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harvey
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1539 Moravia, NY
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2007-04-16          141354


We now have over 16" of HEAVY WET SNOW trees snaping as I type this. Power company not sure when power will be back up. It is a local outage.

Power out since 2pm it's now 7:30 pm. I got home at 4 plowed drive quickie job, ate supper (gas range), called power company... hooked up gen at 5:50 pm. Whole house up and running.

Life is good. It's the first time I have had to or needed to use it for a serious outage. Heats on and blowers are moving the wood heat, toilets flush, computers and wireless router on. I'm ready to go sit in my easy chair and watch the tube.

Tractor makes a small grunt when water pump kicks on.

Refill tractor before bed and check it all in the am.

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2007-04-16          141357


We've had several outages of 5 days or more, always in the dead of winter. Our 14kw unit just won't cut it. I was hoping to upgrade to something that would run the heat pump this year, probably 30kw or so in size. Not sure if it will be in the budget but it's at the top of the list. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2007-04-16          141358


Harvey; I'm still waiting for my PTO generator, I ordered it during the February ice storm. It is a 45KW three phase to operate some of my heavy three phase shop equipment and to be back up for the house. I looked into phase converters, but things soon become complicated and expensive, so the generator route was chosen. I still am far from an expert on electrical things, but as my electician said If you got three phase you got single phase, so we will see how many guts a souped up "H" Farmall has.
Frank. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2007-04-16          141359


Harvey; I'm still waiting for my PTO generator, I ordered it during the February ice storm. It is a 45KW three phase to operate some of my heavy three phase shop equipment and to be back up for the house. I looked into phase converters, but things soon become complicated and expensive, so the generator route was chosen. I still am far from an expert on electrical things, but as my electician said If you got three phase you got single phase, so we will see how many guts a souped up "H" Farmall has.
Frank. ....

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harvey
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 1539 Moravia, NY
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2007-04-17          141361


Ken/Frank I lucked out on this gen it is a 30k. They did not have a 20k in stock.

So I ended up with a lot more gen than I have tractor enough to run. Reserve is always good.

Shut it down at 11:45 last night. It's right at 32F house holds heat ok and wood stove shut down to bare minimun because no fans to move air. Still no power at 5am. So back on gen at 5:30. Power suspose to be back on by noon. Only 103 customers affected, on this line.

Yard is a mess tree on top of big satellite dish, 15' of a tree top just missed my car, thats just what I can see from house with yard lights on this morning. ....

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
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2007-05-13          142044


Dear friends,

I've seen several large PTO driven generators for sale at auction over the past month or two. Some of them sold cheap.

If anyone here is interested, keep an eye on proxibid.com for a PTO generator. They come up for sale at farm and commercial auctions quite frequently, and at prices most anyone can afford.

Proxibid.com is one of my favorite internet sites. I'm a regular bidder at the place.

Joel ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2007-05-13          142053


Ken.... All that wood and no wood stove? ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2007-05-13          142054


We've got a couple of fireplaces that were going full blast, but they just can't keep up given the size of the house. They're fairly efficient for fireplaces but not as efficient as a modern woodstove. We looked at outside wood burning stoves but they smoke too much. ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2007-05-14          142062


I have an old Earth Stove fireplace insert. It puts my 100,000+ BTU forced air system in the back seat.

I have a big house too, 3300 sq. ft. and huge two story vaulted ceilings, so there is a lot of volume to heat.

You might look into a one or a couple of similar units. It has got to be cheaper to buy and operate than a 40 KW generator.

You will still need a KW or so to run the fans, but you could no doubt work that into the job list for your present generator. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
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2007-05-14          142074


Mark, you really get 100k BTUs out of your woodstove? Wow. We rented a 2500 sf house that had one. It put out so much heat you couldn't stay in the same room, but even with the A/C fan on the nether regions of the house stayed cool. A lot of that is airflow though.

When we built this house we went with Heatilator manufactured fireplaces. They have doors, blowers, and bring combustion air in from outside but they don't put out nearly the amount of heat the woodstove did. After our fireplaces were in place a bunch of river rock was installed on the hearth and walls around the fireplaces. I'm very reluctant to rip all that out but I'll stop by a woodstove place to see what they might be able to do. Thanks for the suggestion. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2007-05-14          142075


Ken, I'm in about the same position as Mark is, big open spaces, 2 storey high, and a lot of space to heat.

