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Old 10-12-2016, 01:36 PM   #1
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Practicality and efficiency of a wood burning stove

Even though I love the idea and the coziness of a stove, I decided not to use one as I'd have to restock it minimum every 12 hrs in upstate NY, plus bring wood onboard to store it, and go through more than a ton of wood my calculations in a harsh winter. I opted for a catalytic vented propane system. Is there anyone using a wood burning stove in the coldest climates without snow birding down south? If so, what are your honest opinions? Are you regretting the decision?
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Old 10-12-2016, 03:02 PM   #2
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I use one and am quite pleased with it! Most especially in the dead of winter.

This time of year in Northern Ontario is all over the map for temperatures. Some mornings are down near freezing, but then hop up to 22C in the afternoon, so the wood stoves residual heat can be a bit annoying. Opening a few windows usually fixes that.

In the dead of winter it's great. We keep it cooking non-stop while we're home, but if we're away for a day or two the inside of the bus will certainly drop below freezing (no alternate heat source). That hasn't been a real problem yet. We just have to plan for it. At the moment we're using a big, blue jug for water. That freezes, but melts as the wood stove warms up. Some of our cans and veggies freeze. That hasn't caused any issues yet.

We actually use less propane in the winter than we do in the summer. The wood stove is always hot. We can do our cooking and coffee making on it in the winter.

Now, as for wood. We have 48 acres of mostly forested land, so wood isn't a problem when we're parked up here. On the road it's ever so slightly less convenient, but not by much. I bring my 20v Dewalt circular saw and snag oak or maple pallets. An easy thing to find in any industrial sector or farm supply shop. I can cut 3 pallets down in 15 minutes with the saw and store the chunks in the wood storage box I made. That lasts for a week or so.

Anyhow, we like it. It's not for everyone, but I like most everything about it. Harvesting and chopping wood is a fantastic bit of exercise and the flickering of the flame at night can't be topped.

My woodstove install can be seen in my build thread, which is linked to in my signature.

Its my opinion that if burning nearly a ton of wood doesn't sit well with you, then you did the right thing in grabbing a propane furnace. Wood is either going to take up space, or you'll be scavenging pallets all winter.

As a side note: I just finished chopping enough wood for this year and next!! It's always nice to be ahead of the game
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Old 10-12-2016, 03:09 PM   #3
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Pallet wood burns EXCELLENT in a wood stove.. years ago we used to get scraps from a pallet company... the small blocks and pieces of wood give lots of surface area.. with a proper dampering system you can control a fire nicely when you have lots of surface area to burn.. unlike big logs, little pieces put together can keep a core barely burning even when dampered way down.. as opposed to having to run a larger minimum airflow to get a couple big logs to burn.

pallet wood is also usually nice and dry.. even if its outside and been rained on, its pretty seasoned as far as Saps.. its easy to store or carry in tubs or 5 gallon buckets..

Used pallets can often be found near dumpsters of warehouses if you get there before the guys with the over-stacked pickup trucks snag them.

I could imagine a single pallet heating a well insulated bus for a day or two (maybe more)..

-Christopher
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Old 10-12-2016, 03:16 PM   #4
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Yeah, you make a really good point. The pallets are usually made of heat treated or kiln dried wood!

To anyone who is thinking of burning pallets, do watch out for methyl bromide treated wood. It's rather poisonous when burned. You'll be able to tell by the stamping on the pallet. Most pallets will be stamped HT for heat treated, or KD for kiln dried. The bad ones will be labelled MB for methyl bromide.
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Old 10-12-2016, 03:30 PM   #5
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wow I never new pallets were treated.. most of the ones ive seen seem just like splintery bare wood... I didnt realize they pressure treat them like deck wood? I know people have been told for years not to make a bon-fire with an old torn down wood deck from a house..
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Old 10-12-2016, 03:36 PM   #6
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I haven't seen any that are pressure treated in the same way that building lumber can be. It seems that very few are methyl bromide treated as well these days, though it's still worth checking to be certain. Heat treated appears to be the most common.

It turns out that methyl bromide treated pallets are banned in Canada because they are considered a health risk to warehouse workers. That could be why I've seen so few in my time.
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Old 10-12-2016, 04:31 PM   #7
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As someone who used to work in the trucking industry, I can tell you that a lot of shippers, especially those shipping produce, require heat treated pallets because the treatment process kills insects and insect eggs/larvae.

I don't think I ever saw a MB treated pallet the whole time I drove, just heat treated wood or plastic at a few places.
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Old 10-12-2016, 06:45 PM   #8
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My plan is to use the wood stove to supplement my propane heater, for example when traveling & parking grab a pallet or 2 & burn them while awake then load stove before bed & let propane take over after stove burns down,then when setup for boondocking gather wood for longer use
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Old 10-26-2016, 03:46 PM   #9
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I, too, have been wary about purchasing a wood-burning stove. I associate them with hipsters, and I associate hipsters with valuing aesthetics over true value.
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Old 10-26-2016, 04:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marceps View Post
I, too, have been wary about purchasing a wood-burning stove. I associate them with hipsters, and I associate hipsters with valuing aesthetics over true value.
Haha.. wow.. Ever been out of the city?

If that statement holds true than about half of the people I know are hipsters.. And half of that group are between the ages of 60-90 years of age. So I guess you could say that they are the original hipsters?

In this rural area it's generally considered stupid to pay for heat when there's energy standing in your own backyard.

Also, yes, fire does add some nice aesthetics



This reminds me of a little exchange between my girlfriends brother-in-law Brian and his life-long country living 80 year old mother. It went like this:

Quote:
Brian's mom: "What were you up to this afternoon?"

Brian: "Bucking up a tree that fell down in a wind storm at Eden's place in the city."

Brian's mom: "Oh.... ...why? Is there something wrong with their chainsaw?"

Brian: "No Mom. Not everyone owns a chainsaw"
I thought it was kinda funny
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