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Anybody have experience with wood cooking stoves?  RSS feed

 
                  
Posts: 29
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I have a 30 square meters-300 square feet house that needs to be warmed through so cold -20 celsius Swedish winters.

Anybody have experience with a cooking stove like this, could it warm us enough?

I only have used radiant heat stoves, planning to build one with a thousand bricks and possible rocketstove elements, but this is next year... we need to survive this one.


 
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I haven't used a cooking stove like that, but I have spent many a winter in front of a wood-burning stove.  From the looks of it, your stove doesn't have a wide open flue for the hot gasses to escape.  This is generally a good thing as the metal will be heated by the fire, and then radiate into the air of your home. 

You do need to provide for a venting of the gasses that result from the combustion, which I can't see in the picture.

Also, temperature control is a bit tricky until you get the hang of how big a fire to make with a given airflow to heat for a certain amount of time.  Regardless, you'll need a lot of wood, but it should be doable.
 
                  
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thank you for your reply
small pipe connection in lower back.

better than a fireplace but not as good as a  russian radiant  or rocket....
 
steward
Posts: 25157
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Most cook stoves are not designed to heat a room.  In fact, they are kinda designed to be able to cook and not heat the room. 

A couple of ideas for ya:

1)  you will probably have a stove pipe going up and through the roof.  There are two types of contraptions you can put on that pipe that will help to move some of the heat going up that pipe into the room.  One is a fan with a lot of holes through the pipe:  http://reviews.northerntool.com/0394/17278/reviews.htm - the other is a metal barrel with a baffle:  http://stoves.bioenergylists.org/stovesdoc/apro/Heat/Heating%20Stoves%20LO-RES.pdf

2)  I read an article by a fella that was having to keep the fire stoked all day just to keep warm.  Then he brought in a whole bunch of rocks and stacked them near the fire.  Then he needed just one fire a day:  http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/lee90.html

 
                  
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excellent points, thank you!
I was thinking about stones as well, but then I might as well do a radiant heat stove, as I need to take part of the floor out and reinforce it, the floor is bending even under the weight of the fridge, its a tiny house...
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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wood cooking stoves are a little more difficult to heat a house with than a regular woodstove because of the size of the firebox..but it isn't impossible..

we had an old majestic wood stove in a 900 square foot house for the first many years of our marriage..we did eventually add a wood fired parlor stove in the living room area..but we heated totally with wood for about 38 years.

later we replaced the wood cookstove with an ashely style burner which heated better.

the problem of the smaller firebox means getting up several times during winter nights to stoke the fire..also depends on how cold your winters are..ours occasionally dropped to - 40 degrees F...but generally no lower than 20 below zero..but still that is cold..the house we had was poorly insulated..trust me..you enjoyed your blankies at night

i loved my majestic woodstove for cooking though..and in winter it was always hot for a great breakfast !! hot water always simmering away on the back burner.

i was sorry to lose it but we had a fire in the back behind the oven and it was dangerous..so it had to go
 
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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You can buy a thermocouple-powered fan that sits on the stove surface and blows air past a big heat sink:

http://www.garrettwade.com/stove-fan-warms-the-room-/p/25T05ddd01/[\url]

If you feel confident building a single-turn super-low-voltage brush motor, building one yourself would be fairly straightforward.
 
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
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We have a wood-burning esse cooking stove. It was installed last autumn and saw us admirably through last winter.  It cooks (with help from humans), heats our water, and heated our 60m2 living area to 20 degrees C and the remainer of the house to about 14 against an outdoor temp of about -10 degrees C.  We are very well insulated with hemp and that has really paid off.

We were pleasantly surprised at how little wood it used compared to our traditional 'insert' fire (like a cast iron box with a glass front set into a tradional open fire hearth space, if that makes sense). 

You do need to learn how to live with them and learning is just trial and error hands-on stuff.  Depending on what we want from the beast - quick stir-frying heat, slow cooking, mostly hot water, maybe no cooking but more room heating - we alter the airflow amount or direction or change the wood-type.  Our fire will 'keep-in' all night from a stocking at about 11pm until 7am or so.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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really depends on the size of the firebox..the majestic we had had a fire box that was amazingly small..we looked into buying an amish made one that had a firebox that was HUGE..so they vary
 
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heninfrance wrote:
We are very well insulated with hemp and that has really paid off.



Reading this part of your post only makes me hope that the USA will catch up with other countries someday. I think if I insulated a house with hemp around here, every dang drug sniffing dog in the county would end up at my house!

 
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hahaha! yes. don't mention 'hemp' around here. you will get gasps and guffaws and the cops called on you!
 
