Heating Your Home

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CuttingEdge
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Heating Your Home

Post by CuttingEdge » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:34 am

How do people on here heat their homes? I assume with bulldozers at the disposal, most use firewood.

Myself, short of nuclear fission, I think I have used almost everything to heat my home: Propane, Coal, Firewood, Fuel Oil...and now wood pellets.

After burning wood pellets for a week now, I will say about the only thing good about that heating method is the stoves are so heavy I cannot pick it up and just throw the !@#$%^^&**() thing out of my house. :twisted: We got some other options here, so I might try resuscitating an old propane stove I have kicking around, or I might try giving new life to the oil furnace in the basement. I do know one thing that !@#$%^& pellet stove is not going to stay! :x

Ultimately I will get a coal stove for this place as that is my preferred method of heating; it being the cheapest cost, hottest heat, and ease of use, but until I can find the right used one, or find a buyer for my first born child so I can buy a new one, I will have to endure the pellet stove for now.
I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

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Lavoy
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Re: Heating Your Home

Post by Lavoy » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:31 am

I am fortunate here, when we built in 97-98, natural gas was just coming in the area. Our rates are cheap enough that nothing else is even in the ballpark other than coal because we have cheap coal too. But, coal is not a good fit for me, so gas it is.
Propane fluctuates quite a bit here, but if you can summer fill, or prepay in June or July, you can save quite a bit.
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papyrus
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Re: Heating Your Home

Post by papyrus » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:33 am

we are heating the farmhouse with a small woodcookingstove combinde with a boiler for warm water and the heating system for the rest of the house. cost us half a fortune, but we have enough firewood. it only gives a hole lot of work.
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CuttingEdge
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Re: Heating Your Home

Post by CuttingEdge » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:28 pm

Lavoy wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:31 am
I am fortunate here, when we built in 97-98, natural gas was just coming in the area. Our rates are cheap enough that nothing else is even in the ballpark other than coal because we have cheap coal too. But, coal is not a good fit for me, so gas it is.
Propane fluctuates quite a bit here, but if you can summer fill, or prepay in June or July, you can save quite a bit.
Lavoy
I was out your way back during those years working for the railroads and were hauling tons of coal out of the Powder River Area of Wyoming. I set up a tour of Black Thunder Mine with a bunch of guys from the railroad crew I was on, the biggest in North America at the time, but no one would go with me. I could not believe the size of the equipment when I was there. I even watched a 300 ton haul truck roll by and it dumped some coal and I asked if they cleaned p the spilled coal at the end of the day and ran it through the crushers. The guys said it was just considered a waste, and I said that spilled coal from that one truck would heat my house for the rest of my life. He laughed and said he never thought of it that way before.

The going rate then was $10 a ton out of the mine. I paid $150 a ton, but it was hard coal out of PA and not Bit Coal like Powder River Coal.

Anyway that mine could produce (7) trains per day, at 15,000 tons of coal per train. It took 45 seconds to load a 122 ton gondola...I know because I timed it. Of the 30 mines in the area, the railroads best day was in 1999 when they ran 112 coal trains over 4 mainlines in 12 hours. That was shared track with BNSF and UP because neither railroad alone could move that much coal.

I asked the guy, at the rate they were digging when would the coal run out. He said that the seam ran up into Montana and then into Canada and so they figured it would last between 400-600 years at their current production rates.
I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

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Lu47Dan
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Re: Heating Your Home

Post by Lu47Dan » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:38 pm

Firewood in an airtight stove. Fuel oil when I won't be here for two or three days.
The firewood is there for the cutting, dead standing, wolf trees and blow downs keep me in firewood.
I hope to have a Axeman-Anderson 260 anthracite coal boiler ready to go next winter, with the fuel oil boiler as a back up and a coal stove as the third string back up.
Then I can cut wood for the smoker. I do like my brisket, but you can burn a whole winters wood fairly easily doing briskets
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Stan Disbrow
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Re: Heating Your Home

Post by Stan Disbrow » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:21 am

Hi,

Around here, they use heat pumps. Really an air conditioner that can run both ways. So, when heating, the hot part is inside and the cold part outside. They will freeze up, so to speak, just below 32 deg. Then, they switch to resistive strips. And, yes, we do have a nuke plant feeding the area! :P

The house I rented before I moved permanently had a heat pump. It didn't take me long to install a wood pellet stove in the living room fireplace. The first place I bought down here had a gas pack. Those are half air conditioner and half hot air gas furnace. This place had a heat pump and I switched it out for a gas pack. We also have gas logs in tin box fireplace, good only for gas logs. I use digital thermostats on both, keeping the living room end one degree higher than the middle of the house (where the furnace thermostat is). That lets the bedrooms be one degree cooler than the middle of the house.

