won't let the upstairs fall below freezing.
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Old 10-21-2022, 04:14 PM   #15
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Hot water. I can hear the water gurgling and rising in the pipes (not shaking) when the furnace is turned on and the bathroom radiator is open.
Forced hot water system then. I'm a little confused as to how you turn off the radiators, but it doesn't really matter. There will always be water in a forced hot water radiator unless you specifically have the system or a particular zone shut down at the source and blown out.

I'm worried about what you are doing freezing your pipes and wreaking havoc and damage on your house. Radiators are typically located on outside walls (makes sense because that generally the coldest part of a room. Not letting the room get below freezing will not be enough. I would keep those rooms at at least 50F on the cold days. Otherwise those outside walls may get cold enough to freeze the pipes. Even if the interior of the room is "above freezing".

Usually when a pipe freezes it doesn't leak. The frozen part expands and splits the pipe or joint, but the ice prevents water flowing. So the owner checks the rooms every day during a cold snap, but the ice prevents any leaks. As the temps gradually warms out side the pipe starts leaking. This could be days or even weeks after the initial cold snap. Once the leaks start, if you don't notice them in time, the damage is done. Even a little damage will quickly exceed any money you've saved turning the heat way down. Be careful.
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Old 10-21-2022, 04:44 PM   #16
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I'm worried about what you are doing freezing your pipes and wreaking havoc and damage on your house.
I know. Hard to believe I've lived here 28 years and haven't destroyed the house yet, eh? ;-) The only frozen pipe was the town inlet pipe in the road that really cold winter a few years ago. Since y'all seem to agree, I'll set the thermostat at 50.
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Old 10-21-2022, 05:28 PM   #17
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ITD
you are exactly correct, when pipes freeze, the homeowner is not even aware that the pipe has frozen. Sometimes in cold windy weather it does not take long to get that quick freeze, then it is too late. The heat stops flowing and the pipe splits. Once the weather gets warmer, the water starts to flow, causing much damage,I was in the flooring business for over 30 years and saw many frozen pipe floods, nothing worse as far as damage. Keep the heat at 50 and pay a few more bucks than risk the damage frozen pipes cause.
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Old 10-21-2022, 09:18 PM   #18
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I feel quite sure it's water. It makes a gurgling sound. I won't let the upstairs fall below freezing.
It is water. But when the system is fully charged - no air in it - it can't gurgle.
Air in the system allows it to emit a gurgle... and the separator when the circulator is active allows for the air to be removed from the system protecting the boiler.

If it has a real strong gurgle, almost sounding like water flowing, there may be a problem with the fill valve. It replaces the volume of air removed by the separator with additional water keeping the system charged.
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Old 11-04-2022, 04:32 AM   #19
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Running a woodstove on unseasoned wood with air turned way down is apt to contribute to fouling the chimney, potentially leading later to a chimney fire. If you see smoke coming from the chimney well after startup, that's an indication of incomplete combustion from wet wood or a stove simply not running hot enough. Smoke from the chimney is only part of what enters the chimney.
Yes, that's what I thought.

So when I had a chance to examine the inside if my stainless steel pipe and three Metalbestos pipe sections--following ten+ years of seasonal use--i can report a very thin layer of creosote. Woodstoves aren't as likely to have chimney fires anyway. It's fireplaces that are especially suspect. If you suspect you're having a chimney fire, don't open the damper!

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Add carbon monoxide detectors to that list, especially if you’re burning wood for heat.
I installed one in a bedroom as soon as they came out.

"Maintence" required annually replacing the 9-volt battery plus a special "module" that you had to order from the factory every year.

Curious as to the $47 special plastic 'module" that had to be ordered from the factory, I pried a corner to peek inside. "Prying" turned into "opening"; whereupon, I found an ordinary 9-volt battery!

When it comes to extinguishing a fire, keep extinguishers fully loaded, and mounted for safe and rapid deployment on each floor and at the shoreline.
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Old 11-06-2022, 07:36 AM   #20
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I won't let the upstairs fall below freezing.
Note:

A relative closed the door on a bedroom upstairs to save from heating that vacant room.

Came home one cold winter day and water was running down the wall on first floor from that upstairs room. And the hardwood floors in both upstairs and downstairs rooms were buckled.

Very, very, expensive repairs required.

You have been warned.
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Old 11-06-2022, 11:46 AM   #21
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Note:

A relative closed the door on a bedroom upstairs to save from heating that vacant room.

