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Old 03-16-2008, 03:15 PM
 
Location: Backwoods of Maine
2,514 posts, read 2,887,453 times
Reputation: 4546

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Once we get some land in Maine, we intend to build our own home from scratch (OK, OK, maybe we'll hire out a little help!). Would like to run some ideas by you, to see if you can find a reason why we should not do it this way. Always best to listen to those who have tried!

First, the house will be solar-oriented, meaning a large expanse of south wall would face the sun and have large windows to allow the sun in. The floors on the south side would be deep (2-3') of concrete for thermal mass, which would be insulated with foam all around. Here in RI, there is solar gain even on cloudy days.

Next our main (Maine?) source of heat would be a hand-built masonry structure, central in the house, containing a wood stove. We figure the stones will also be a thermal heat mass, giving off heat after the fire has gone down. This is different than just a regular wood stove, which also works well, but would burn more wood.

It goes without saying that, building new, the house will be well-insulated, a good 8" on the north side and 6" on the rest, at least 12" below the roof, with a vapor barrier and house wrap. Any other ideas?

These techniques have been tried here in Rhode Island by others (while we heat with oil - and pay and pay!). Would they work in Maine?
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Old 03-16-2008, 03:55 PM
 
Location: Maine's garden spot
2,490 posts, read 3,084,346 times
Reputation: 2170
Your plan sounds good. The guys on hot and cold (a radio handyman show) reccomend an r rating of forty on the side walls, and 60 on the roof. Make provision to insulate the windows at night and what you are talking about sounds great.
There show be secondary heat source for when you are away for extended periods.
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Old 03-16-2008, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Northern Maine
6,302 posts, read 8,157,506 times
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They certainly would work in Maine. The only change I would make is to use dark slate for your thermal mass floor at ground level and reduce the thickness of your concrete to about 8 inches. I would put pipes in that floor and route warm air up the front of the house. The source of that air would be the back as cooler air flows down by gravity.

I need to go out and photograph such a house for you.
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Old 03-16-2008, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Maine's garden spot
2,490 posts, read 3,084,346 times
Reputation: 2170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Maine Land Man View Post
They certainly would work in Maine. The only change I would make is to use dark slate for your thermal mass floor at ground level and reduce the thickness of your concrete to about 8 inches. I would put pipes in that floor and route warm air up the front of the house. The source of that air would be the back as cooler air flows down by gravity.
One of the neighbors around here had a sun room just as you described. worked great.
The concrete people are not going to like your suggetion of using less concrete. What is it now, $90 a yard or something like that. 2-3 feet of cement does seem to be a bit of overkill.
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Old 03-16-2008, 04:12 PM
 
Location: South Portland, Maine
2,349 posts, read 3,519,525 times
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What great thread...I have a feeling there will be a lot of information covered before its over.

I am sorry there isn't much for me to add
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Old 03-16-2008, 04:25 PM
 
Location: :0)1 CORINTHIANS,13*"KYRIE, ELEISON!"*"CHRISTE, ELEISON" KYRIE, ELEISON!"0)
2,147 posts, read 3,249,385 times
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Smile Thank You!!!

THANK YOU FOR STARTING THIS THREAD!!!


I am sure that it will be very helpful to lots of people!!

WELCOME TO THE FORUM!!!!

THANK YOU!!!

Take care,

Countrylv22



Quote:
Originally Posted by Nor'Eastah View Post
Once we get some land in Maine, we intend to build our own home from scratch (OK, OK, maybe we'll hire out a little help!). Would like to run some ideas by you, to see if you can find a reason why we should not do it this way. Always best to listen to those who have tried!

First, the house will be solar-oriented, meaning a large expanse of south wall would face the sun and have large windows to allow the sun in. The floors on the south side would be deep (2-3') of concrete for thermal mass, which would be insulated with foam all around. Here in RI, there is solar gain even on cloudy days.

Next our main (Maine?) source of heat would be a hand-built masonry structure, central in the house, containing a wood stove. We figure the stones will also be a thermal heat mass, giving off heat after the fire has gone down. This is different than just a regular wood stove, which also works well, but would burn more wood.

It goes without saying that, building new, the house will be well-insulated, a good 8" on the north side and 6" on the rest, at least 12" below the roof, with a vapor barrier and house wrap. Any other ideas?

These techniques have been tried here in Rhode Island by others (while we heat with oil - and pay and pay!). Would they work in Maine?
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Old 03-16-2008, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
21,874 posts, read 28,685,077 times
Reputation: 8914
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nor'Eastah View Post
Once we get some land in Maine, we intend to build our own home from scratch (OK, OK, maybe we'll hire out a little help!).
I hired out the driveway, power pole, well and foundation.

I have done the rest myself. Power from the pole to our house, power to the well and piping form the well to the house, phone line from the pole to the house, and everything else.



Quote:
... Would like to run some ideas by you, to see if you can find a reason why we should not do it this way. Always best to listen to those who have tried!

First, the house will be solar-oriented, meaning a large expanse of south wall would face the sun and have large windows to allow the sun in. The floors on the south side would be deep (2-3') of concrete for thermal mass, which would be insulated with foam all around. Here in RI, there is solar gain even on cloudy days.

Next our main (Maine?) source of heat would be a hand-built masonry structure, central in the house, containing a wood stove. We figure the stones will also be a thermal heat mass, giving off heat after the fire has gone down. This is different than just a regular wood stove, which also works well, but would burn more wood.

It goes without saying that, building new, the house will be well-insulated, a good 8" on the north side and 6" on the rest, at least 12" below the roof, with a vapor barrier and house wrap. Any other ideas?

These techniques have been tried here in Rhode Island by others (while we heat with oil - and pay and pay!). Would they work in Maine?
A little light on the insulation IMHO.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:04 PM
 
Location: Log "cabin" west of Bangor
3,001 posts, read 3,462,390 times
Reputation: 2703
Quote:
Originally Posted by forest beekeeper View Post
I hired out the driveway, power pole, well and foundation.

I have done the rest myself. Power from the pole to our house, power to the well and piping form the well to the house, phone line from the pole to the house, and everything else.
Since you did the well power and pipe, and I'm assuming the bladder as well, maybe you can give me a tip on a problem I have-

My inside pressure varies more than I would like, especially when taking a shower which results in variations between hot and cold...and particularly sometimes going from comfortable to intensely hot...which results in a bit of impromptu dancing (which is even worse than my singing).

Do you know of a way to decrease the pressure variation? Maybe a larger bladder, stronger pump, increase bladder pressure? Combination of these?
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:27 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,134 posts, read 22,282,980 times
Reputation: 16223
Quote:
Originally Posted by forest beekeeper View Post
A little light on the insulation IMHO.

That was my first thoughts as well.
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Northern Maine
6,302 posts, read 8,157,506 times
Reputation: 4375
Your air side needs more air. If you have no gauge, put a pressure gauge on it. Your air pressure should be half the peak pressure of your system pressure.

Until you get the pressure gauge, turn off your well pump. Drain your pressure tank to zero pressure. Inflate the air side to 20 PSI. You have a tire pressure gauge, right? Turn off the drain from your tank. Turn your well pump back on.

Presto! Comfortable showers again.

While you are down there, bleed the air off the top of your hot water tank. It can prevent burning out your top element.
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