alternate heating source

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by MIKE123, May 16, 2007.

  1. MIKE123

    MIKE123 New Member

    Messages:
    15
    The heating season is done and all I bought was 16 gallons of propane!
    I recently installed an indoor coal and wood boiler. What a treat!
    I cut about 10 cords of wood and didn't get to burn any of it (too wet)
    So I bought 3 tons of coal and burned that. Took a long time to get used to it but after a couple of weeks I only had to feed it every 12 hours.
    It is looped into my existing propane boiler and if the fire goes out the propane kicks in. It's a little extra work that will save me thousands! If you have the time I suggest doing it! It will pay itself of in 2 years.
    Harman SF 260 130,000 btu's
    It also heats my domestic water.
    this year I will be buring wood. more tending but much cheaper!
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Well, I am happy for you but perhaps you need to see Al Gore about some carbon offsets.

    Seriously, switching to wood or coal in light of environmental issues is really questionable. Industrial plants can use scrubbers for coal burners, but I assume a home plant has none of that.
  3. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I believe pellet stoves (with varieties of fuels, including corn) are more acceptable as alternative heat sources, but I do not know their actual environmental impacts.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,896
    Location:
    New England
    Some of the heating appliances have catalytic converters available for the flues. Not sure how useful or effective they are. Those on pellet stoves seem to be pretty good. Wonder how much, if any, maintenance they require.

    After awhile, wood smoke is very annoying, and can give some people real health problems. They can really mess with local air quality.
  5. MIKE123

    MIKE123 New Member

    Messages:
    15
    As for global warming, after having a physics class, I find it hard to believe we are the cause
    "Warmest temps in 30 years"
    30 years is less then a blink of an eye in the timeline of the world.
    The world has seen it all.
    Besides that. I doubt my shovel or two of coal is something you can compare to the tons and tons of coal a power plant burns in a day.
    My "carbon footprint" is minimal.
    My fuel source (wood) is renewable.

    sorry if I touched a nerve.

    I thought this might start a conversation on how wonderful it is not to be dependent on an oil source.

    mike
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Not trying to pick on you. My only point is that your neighbors get to smell and breath whatever is coming out of your chimney.

    I grew up in a small town, and have great memories of the smell of burning leaves in the air....all during the fall months. Everyone had a pile out on the curb and it smoldered continuously. We now know that those burn piles are what made the air so smoggy and gray, and folks are not allowed to burn leaves anymore.

    Sure, a few lucky folks can move out to the north forty and live like they please. But there is not room in the north forty for the other million people who happen to live nearby. It's a new world, Charlie Brown!
  7. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    No offense taken here, yet surely you can see Jimbo's point.

    Point taken, and, we agree! However, my wife's asthma precludes my own house from anything (or any neighborhood) but the most breathing-friendly kind we can find.
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    OK, glad to see we are keeping this on a friendly level. No one is trying to gore anyone's ox. Thank you!

    MY humble opinion is that like it or not, we ARE dependent on oil for now. There is no amount of coal or wood which could replace the oil we use, and especially not cleanly on a small scale operation. MY firm belief is we need to go back nuclear. ( WHOA,. that should stir up some debate!)

    The issues of spent fuel disposal must be dealt with, but are no more dangerous or challenging than the smog and supply issues involving oil. Since hydrogen fuel cells appear promising for cars, we have to remember how much electricity we will need to make the hydrogen!

    Just my humble opionion on this issue.
  9. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Or, we could all move to tropical islands and eat fruit while sitting in the shade under a few solar panels used to power electronics.

    Personally, I live on the edge of a city with its own hydro-electric generation system, and I believe we should employ solor, wind, water and human power (walking and pedaling) just as much as we possibly can.
  10. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Can't argue with that!
  11. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    In the immortal words of the ex president of the USA, it was the first time I had ever heard it pronounced that way, I am in agreement with jimbo.

    Nuclar

    Whos old enough to know who I am talking about?
  12. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    One type of heat that is fairly new and seems promising is concentrated solar heat.
  13. Tracker83

    Tracker83 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Michigan
    I'm with Mike123 on this one. I installed an outdoor wood boiler prior to last heating season. The boiler heats the house, garage, and domestic hot water. I used 80 gallons of propane from Oct. 1 through May 1, but my propane is still used for the oven/range and clothes dryer. Without the wood boiler I would have used 1,000+ gallons of propane during that same time frame. By the way, Al Gore should like wood burning. Burning wood is carbon neutral. The amount of carbon emissions is the same as if the wood were to decompose. That being said burning wood isn't for everybody, and I am in favor of almost ALL alternative energy sources.
  14. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Eisenhower sent me a get-well card when I was about seven or eight, but I actually do not recall ever hearing any president say that word *correctly*.
  15. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I had never before heard that, but that is believable since wood is so readily available to just about anyone just about anywhere.
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,896
    Location:
    New England
    It may be carbon neutral, but often can produce a huge amount of irritants, including ash, that can be a problem. In Colorodo, they often have bans because the air quality gets really bad. Some areas in the mountains are prone to temperature inversions, and the basin just fills up with unhealthy air.

    Being self sufficient is a nice goal, but I'd rather see a cleaner method. Solar, wind, even water if you have a suitable stream would be preferred. Ground source heat pumps are quite efficient as well. A house actually carefully built to optimize efficiency - well sealed, good insulation, properly sited to take advantage of available heat and taking into account the prevailing winds, properly designed and executed overhangs to shelter windows in the summer, etc., all don't take much other than planning and can make a huge impact.
  17. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,660
    Location:
    .
    Just a guess, Cass, the peanut farmer? lol.
  18. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Yes it was the peanut farmer, Jimmy "the peanut" Carter.
  19. alternety

    alternety Like an engineer

    Messages:
    650
    Location:
    Washington
    There are some wood boilers that use short very intense fires and use water in a tank to store the heat. They are very clean burners. This would be my choice using renewable fuel. I have looked into coal but I have not found feasible sources of supply. A fast burn and store coal fired boiler would be interesting. Not carbon neutral, but better than oil. Oil kills. Just check the latest casualty reports from the gulf.

    Many wood burning appliances produce a lot of smoke because of things like wet wood, low temperature fires, people adjusting the air supply to control heating rate, etc.

    Catalytic smoke processors are useful. I used a fireplace insert with a catalytic converter on it to heat my house for several years. When it is working it really cleans up the smoke and very noticeably increases the heat recovered in the insert. But it does not work below a certain ,and rather high, temperature. This results in smoke at the beginning and end of a burn.

    I agree with starting to build more nukes, but it must be a safe and STANDARD design to control cost. There are reactors that can not melt down because of their design. Disposal of waste seem to have too much of a political component.
  20. tracker 83 and your wood boiler

    Tracker 83..

    I have heard pros and cons about a wood boiler...

    things like it can smoke up the neighborhood, ect..

    and use a ton of wood ect.


    how wel did you really do with it...






    as far as going back to nukes...for energy
    it sounds fine till one finally bites the dust somewhere
    due to an earthquake, or whatever..and that will probably
    happen someday....



    but I suppose as long as it last another 30 years
    it wont be my problem anymmore...


    thats about how you got to think about it I guess...

    any other way and we would all be chopping wood....




    .
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