Came home one cold winter day and water was running down the wall on first floor from that upstairs room. And the hardwood floors in both upstairs and downstairs rooms were buckled.

Very, very, expensive repairs required.

You have been warned.
Oy, ye doomsayers. Some years ago I hired a young man to remove the ceiling and the insulation in one attic bedroom after a roof leak. Seeing the wonderful open space, I decided to put a vaulted ceiling in that room. It took me 6 months to find a carpenter to do that. I went through the whole winter with that open ceiling and no insulation above. I kept the door closed to avoid cooling the rest of the house. No frozen pipes all winter.

In normal times with oil heat, I set the thermostat to about 62 during the day and 50 at night. I've NEVER heated the upstairs bedrooms unless I had company. I do keep the radiator in the bathroom open. Never a frozen pipe in three decades. The house is well insulated. Whether the wood stove can duplicate those results remains to be seen. It appears we are now in an invincible summer,* so the test is delayed.

*Albert Camus, "Au milieu de l'hiver, j'apprenais enfin qu'il y avait en moi un été invincible."

Of course, sometimes it gets too hot in the house and I'm forced to do this:

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Old 11-06-2022, 01:21 PM   #22
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Oy, ye doomsayers.
Do be sure to check you homeowners insurance.

Check to see if any words are in policy about negligence of the homeowner.

Good homeowners policies cover everything wilst others may not.

Does policy state "fair market value" or "replacement cost" ?
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Old 11-06-2022, 01:48 PM   #23
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So your upstairs is on a separate zone?
If not, whenever the thermostat read below 62 during the day or 50 during the night, it would call for heat and circulate it through those upstair bedrooms.

The wood stove will not do that.
It will radiate to keep the room that it is in warm, and have to use convection to carry it to those bedrooms... and since not directly into the pipes like the boiler, the pipe temperature may be lower than the room ambient air.
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Old 11-06-2022, 05:07 PM   #24
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I think the key here is that a few dollars saved could potentially lead to a lot of money in repairs.

You'd really have to know where your pipes are and how the heat will get to them. In my downstairs bathroom, for example, the pipes are run through the exterior wall. This isn't an issue at all when using the baseboard heating system because the wall stays warm and keeps the pipes from freezing.

When we lose power for a while and rely on the wood stove, though, I need to make sure the water trickles a bit because the wood stove doesn't heat the outside wall like the baseboards.

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Old 11-06-2022, 06:34 PM   #25
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Oy, ye doomsayers. Some years ago I hired a young man to remove the ceiling and the insulation in one attic bedroom after a roof leak. Seeing the wonderful open space, I decided to put a vaulted ceiling in that room. It took me 6 months to find a carpenter to do that. I went through the whole winter with that open ceiling and no insulation above. I kept the door closed to avoid cooling the rest of the house. No frozen pipes all winter.

In normal times with oil heat, I set the thermostat to about 62 during the day and 50 at night. I've NEVER heated the upstairs bedrooms unless I had company. I do keep the radiator in the bathroom open. Never a frozen pipe in three decades. The house is well insulated. Whether the wood stove can duplicate those results remains to be seen. It appears we are now in an invincible summer,* so the test is delayed.

*Albert Camus, "Au milieu de l'hiver, j'apprenais enfin qu'il y avait en moi un été invincible."

Of course, sometimes it gets too hot in the house and I'm forced to do this:

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Comme disait Camus, “La vie est la somme de tous vos choix.”
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Old 11-06-2022, 09:28 PM   #26
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I think the key here is that a few dollars saved could potentially lead to a lot of money in repairs.

You'd really have to know where your pipes are and how the heat will get to them. In my downstairs bathroom, for example, the pipes are run through the exterior wall. This isn't an issue at all when using the baseboard heating system because the wall stays warm and keeps the pipes from freezing.

When we lose power for a while and rely on the wood stove, though, I need to make sure the water trickles a bit because the wood stove doesn't heat the outside wall like the baseboards.

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Her problem would actually be the water in the baseboards.
Since they will receive no heat, and not circulate... a thaw would be serious.
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Old 11-06-2022, 09:29 PM   #27
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I think the key here is that a few dollars saved could potentially lead to a lot of money in repairs.
A summary filled with wisdom.

