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Old 01-11-2008, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Lowcountry
764 posts, read 931,398 times
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Default Outdoor Wood Furnaces

I am planning on building a new home on my property and want to install a energy efficient heating system.

Anyone have any experience with using this type of heat system for heat and hot water? Are they really as efficient as they claim? I have enough firewood to support this type of system for years.
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Old 01-11-2008, 09:28 AM
 
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If you have the wood, then yes. I have several friends with one, and they will burn for 24 hours or longer between loading with wood. They can heat work shops, basements,etc that most people would hesitate to heat due to the cost now.
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Old 01-11-2008, 05:16 PM
 
Location: Iowa
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I don't have personal experience with these systems but at a rather subjective high level, I would think that Geothermal heat pump would be more "efficient" and environmentally friendly than the wood stove approach. But, I also don't have any idea about the comparative costs between the two. One likely advantage of the wood stove approach is that it can probably heat up an area much more rapidly.

We were thinking about looking further into the geothermal approach if we ever get to build in NC.

Anyway, just food for thought.....
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Old 01-11-2008, 05:39 PM
 
Location: Lowcountry
764 posts, read 931,398 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Researching Retirement View Post
I don't have personal experience with these systems but at a rather subjective high level, I would think that Geothermal heat pump would be more "efficient" and environmentally friendly than the wood stove approach. But, I also don't have any idea about the comparative costs between the two. One likely advantage of the wood stove approach is that it can probably heat up an area much more rapidly.

We were thinking about looking further into the geothermal approach if we ever get to build in NC.

Anyway, just food for thought.....
I looked into GeoThermal as an option but it seems to be cost and space prohibitive. Where I plan to build is extremely rocky and would be a nightmare clearing enough area for the lines. I do have a pond where I could bury the coil of lines but it is at the bottom of the property, 1000+ ft away and 200+ ft lower in elevation. One thing I have plenty of is wood.

With a wood furnace, I can place it about 20 feet away from the house and only have to trench a narrow ditch which I think I can do without too much difficulty.

I've heard that some of these furnaces are so efficient that given the small quantity of wood required, very little smoke is generated, supposedly much less than a fireplace. One or two chunks of wood every day.
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Old 01-11-2008, 06:43 PM
 
16,311 posts, read 13,146,144 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flat2MT View Post
I've heard that some of these furnaces are so efficient that given the small quantity of wood required, very little smoke is generated, supposedly much less than a fireplace. One or two chunks of wood every day.
Think you would find you payback would only be a couple of years for the word furnace, and a lot longer for the ground water heat pump setup.
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:34 PM
 
Location: Iowa
92 posts, read 282,817 times
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Yeah, everything you say makes sense given the situation. I really didn't have any idea about what the wood stove approach would cost or whether you'd have to cut too many good trees to feed it. I'm really surprised at the efficiency. If it's that good and doesn't create much smoke/particulate then sounds like a great idea.

Hope it works out great!
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Old 01-11-2008, 09:09 PM
 
Location: Lowcountry
764 posts, read 931,398 times
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What got me thinking of an outdoor wood furnance is that I have a couple of old oaks on my ridgeline with diameters of 45+ inches and heights 50+ feet which succumbed to a wind storm a couple of months ago. I figure I should have a couple of years of seasoned firewood available so no need to kill trees needlessly.
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Old 01-13-2008, 02:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville Native View Post
Think you would find you payback would only be a couple of years for the word furnace, and a lot longer for the ground water heat pump setup.
If you remember to regularly feed the outdoor wood furnance and have the hot water heating option, combined with radiant floor heating, then it is by far your best option in this part of NC.

Too bad your property isn't more condusive to a geothermal system.
Even though a geothermal heat pump is by far the most efficient to heat AND cool your home, its upfront costs are still prohibitively expensive. Even with the efficiencies gained, your payback period will still be 15-20 years.

Now if fossil fuel energy costs double or triple during this same period, then the payback period would be much less. Even with projecting a doubling of fuel costs over the next 10 years, the wood furnance still wins, assuming that you will have a continous wood supply.

I just wonder if you can retrofit an existing forced air (oil) system.
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