The larger the temperature difference, the more the suction. So, at 10° below comfortable, our house's heat production matches the draw. Up to like 12 degrees below that the wood burner can heat well. After that, the suction, increased by the wood burner not pulling directly from outside, means without a gas furnace we cannot really keep up.
We can then wear coats and hang out by the heater, but it's frustrating and annoying. Our house has a lot of holes in the insulation. I plan on filling in the holes so there will be much less suction, but that could mean the house will be under pressure it never felt before. I can't help wonder if that will hurt the structure at all. I doubt it, but think it an interesting thing. It will also cause the smaller holes to rush out air faster. Imagine a water balloon with a little hole and a big hole. Close the big one, and the other gushes faster. That's why energy auditors get all excited about unsealed window ledges.
How does one fill all those little holes? Well, if you sealed everything, you might be warm, but dead and without fire. Some air exchange is necessary, especially with a wood burning stove. So zero sucking is bad. It's about balanced suckage.
Therefore, as one zero energy contractor put it, it's more important to have even and complete insulation than super thick insulation.
As the proud owner of a wood burning stove and windbreak to help fuel it, I figured I'd share some of my research and findings.
Work smarter, not harder.
I knew that guy would be trouble! Thanks tiny ad!
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