There certainly are smart folks here on Winnespaukee Forum.
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Old 11-07-2022, 07:10 PM   #28
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Comme disait Camus, “La vie est la somme de tous vos choix.”
Je ne suis point d'accord avec cela. Nos choix comptent pour beaucoup, il est vrai. Mais il y a au moins 10 ou 15 autres influences qui déterminent notre chemin à travers la vie. Camus lui-même était le produit de plusieurs influences historiques et culturelles remarkables: né en Algérie pendant la colonisation française, il habitait Paris lors de l'invasion allemande, etc. Tout ne dépendait pas de ses choix personnels mais aussi de ces grands événements qu'il n'a pas du tout choisis.

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Old 11-07-2022, 07:14 PM   #29
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A summary filled with wisdom.

There certainly are smart folks here on Winnespaukee Forum.
That's for sure! I aspire to be half as smart.
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Old 11-08-2022, 09:18 AM   #30
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That's for sure! I aspire to be half as smart.
Tu es juste si humble.
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Old 11-11-2022, 09:51 PM   #31
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I don't mean to minimize the risk of frozen pipes, hence my original post. I just want to point out that some people heat an entire house exclusively with a wood stove. I don't think my house or my stove are right to attempt that---poor airflow from room to room and to the upstairs; stove probably too small.

I've been tracking how much the inside temperature falls at night when I let the fire die at bedtime.

Temp in house at bedtime 66
Exterior temp overnight 25
Temp in house 6:30 am 55
Temp drop in house 11 degrees over 9 hours

Of course zero or 10 below at night is an entirely different matter. So far no need to turn the furnace on. I'll see what happens next week.
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Old 11-11-2022, 09:54 PM   #32
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Her problem would actually be the water in the baseboards.
Since they will receive no heat, and not circulate... a thaw would be serious.
Old-fashioned hot water radiators.
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Old 11-11-2022, 10:19 PM   #33
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If they are using hot water, instead of steam, they are most likely ''charged'' (meaning they have water in them all the time).
They probably originally used steam with the gravity drain back format that was common before switching to the lower temperature hot water charged format from a boiler.

Depending on how they are plumbed, they could be shut off and drained. The cast iron radiators themselves can take a lot of pressure (even from ice) as they usually have a significant amount of air space for the expansion. But the connecting lines with the smaller diameter are at risk.

If they are PEX, then it wouldn't be as much an issue, except for maybe the brass/composite fittings.
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Old 11-12-2022, 09:08 AM   #34
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It hasn't been consistently cold yet. You may want to check the change in temperature about a week after it hasn't been above freezing and the exterior of the house is cold soaked.

For me personally, I don't even want to cut it close to risking frozen pipes. Others, maybe not so much.
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Old 11-12-2022, 11:17 AM   #35
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Lightbulb Free Kindling...

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We used those early on but found the Super Cedars to be better and less expensive. Have you tried them?
I start with a small length of birch bark, then a bed of shredded 10 year-old IRS tax returns, then a pine cone, then a loose bunch of sticks (they land naturally in my driveway) broken into four-inch pieces on top of the pine cone (giving space for air). Pine without bark is best. All this is built between two large "rounds" (from my winter windfalls) and a couple of split pieces of birch. (Birch "catches" readily).

And, to paraphrase Thinx:
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—air control totally open and the door cracked a bit for a few minutes.
The kindling gets the draft going and, once the flame is up, I close the door and wait to develop a good flame before shutting the air down 1/2 and then, eventually, to 2/3. When I need an extended burn, I shut it all the way. (My stove doesn’t allow zero air intrusion--a good thing).
Why spend the money--especially today--when the fuel to start a woodstove fire falls into your yard?
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Old 11-12-2022, 11:53 AM   #36
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For $.14 a fire, I'll skip running around picking up sticks and pine cones.

Especially when I haven't paid for wood in almost two decades.

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Old 11-12-2022, 11:59 AM   #37
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You have to agree with the tax returns they belong in your fire.
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Old 11-12-2022, 06:23 PM   #38
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You have to agree with the tax returns they belong in your fire.
Perhaps, but who has enough paperwork in their tax returns that they can start a fire every day for 6 months?? Highly suspicious. ;-)
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Old 11-13-2022, 01:17 AM   #39
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For $.14 a fire, I'll skip running around picking up sticks and pine cones.

Especially when I haven't paid for wood in almost two decades.

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The concept is when you clean your yard, place it to use.
Some just will not have enough limb debris to make that work.
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Old 11-13-2022, 07:54 AM   #40
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Old-fashioned hot water radiators.
Be sure to have on hand the name and phone number of good plumbers and heating contractors.