Since the house was built with that gas log faux fireplace, there is no burning of wood. It is way too much of a job to try and add wood burning now. Plus, our winters are really a bit too warm for wood burning anyway. Not like it was in NY where I had a wood stove in the basement which was my primary heat with oil backing that up. I do miss the warm floors. ;)

Stan
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Lavoy
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Re: Heating Your Home

Post by Lavoy » Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:31 am

When I was in high school, they told us then there was 1000 years of coal under ND alone at current rates of consumption. Never toured the mines here, but if you are within 5 miles of one, you can see the booms of the draglines above the horizon.
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CuttingEdge
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Re: Heating Your Home

Post by CuttingEdge » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:13 pm

I have heard everything from 300 years worth of coal, to now 1000 years, but I do not dispute any of it. I know everyone says 100's of years so I do not feel guilty for burning it. And keep in mind, this is coming from a guy that has a few hundred acres covered with forest. I have always said, "Sell firewood, and burn coal."

Myself, I like having many options. It gets far too cold here in Maine to rely on one type of heat. I dislike oil, (#2 heating fuel), so I go with propane as a back-up heat. That has its place, but costs a lot of money. Firewood is mine for the taking, though I would not exactly call it free. With equipment, fuel, etc, it has its price, but is easy to get. The problem is, I grew up felling, hauling, bucking, splitting, hauling and stacking 25 full cords (4x4x8) of firewood every year and learned to hate it by age 6. I am 44 now and still hate it, but I keep some drying all the time just in case.

But years ago a guy gave me a coal stove. We lost power during the Ice Storm of 1998 and went without power for 14 consecutive days, so I learned to burn coal pretty fast. Now...there is nothing like it. It does not make a mess like firewood, costs less then propane, and heats like hades...

I have had several coal burning stoves, but ended up finding a nice New Yorker WC 90 boiler in a local swap magazine and gave $700 for it. I took it all apart, cleaned it and then pressure tested the water jacket and was pleased with it holding PSI of air for over a week. A couple of guys over on another forum helped me plumb it, and knowing Katie is cute asked me to "get a photo of Katie with the boiler to see which one is better looking". I told Katie, and was shocked when she went along with it, but we took some photos of her beside it in any case.

BTW: The Black Thunder Mine dragline, used to remove overburden that sat on top of the coal, was 230 cubic yards.

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I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

hydrogeo
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Re: Heating Your Home

Post by hydrogeo » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:50 am

I use both pellets and wood as primary heat, oil backup. I have a Harman pellet stove and love it. I have heard that other brands can be a nightmare, my friend has one that they need to vacuum out every day. I fill the Harman once a day in the coldest part of the winter, and only clean it a couple times per winter. I've had it for 14 years and have only had a couple minor issues that were both warrantied.

I really like keeping my money local when I can, so I buy locally produced pellets. Yeah, they are another $15/ton but it's worth it as they burn better. I have also done firewood since I could walk, and honestly the few years that I didn't cut wood after college didn't seem right. Working in the woods is therapy from everyday life.

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CuttingEdge
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Re: Heating Your Home

Post by CuttingEdge » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:07 am

I am sure my pellet stove being a cheap one has a lot to do with my dislike of pellet stoves. I do indeed have to clean my stove out everyday of ash or it just will not burn well. That kind of sucks.

As for firewood, compared to what we used to do, we have come a long ways. Growing up we used to fell the trees, limb then buck into 4 foot lengths. Then we would load that onto a woods trailer, haul it out and then buck it up from 4 foot lengths into 16 inch lengths on a cordwood (buzz) saw. Then split that wood, then haul it to the woodshed and stack it.

With my log loader trailer, connected with my winch on back of my tractor, I can fell, limb then winch my trees to beside my log trailer. Then lifting my tree off the ground so I do not dull my chainsaw, or bend over; buck the tree into 16 inch sections. Then I come back after I get enough wood doing that, and taking my log trailer, but this time with my upside down woodsplitter on it, grab the round, lift it over my dump body, then finish splitting it. When I get a load, I go to the woodshed and dump my wood out and stack it. So it has been drastically easier to do firewood of late as I no longer have to lift firewood.