Gwen Lynn
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Yes...but they sure like to stand around the fields of it and watch it burn, don't they!? Always big news around here.
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
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Crazy - it's such a useful material aside from its drug use.  Once it has been processed into a textile it can be made into loads of 'conventional' things. We have hemp insulation, nappies, and clothes and you can even get shoes made out of it.  Ridiculous to stand by and watch it burn - hmmmm are they watching or 'participating' I wonder 
 
Gwen Lynn
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Heninfrance, thanks for that comment. I like the way you think. Whenever my husband and I see that on the news (and it's pretty much a yearly event!), we always wonder. Especially when the smoke is blowing right at them and they don't seem to move!   

You are right, of course, it's a very useful material and the stigma attached to growing it is absolutely ridiculous! 
 
                            
Posts: 21
Location: NSW, Australia
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Hello Ecohouse,

This is a something that I've done a great deal of research on as I am preparing my own self-sufficient lifestyle in the future.

Oddly enough, the US doesn't have that many woodburning stoves available as you would expect. Probably because of seasonal extremes when compared to Europe where even summers can be chilly at times.

Last year, I spent 3 seasons on a farm in Wales where we used a woodburning stove to cook, heat water and the house. It worked wonders really but it does take some time to get used to them.

We had the woodburning Rayburn, made by Aga (the famous range cooker). You can find them on http://www.rayburn-web.co.uk They also come in coal, oil and diesel burning options and some have a combination of fuels. They are now also available from www.lehmans.com, although sold under a different name. They will last lifetime(s).

There are quite a few others on the market, each with their own following and price range. A very popular new one is the Esse Woodfired (also available in the US since recent days.) http://www.esse.com/cookers/cookers/woodfired.html.
This is a copy of the Rayburn and a good google search will show you all kinds of forums where people discuss the use, tips and tricks and issues when using them.  Again, they are new and there seem(ed) to be some issues with them so order spare parts when buying.

Another option from the UK is http://www.marshallcookers.co.uk/. Apparently much cheaper and just as great but they have a limited dealer network and then there is http://www.sandyford.co.uk/frame.htm

Things to think off:
-A cast iron ovens needs to be cleaned structurally. If using every day for cooking and heating, clean the insides (not the ovens but the technical insides) once every 2 - 3 weeks. If you don't,  efficiency will drop like a stone.
-Airflow is really important: there must be enough air coming into the room that you are using the range in to feed the fire. So a very well isolated house will not do although you can buy little pipes that allow air from outside to directly feed the fire from most manufacturers.
-They need a lot of planning ahead: so getting ready to cook/boil something, may take you 30 minutes to everything warm enough but when warm enough, it's cooks in a jiffy!
-Just like with every other woodburning device, get things to high temperatures at least once a day to burn all the black stuff that can cause fires (what is that called again?)
-Before buying, get the party that will install your cooker to inspect the site you wanted to place the thing. There are factors like types of wall, distance to walls, smoke pipe angles and stuff that you really want to know are not going to be obstacles during the installation.
-Be aware that depending on the size and make, a range can weigh 350 Kg or 700Lbs or more. That's a lot of weight. Most apartments floors cannot handle these buggers!

Lastly:
A tip I'd like to share with you and everybody else: Getting the fire started in the morning (especially cold ones) is a nuisance and always takes some time. Try putting two logs in the warming oven in the evening and keeping them there. Use them in the morning to get an instant fully running fire. Saves a lot of time and hassle. The warming oven will never get hot enough to set the logs on fire (at least not in the Rayburn....)

Good luck!

Pascal
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
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I feel I have to correct some of the points raised in the last post.

First an Esse is NOT a copy of the Rayburn.  I looked VERY closely at both before buying the Esse and there are some major differences.  To say that it's a copy is like saying that two cars are copies of each other because they have 4 wheels.  We haven't had an issue with needing any spare parts.

Second.  We run ours from October through until April, 24 hours a day and only need to clean it once in that period.  If you burn good quality seasoned wood the cleaning shouldn't be a problem.  Yes you do know when it needs cleaned as the efficiency falls dramatically but every 2-3 weeks seems excessive - maybe it was bad wood.

Third.  The planning ahead thing should be looked at in a different way.  The oven is ALWAYS ready just not at very hot temperatures.  This is a change from 'conventional' cookers that always need switching on even for a slow cook and therefore also require 'planning ahead'.  The trick with boiling things on a wood-fired range is to keep a pan of water in the oven at all times then when you need to 'boil' something the water is almost ready.  Plus very little is done on the top of the cooker.  Even pasta is cooked in the oven!  Working with a wood-fired range is a total mind-set change from 'conventional' cookers.

I love mine so much that i'd be very sad to go back to a 'conventional' cooker for all year use.  We do also have an electric cast iron attachment beside the Esse for summer use (it gets too hot here to be running a room-heater all year) but I grudge switching it on so we barbeque with wood for many meals in the summer.

As the saying goes, wood-burning ranges are 'not just for cooking; more a way of life'.  Mine also does all the ironing for me 
 
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