And maybe some sheet rock/plasters numbers also.

Just in case.
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Old 11-13-2022, 10:34 AM   #41
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Paying for kindling is............interesting. Not something I'd have ever thought was a thing in such a green area of the world.

I get it, it's a minimal cost however it's still something that is lost on me considering the ease of gathering and abundance of wood fuel.

A 15 minute nature walk with a backpack yields months of kindling. Added benefits? Fresh air, connecting with nature, exercise.

If you're processing your own wood, all that fire starter stuff shows up by default.

I'm not saying these things to knock anyone. After reading this thread I realized how fricken cheap I am!


Somewhat similar to what ApS does:

Between two logs with one or two logs bridging the top, a few strips of birch bark under a teepee pile of tinder (which is almost always strips of grain from whatever showed up from splitting).

Add a tiny amount of lint to the birch strips, grab the magnesium striker and FOOF! Fire


SailinAway - I'd like to get back up there for a day to continue with the work we started...perhaps just before Thanksgiving? Could bring my chop saw to help with the kindling if need be. After reading a few of your comments, I'm also very curious to see your wood stove setup.



What does the forum think of wrapping some of these radiators with something like an S14 panel-type of insulation?
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Old 11-13-2022, 02:22 PM   #42
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Paying for kindling is............interesting. Not something I'd have ever thought was a thing in such a green area of the world. . . . SailinAway - I'd like to get back up there for a day to continue with the work we started...perhaps just before Thanksgiving? Could bring my chop saw to help with the kindling if need be. After reading a few of your comments, I'm also very curious to see your wood stove setup.
An exception to the "don't waste money on kindling rule" is when you run out of kindling and there's two feet of snow on the ground. Boulia Gorrilla used to sell huge bundles of kindling for a few dollars.

I only have a small quantity of long kindling left. I've been cutting it with a jigsaw one piece at a time and splitting the dozens of short chunks into kindling. Now I will explain why I wanted to cut the kindling shorter: long kindling is wasteful. To get a fire started, you don't need to fill the whole stove east to west. A pile half as long in the center of the stove will work just as well.

Poor Richard, if you think you can teach me to build a better fire, I'm all ears. You can also verify for the forum skeptics that there's no water in the closed radiators (or prove me wrong about that ). Email me and we'll figure out what's convenient for you.
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Old 11-13-2022, 10:35 PM   #43
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Middleton Meredith sells kindling, but at Bristol we were just giving it away.
Not sure what is left in the box in building two. I know we always seem to have an excess of pallets.
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Old 11-13-2022, 10:45 PM   #44
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Question "Limb Debris" the Size of Match Sticks?

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You have to agree with the tax returns they belong in your fire.
It's recommended to save IRS tax return copies for ten years, so I'm inclined to shred and burn everything with an account number--and especially when it bears one or more Social Security Numbers!

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For $.14 a fire, I'll skip running around picking up sticks and pine cones.
They won't be 14¢ for much longer!

It seems a shame to just leave them on the ground, when they can be put to good use--being the product of solar energy, no carbon footprint, no fossil fuels and "made" right here in the USA.

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Especially when I haven't paid for wood in almost two decades.
Dont pay anything for woodstove fires.
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Old 11-14-2022, 07:42 AM   #45
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Every summer wifey and I hit the back roads (notch road is good) looking for downed,rotted birch trees.They are everywhere and after the wood has rotted it's very easy to cut off the bark with a sharp knife.It cuts up well with shears or heavy scissors and makes great strips of kindling.
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Old 11-19-2022, 11:50 AM   #46
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After a few weeks of heating the home with various sources available to us I have determined my strategy for the upcoming winter months. The remodel helped with retaining heat and eliminating drafts in the home. Eliminates the variable temperatures on the lower floor. Going with the forced hot water oil furnace instead of the mini spilts. My thought is it’s money spent as the tank is full. Instead of money owed. Also a morning fire to take the chill off. Wood is stacked and available. Is it a good strategy, who the hell knows.
Happy heating season to you all!


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Old 11-19-2022, 12:02 PM   #47
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After a few weeks of heating the home with various sources available to us I have determined my strategy for the upcoming winter months. The remodel helped with retaining heat and eliminating drafts in the home. Eliminates the variable temperatures on the lower floor. Going with the forced hot water oil furnace instead of the mini spilts. My thought is it’s money spent as the tank is full. Instead of money owed. Also a morning fire to take the chill off. Wood is stacked and available. Is it a good strategy, who the hell knows.
Happy heating season to you all!