I have a single mid-sized airtight insert in the front of the house, fairly central, and can keep the house warm enough with just a moderate fire burning that the furnace will not cycle on regardless of the weather outside.

However, I also find a HUGE difference depending on what I'm burning too.

I have an endless supply of softwood, mostly hemlock, which is the slabs off our sawmill, well seasoned and in fairly small pieces, most of it is about 3" square after splitting, lots of it is smaller than that even, like burning kindling almost. If that's what I'm burning I stay warm just fetching wood and shovelling it in the firebox non-stop. Burning it the house will stay warm, but just.

If I start burning the dry (2+ year old) hardwood you can get a tan standing across the room from the stove, and an arm full of wood will last many hours. Two good-sized blocks piled onto a bed of coals at at midninght will burn long enough that there's still lots of visible coals and you can feel the heat coming off the stove at 7am when I go to put the coffee on.

Best of luck.
....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
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2007-05-14          142096


Our house is three stories, 3600 sf with an insulated but unfinished basement. The fireplaces are in the basement and main floor great room. A real hot woodstove would drive us out of the great room. If I replace the basement fireplace with a woodstove insert maybe it will pump out enough heat to help warm the rest of the house, especially if I get the heat pump fan operating off the generator to circulate the air. Sounds like a good idea to check in to. I wish there was an easy way to start the main heat pump - our genset could probably run it but it could never provide the startup juice. ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2007-05-15          142108


Well, that is the neat thing about wood stoves.... you can put less wood in them.

Also keep in mind that if it gets too hot you can turn the circulation fan down or even off and let the majority of the heat escape up the chimney.

When all else fails, open a window and mix hot and cold air just like your car heater does.

I might get up on a winter morning when it is +10 outside and the inside is 64 degrees. If if turn the propane forced air thermostat to 70 it might take 4 hours to get there.

If I fire up the wood stove I will have 70 degrees within the hour.

I think you might have a perfect set-up with the house structured as it is and a wood stove insert in the lowest section. ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
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2007-05-15          142109


Oh.... one other thing. We have talked a lot about sizing generators to start motors and you just mentioned having enough juice to run the heat-pump but not enough to start it.

I just replaced my well pump last week after 25 years down the hole. I bought a computerized motor control system that gives me a "soft start" and provides a continuously variable speed to the pump.

My water pressure is set at 65 pounds and the pump will now keep it at that preset pressure within 3 psi. That, instead of cycling between 40 and 60 psi with an abrupt full power start and a "slam shut" at the end.

The side benifit.... it actually takes less power to start the pump than it does to run it, and requires a lot less generator wattage.

So I wonder if there is a similar system for heat pumps???? ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2007-05-15          142110


My understanding of it is, based on my system, that the big problem with heat pumps is that they always start under full load because the pump is mounted directly on the motor's output shaft.

In ourcase the starting load wasn't an issue, but I was told there is a 'soft start' system available which basically consists of a pair of "Y" valves, one on each of the input and output of the circulation pump. For a 'soft start' a solenoid moves the valves so that the pump is only recirculating a couple fo gallons of liquid, then after the pump is up and running, the valves slowly move back to the original position and slowly start moving the entire body of liquid around.

I'm sure a person could rig up their own manual version pretty easy since it would only be needed on a very infrequent basis.

As for the woodstove option, you could likely rig up a furnace blower in the attic, if you have one, which would force the warmest air at the top of the house back down to the lowest point. A simple 1/2hp motor wouldn't draw a lot of power while running, but would make a huge difference in blending the air. As Mark mentioned, the woodstove heats up an area faster because of the higher temperature differential between the fire and the room air temperature.

In my house it makes about 5 diference in the upstairs bedrooms temperature whether I just have the ceiling fan on the cathedral ceiling running or not.

Air circulation is the key, all the hot air in the world won't do you any good at ceiling level, you have to keep it from stratifying.

Best of luck. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2007-05-15          142112


DRankin; This summer I'm working on installing a permanent generator system to take over during outages. Your comment on a computerized soft start system for your well pump caught my eye. I've totally forgotten the size or horsepower of our well pump, but I do remember it hangs at like around 350-400 ft., so it seems it would take lots of starting amps to get the water started up the plastic form that depth. Just wondered where you got the system. Thanks. Frank. ....

