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Old 06-23-2015, 03:40 AM   #1
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Wood stove isolated from living space?

Hi all,

I'm considering embarking on a skoolie conversion project, and just wanted to bounce an idea off of people with more experience.

I'd love to have a wood stove for heat, but the safety challenges of wood stoves in small spaces worry me.

But, what if I cut a nook into the walls and welded it shut from the inside, but made a door to the outside; put the stove in the nook; then put a boiler on the stove to drive radiators inside the living space? Like so:



It's complicated, but seems like it might be a lot safer because
1) It makes it much harder to accidentally start a fire inside the living space:
* The wall of the nook interior to the living space will probably be much cooler than the surface of the stove,
* Any spilled embers would be confined to the nook, which is a steel box,
* Any chimney fire would be contained inside the nook as well.
2) It makes it impossible to get any CO buildup to speak of inside the living space.

It's also nice that you won't fill the house with smoke while lighting the fire, or spill ash on the floor while cleaning it.

Downsides I can see are that you'd have to go outside to add fuel to the fire & that you couldn't see the fire from inside. That's OK with me.

Would there be other downsides that I haven't thought of? If this kind of thing has already been done, could anyone tell me what to google?

Thanks!
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Old 06-23-2015, 10:00 AM   #2
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I lived with a coal stove all winter. Yes to the loading from the outside.

Off to work this morning.

Nat
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:59 AM   #3
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Scrambles: are you dealing with a full sized school bus? If so, that system could work really well. You'll find that a boiler system will take up 2-3 times as much space when you counter in all the components, but it's an extremely versatile system. If you're going that route you might as well install in-floor heating while you're at it.
I have a short-bus so couldn't work out the space to do a boiler system. I would love in-floor heating, but being such a small space the wood stove with circulating fans is working gangbusters. It does add some sexy ambience, too, with the glass door.
If you add an appropriate heat shield and the proper chimney it becomes damn near impossible to catch a place on fire with a wood stove. Most fires you hear about are caused by a combination of serious creosote build up in the chimney and/or improper heat shielding. Both are easily remedied.

You can see my wood stove on this page: http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f27/ar...tml#post110163

Pictures of the installation are earlier in the thread.
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Old 06-23-2015, 04:18 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses, Nat and Jatzy. It is a full-sized school bus, yeah.

Cool setup, Jatzy, I like the metal heat shields.
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Old 06-23-2015, 05:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazty View Post
You'll find that a boiler system will take up 2-3 times as much space when you counter in all the components, but it's an extremely versatile system.

You know what - now that I have pondered on this more - I bet if you were a champ at fabrication you could build a boiler setup that takes up as much or even less space than a typical wood stove. If everything was supremely insulated so that you needed zero wall clearance and the boiler was above the stove (which makes sense) most of the components could fit in about as much space as a wood stove + the necessary clearances. The radiator system would take up a good bit of space with the heater cores and fans. If it were in-floor heating only there wouldn't be much additional space requirements.

My wood stove has 8.5" clearance to the wall. With the stainless steel heat shield and the concrete board behind that I could have even reduced those clearances (the concrete board only ever gets slightly warm). Entire wood stove "closet" is 28.5"x25"x48". Can anyone beat that with a boiler setup (here's looking at you, Nat)?
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Old 06-23-2015, 09:38 PM   #6
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There is so much that can be done with this I don't know where to start sharing ideas.

Much of my thoughts and intentions have already been shared in many threads here on skoolie.net.

Nat
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