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At some point, there has to be an intersection of cost and comfort. We typically keep the thermostats at 60 and throw a load in when we get home from school, around 3. By 4/5, the house is up to 65; by the time we settle in to read, play games, watch TV, etc. it's 70+.

The "hard" days are when we have events after school and don't get home in time to get a load in the stove—then it's blanket central!

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Old 11-19-2022, 07:21 PM   #48
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If it is simply a matter of money... so many other things can be done without first.
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Old 11-19-2022, 07:27 PM   #49
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Default Heating with wood only, protecting pipes

For us it’s thermostat at 68 during the day and 60 at night. We don’t heat the upstairs and bedrooms as the heat rises to heat those areas enough to maintain around 60. Great sleeping temp. May even open a window if needed


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Old 11-20-2022, 01:48 PM   #50
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If it is simply a matter of money... so many other things can be done without first.
I'm all ears.
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Old 11-20-2022, 03:12 PM   #51
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Some people spend a lot of money on recreation...
And I expected more focus on gardening for food than I have seen.

They don't even seem to be driving less... or even focusing on MPG with new car purchases.

And we've only had a few looking at sealing for air loss.
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Old 11-20-2022, 04:25 PM   #52
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Some people spend a lot of money on recreation... And I expected more focus on gardening for food than I have seen. They don't even seem to be driving less... or even focusing on MPG with new car purchases. And we've only had a few looking at sealing for air loss.
I would love to have a garden, but my past experience was that it took way too much time, wear and tear on the body, and water in comparison to the result. I would spend months tending a broccoli plant and the go to the grocery store and see the same thing for $1. However, I think gardening is an important survival skill and a good hobby. I'm sure good gardeners know how to garden efficiently for maximum harvest with less resource use.

I agree about driving and it's surprising how people are still driving gas guzzlers. New Hampshire is a great example of abundant free or cheap recreation.
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Old 11-21-2022, 07:28 AM   #53
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Broc has always been hard to grow.

Start with something easier, and use some container formats that allow for water reservoirs.
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Old 11-21-2022, 09:58 AM   #54
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Default Back to our original topic, how to protect the pipes

I have reread this whole thread. If anyone is still interested, let's hone in on the fine points. Thank you for your patience with my questions.

So last night I turned on the furnace because the forecast was for 15 degrees. I opened two radiators upstairs. I didn't open the third radiator because it's on a wall next to an insulated 4-foot eave space, so not directly on an outside wall. That radiator has not been turned on in 20 years; in fact neither has the radiator in the main bedroom but I turned that one on because y'all put the fear of frozen pipes in me.

Initially the furnace didn't come on because it was too warm downstairs. The thermostat is 15' from the woodstove, across an open space. The temperature near the woodstove was probably 74 degrees, and 64 near the thermostat. The only way I could get the furnace to come on was to raise the thermostat to 65. I let it run for about 20 minutes, made sure all the radiators were warm, and turned the thermostat down to 55.

In the morning the temperature in the house was 54. The furnace came on briefly. Q1: I made a fire in the woodstove, so I don't expect the furnace to come on for the rest of the day, correct?

Q2: Or is the furnace going to come on periodically in response to the aquastat? Does that happen even if there's no call for heat?

What I still don't understand is how to coordinate the furnace and the woodstove so that oil is not wasted. My idea is to leave the furnace on all the time and set the thermostat to 55. At night put a final load of wood in the woodstove. That will only burn for two hours, at which point the furnace will protect the pipes for the rest of the night.

I will put a thermometer upstairs, but my perception is that it's about 55 to 60 up there with only the woodstove, when the furnace is turned off. That still has me wondering why I need the furnace at all, but you've convinced me that the room temperature doesn't necessarily guarantee that pipes on outside walls are protected.

Q3: If the woodstove is running all day and the furnace never comes on, how are the pipes protected?? At what exterior temperature might this be a problem?

Q4: When the furnace is running, does it provide heat to the cellar such that the pipes are protected down there? Given that the cellar is below grade, aren't the pipes protected anyway? Can pipes freeze on any floor, even if the basement is above 32?

Reminder: House is well insulated (done by NH weatherization program), all points of air entry in the cellar were filled with foam. I turn off the water to the two exterior faucets every fall and leave them open. It seems like the only thing more I could do would be to get someone to look at the pipes and where they're located to see if they're at risk of freezing and whether putting foam around them would help.
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