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AnnBrush
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 462 Troy OH
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2007-05-15          142113


I love my generator - since I bought it I have not had to use it - I guess that's Murphy's Law for you. In any case I did build my own mobile power quality monitoring device for when the tractor is powering the PTO driven generator. The idiot guage on the generator was hopeless. I now monitor voltage and frequency (it has the capacity to do amperage but I wanted to keep it mobile and ampacity measurements required using a CT on each line which would have been in a fixed position). I can now adjust the throttle on the tractor precisely to get the required frequency and then take the unit back inside and plug it into 2 separate outlets to monitor how things go while I am in the house making dinner etc. Without it my generator needle was in the "green" zone at about 125 volts and 67Hz, dropping it to where it was needed put it barely on the line for "OK". Did measure utility power and Hz was firmly on 60.00 without movement. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2007-05-15          142134


I'm liking the idea of replacing the basement fireplace with a woodstove. Even though the basement is unfinished the masonry guys did a river stone surround, but it's smaller and easier to deal with than the one on the main floor. We have about a dozen air returns throughout the house, more than half on the the top floor and a couple in the basement, so hooking the HVAC fan up to the generator would allow the fan to draw air from the warmest parts of the house and recirculate it throughout. Plus we can stack a couple of cords of wood right outside the basement door under the deck where it will stay dry in the winter. This is sounding good. Now I just need a day off to go visit a couple of woodstove dealers with our info to see what's available. Thanks for the pointer Mark! ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2007-05-16          142144


Ken..... glad to help!

Frank.... the pump/controller system was provided by the pump and well service. Here is the link:

....


Link:   Gould pumps

 
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hardwood
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2007-05-16          142147


DRankin; Thanks, I brought up the Goulds web page. Frank. ....

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DRankin
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2007-06-04          142731


Ken, any update on the wood stove research? ....

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kwschumm
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2007-06-04          142732


Not yet. I'm in major crunch mode right now trying to get a new product ready for introduction at a trade show. Hopefully things will loosen up by the end of the month. I really have to get the wood stove (or some alternative heat source) in by winter. ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4284 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2007-06-05          142738


Ken, not sure if I have mentioned this wood furnace before but this is the model I have in my home and I can attest that it puts out the heat and then some. It is rated at 135,000 BTU. We heat about 2,600 sq. ft. with it. I am VERY satisfied with it and its performance. I also like how VERY easy and low cost it is to add it onto your exhisting ducting for AC/Heat Pump. Removing ashes is very easy with the shaker grate and removable ash pan. US Stove also makes a larger model 1800G that puts out 160,000 BTU's. ....


Link:   US Stove Model 1600G

 
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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
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2007-06-05          142751


Randy, we should have installed something like that from the start instead of this POS WaterFurnace ground source heat pump. Unfortunately we don't have any room left in the mechanical room for a setup like that. I'm looking for something to either work with or replace the downstairs fireplace. ....

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mobilus
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 171 Clay County, TX
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2007-09-07          145472


I checked into the Waterfurnace retrofit on our 3K sq ft home, and found that it would be close to $40K...so that idea went away quick. Great idea, but too pricey, unless you are going to live there forever.

DRankin, I have an Earth Stove fireplace insert as well and wouldn't part with it! I have a 14' vaulted ceiling in the living room, and a lot of the warm air hangs out up there, doing no good. Even though I have two ceiling fans in the living room, itdoesn't move the heat around like I'd like. So I'm going to put a return air duct in from high on the wall and run to the air handler. A friend of mine did it and he says it works great, so we'll see.

Hoping your woodpiles stay high this winter! ....

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Chief
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2007-09-08          145499


Ken, how many BTU's are you looking for? ....

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kwschumm
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2007-09-08          145507


Probably something in the 75k btu and up range. After discussions with my wife it will probably go in the fireplace on the main floor so cosmetics are important too. I took this week off to do a bunch of work around the house and plan to shop for a woodburner this week. Colder weather is coming on too fast for me. ....

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earthwrks
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2007-09-08          145510


mobilus: I'm curious if you studied the effect of a. reversing the blade rotation of the fans (OR even have the fans counter rotate to get an air flow going) and b. the height or presence/location of the fans in relation to the stratums of cold versus hot air i.e., maybe the fan needs to be closer/farther to the hot air to be effective. Too close or inside the hot air stratum and the effect is just stirring up the air but not moving it, OR perhaps getting the air flow such that cold air is pumped up and gets heated as it falls.

But I'm jis' sayin'... ....

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DRankin
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2007-09-08          145512


I have the same issue with heat collecting near the vaulted ceiling.