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I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

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CuttingEdge
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Re: Heating Your Home

Post by CuttingEdge » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:20 am

I am working on a project now to make the heating of my home 100% mechanical; the Holy Grail of people who heat with firewood for sure.

In my case, I have a pot bellied coal stove which could easily burn firewood chunks, so I built a feller-buncher to go on my log trailer. It is not big so I can only cut saplings, but that is perfect for me as I can go around the edges of my fields, and out through the woods and remove these annoying trees and convert them into heat.

My method is simple, use the feller-buncher to cut the saplings and pile them onto my log trailer and haul them out into a pile.

The second part I have yet to build, but that is in building a firewood chunker that mounts to my dump body. As I use my grapple and log loader to feed the firewood chunker, the chunks go into the dump trailer directly, which I then dump into my firewood shed. Those I just shovel up and burn in my pot bellied stove.

Here is the homemade feller-bunching head I made for my log loader trailer.

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I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

hydrogeo
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Re: Heating Your Home

Post by hydrogeo » Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:18 am

Interesting concept on the feller buncher. Does the saw move, or do you just push it into the tree? I bet it works good for what you've designed it to do.

I thought about trying to mechanize my operation, but I only burn 5 cord so it's hard to justify much of an investment. Now I just twitch the wood to a yard with my 40c, have my boy lift the logs with the excavator bucket/thumb and I cut them up, and then the kids help split, throw into the trailer and straight to the woodshed. It would be nice having a log loader trailer like yours as it's 1/2 mile from my woodlot to the spot close to the woodshed where I like to cut and split.

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CuttingEdge
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Re: Heating Your Home

Post by CuttingEdge » Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:57 am

hydrogeo wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:18 am
Interesting concept on the feller buncher. Does the saw move, or do you just push it into the tree? I bet it works good for what you've designed it to do.

It works okay for what I want to do, but admit I am a little nervous sometimes of slamming the saw up against a stump, rock or another tree. It is only a $750 chainsaw, but still, smashing just one saw a firewood season makes buying fuel oil a whole lot more economical. But because it is only a $750 chainsaw, it might power through saplings just fine, but being only 65 cc's, it is not very powerful either. Someday, if the whole firewood chunking system seems to work, I might replace the chainsaw with a shear so that I do not need the chainsaw to do the tree felling.

Size however, is somewhat based upon the log loader trailer; it can only pick 800 pounds at full extension, but mostly the size is dictated by the firewood chunker. I can only chunk about 4 inch trees. This would be just about right for a pot bellied stove. I have some of the parts gathered up to make the firewood chunker, but I have been super-busy moving houses around, etc.
hydrogeo wrote:
Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:18 am
I thought about trying to mechanize my operation, but I only burn 5 cord so it's hard to justify much of an investment. Now I just twitch the wood to a yard with my 40c, have my boy lift the logs with the excavator bucket/thumb and I cut them up, and then the kids help split, throw into the trailer and straight to the woodshed. It would be nice having a log loader trailer like yours as it's 1/2 mile from my woodlot to the spot close to the woodshed where I like to cut and split.
For what this log trailer is, it really is a lot of money, with all the extras it was $18,000. While it is perfect for firewooders, its high cost limits its purchase. I would say it is really good for sawmillers though because in that capacity I use it to move logs, the logs never getting a drop of dirt on them because they never get dragged through the soil on their way out. Then at the sawmill the loader can be used to load the logs on, then the loader used to pick the boards up. In that way it really takes a lot of the work out of sawing logs into boards, and keeps the sawblade from dulling as well.

Production wise, my best day ever was 5 cord of hardwood: felled, limbed, bucked, loaded 8 foot onto the trailer, hauled 1/4 mile, and off loaded into a pile.

I bought it because I do way more tan just move wood though.

As a sheep farmer, one thing it does really well is move haybales around. Because it has its own 6 hp engine and hydraulic system, I hook it to my grocery-getter SUV, zip around the fields and pick up round bales with it. But I also grade roads with a homemade grader blade' the walking beam suspension and long hitch making for super smooth roadways. But it also can bore post holes with an auger since the grapple head rotates 360 degrees. But it also comes with a dump body so I can haul and dump gravel or manure, or put on a backhoe and dig with it. So it really can do a lot.

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I have no intention of traveling to my grave in a well manicured body; instead I am going to slide into heaven with a big power turn, totally wore out with busted knuckles, jump off my dozer loudly yelling, Woo Hoo, another Shepard has just arrived!

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