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Old 09-11-2012, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Northern Maine
5,990 posts, read 7,388,906 times
Reputation: 3882
Bruderus, Penzotti, Rinnai and others make highly efficient oil and gas furnaces and boilers. They are so efficient that the gas temperatures going up the chimney can reach the dew point with water condensing on the inside of the chimney. That water has CO2 in it which makes it carbonic acid. There may also be some sulfuric acid or pyroligneous acid. None of these are good for older chimney flues. You should have the flue relined with an acid resistant material. Those recommending it are correct.

An alternative is a direct vent to the outdoors through your wall. These are becoming common in Maine. Many new hones have no chimneys and it isn't because they have electric heat.
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Old 09-11-2012, 03:17 PM
 
1,534 posts, read 2,064,745 times
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Geezer and geezers to be should also consider any physical limitations they may have now or likely will have in a few years. We've burned wood for many years and liked it, but we're currently in a health situation where hauling wood from stack to stove will be difficult this winter and next. In fact we're selling and giving away our current firewood supply. If natural gas were an option, we'd hook up in an instant. We've looked at pellet stoves and liked what we saw, but we're concerned about heating during power outages. At the moment we're more or less stuck with oil, with our existing woodstove being available as backup heat in an emergency. We have two neighbors who use propane heaters and like them a lot.

Wood and/or coal should be your first option as long as your health is good. After that, start looking at alternatives such as natural gas/propane, pellet stoves, and oil as a last resort.
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Old 09-11-2012, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Northern Maine
5,990 posts, read 7,388,906 times
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You don't need to lug heavy bags of pellets. You can carry your pellets 10 pounds at a time. Pellets are a very good alternative if you must replace your current unit or are installing a new unit. It takes a lot of energy to make pellets and their price will rise with the rest of energy costs. I expect that Maine made pellets will always be less costly than oil and most of that energy cost stays in Maine. It is the right thing to do.
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Old 09-11-2012, 03:43 PM
 
Location: Caribou, Me.
1,219 posts, read 1,066,989 times
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We burn half pellets and half oil (especially at night). We also added some electric heat (separate thermostat) to two colder rooms at the end of the house, mostly out of convenience and safety (they don't get really hot for kids).
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:32 PM
 
6 posts, read 5,585 times
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People w/ older furnaces and boilers approach ng replacement should be aware that new federal standards go into effect on May 1, 2013 mandating 90% efficiency in all new installations w/ no exemptions for old house construction, expect at least a 25% higher install cost.
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:33 PM
 
Location: Ellsworth
431 posts, read 580,006 times
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Long johns, turtle neck, sweats, a sweater and a good sized dog at the foot of the bed.....and a wood stove!
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:29 PM
 
828 posts, read 700,491 times
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Just a bit of old timer info. AFTER a good snowfall bank the snow around your house. THIS makes an excellent insultation and will keep your house warmer. [done it for many years and always had a warmer house].
I used oil and had a wood stove as backup IF you go wood have the chimney inspected and cleaned every year [also a good cleaning log is great to clean out creosote ].
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:13 PM
 
Location: Lubec, ME
661 posts, read 361,892 times
Reputation: 320
Only downside with wood stoves is the air dries out.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:22 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
21,323 posts, read 26,178,629 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michael_atw View Post
Only downside with wood stoves is the air dries out.
Not always.

We were hoping it would, but the contractor who did our site-work punctured an aquifer in our basement so our sump is an artesian spring. The result is that one woodstove does not have enough draft to keep our humidity low. We had to install a whole house exhaust.
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:11 PM
 
Location: Near the Stone Barn
834 posts, read 448,810 times
Reputation: 649
I have a friend who is 85 who still loads his wood stove several times a day.
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