I use a "floor fan" that sits just inches off the floor and blows straight up. It keeps the air well mixed most days.

As noted it is even more effective when I adjust the ceiling fan to blow downward at the same time. ....

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mobilus
Join Date: Jul 2007
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2007-09-12          145648


EW, I reverse the fan rotation in the winter months, and you may be on to something with the question of the hotter air stratus in relation to fan location. The fans are suspended about 8-9 feet off the floor, closest to the apex wall. So they may not be at the optimum height. I'll check into that as soon as we light the fires this fall. And I've never thought about running the fans in opposite directions...makes sense too!

Thanks! ....

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nosteiner4me
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2007-09-12          145660


Kwschumm....About the firplace insert in basement. I have 2900 sf all brick ranch with full walkout basement tall ceilings 15'4'' and rest are 10' with lots of windows,and is 94 ft long.I tried the insert in the basement trick but could not get it to really do anything like heat the 1st floor at all. It would heat the open basement, but the only one down there was me loading the thing and my furnace was still running like normal. I moved the insert up to the main floor and would heat the open areas just great but the outside rooms on both sides of the house and basement were cold and the wife couldn't take it anymore. Our average gas bill is $400-$500 month in winter but i am heating the basement so really heating 5800 sq ft or so.
I sold the LOPI insert good for 2400 sq ft and installed an Energy King wood furnace on the backside of the basement fireplace (fireplace is in center of basement)and closed off the damper and ran stainless tube all the way up the chimney. This thing heats the entire house,everysingle room through your duckwork, and you could buy a water jacket to heat water. I bought the 160,000 btu model. With gas, we set the heat at 67 and with wood it averages 70-75. Wife is happy and that is all that counts isn't it. Good luck with your choice ,winter is almost here. ....

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kwschumm
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2007-09-12          145662


I've decided to install the woodburner insert on the main floor. With the hvac fan recirculating air it should help a bunch. I've been wanting to also install radiant floor heat on the main floor from the unfinished basement. Didn't make it this year but maybe next. Between the two of those I'm hoping it will be fairly comfortable even during power outages. ....

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kwschumm
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2007-09-15          145758


The literature for our existing manufactured fireplaces says they're rated at 60,000 BTUs. It seems a 25% increase in heat from inserts wouldn't be worth the $4-5k cost so I'm still looking for a workable and cost effective solution. ....

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kwschumm
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2007-09-26          146093


The ratings for wood burners are confusing. Although the Heat & Glo EM-48 fireplace we have is rated at 60k BTUs it never seemed to put out much heat. The seemingly knowledgeable guy at the fireplace store said that the 60k BTU rating was the rating of the firebox and *not* how much heat it would deliver. That would explain why it didn't seem to heat as much as a woodstove we had in a previous house. So it looks like we'll be having a Quadra-Fire 5100i woodstove insert installed which supposedly can deliver up to 75000 BTUs of heat and is rated as the primary heat source for a house of up to 3500 sf. Any experience with Quadra-Fire stoves here? They seem to be very well built. ....

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Murf
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2007-09-26          146094


Ken, the one thing (which I'm sure you already know) is that the 'rated' output of any wood burner is a relative thing.

In my case for instance, I can put huge quantities of coniferous wood in my insert all day long and not really do more than take the chill off, on the other hand, an armful of hard maple or some beech will burn all day long and nearly drive me out of the house from the heat if I don't have the damper fully closed.

It's really quite amazing the difference some good dry hardwood will make in the output of the stove.

Best of luck. ....

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Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2007-09-26          146104


Murf, you're right but in our fireplace we've burned maple, cherry and oak and never gotten much heat out of it (although the hardwoods are definitely better than fir). ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2007-09-26          146116


Ken, if you've burned good hardwood and still not gotten much heat out of the insert then I'd say the insert is the culprit.

My unit, as well others in my family, are about the same size as yours, 60k'ish BTU output, and if you have anything more than a single log smoldering you're sitting around in your skivies!!

In my case a SMALL fire will easily keep the furnace from cycling indefinitely and 70 in the house when it's 0 outside.

If I don't keep the ceiling fan going above the insert, it is the 90's upstairs.

Best of luck. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2007-09-26          146119


Murf, we don't have an insert yet, it's just a manufactured fireplace where 90% of the heat goes up the chimney. That's what we're trying to fix. I'm sure the hardwood will make a much bigger difference in the insert. ....

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