Heating option

parbob1parbob1 Registered Users Posts: 30 ✭✭
As I’ve search and read the forum, I ve come to realize my old wood furnace is not a viable option. Having 8kw of battery capacity and the blower on wood furnace quickly eats that up. ( 345 watt draw from battery) I want to install solar panels soon but, it’s a question of we’re to spend the $ first. It will cost me about $1k in gas this winter too keep my generator running if I stay with my,current heating.
My heating options are wood,propane and wood pellets or a combination of the three.
My question
1) wood wise pellet stove. 👍👎?
2) propane furnace or wall mount unit. ( has to be vented) Rinnai?
3 good old fashion wood stove.

I should clarify, it’s a cabin/office well insulated 1600sq feet need to keep cabin at 45-50 F.
Thanks Bob

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Comments

  • mcgivormcgivor Solar Expert Posts: 3,065 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Masonary heaters are probably the best at maintaining a constant temperature without having to feed a fire continually, worth looking into.
    https://insteading.com/blog/masonry-heater/
    1500W, 6× Schutten 250W Poly panels , Schneider MPPT 60 150 CC, Schneider SW 2524 inverter, 400Ah LFP 24V nominal battery bank 
    Second system 1890W  3 × 300W No name brand poly, 3×330 Sunsolar Poly panels, Morningstar TS 60 PWM controller, no name 2000W inverter 400Ah FLA 24V nominal used for water pumping and day time air conditioning.  
    5Kw Yanmar clone single cylinder air cooled diesel generator for rare emergency charging and welding.
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,370 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Sadly, as a owner of a real masonry heater, they are not an add on item, the house is designed around the heater.

    and we love our heater, coldest days, we have 2 fires, one morning, one evening. each fire is batch fed, and can have up to 2 five gallons of wood loaded at a time. The masonry absorbs the intense heat (the fires leave a smidge of white ash on the inside) and releases it over 24 hours of time. We consume about 3 cords of wood a season, only heat source, in inland Mendocino County at 1,400' elevation

    The closest thing you can get to a purpose built one, is a soapstone stove called Vermont Bun Baker
    https://www.vermontwoodstove.com/vermont-bun-baker/ that will have some thermal mass that is useful.

    There is also a new brand out using Silicon Carbide panels, called www.eccostove.com but not apparent it's useable as a cooker

    These are NOT rocket stoves, and will not burn out in 3 years.

    better sources:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/masonryheaterusers
    http://www.mha-net.org/ & http://heatkit.com

    our heater
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.383468711726588&type=1&l=c762d10b5f
    (The refractory core, is only about 1/4 of the completed masonry heater mass )


    There also used to be a brand of wood burner called Meridian , but not in business anymore
    http://hearth.com/images/uploads/meridian.pdf

    So, best is freestanding, lots of thermal mass, and plumbed into the existing flue


    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • wellbuiltwellbuilt Solar Expert Posts: 391 ✭✭✭
    I like a old fashion wood burner , logs in heat out ,
    If you are there to run the stove it is no problem .
    My 3500sq foot house hold heat for 24hr in 20o weather .
    My cabin is 2600 sf cabin and I heat it with a stove from tractor supply .
    I will have in floor radiant heat when I live there full time.
    The propane heaters are nice and some models run with out a blower .
    I’m thinking both a small propane heater that would kick on at 50o and a wood burner when you are there .
    I don’t like pellets you still need power to run the stove and you have to buy the fuel.
    I allso like the masonary mas stove and almost built one but couldn’t find the space.
    The modern woodstoves really throw some Heat my cabin sees -15/18o for weeks at a time and it takes 12 hr to warm the place up enough to take a jacket off .
    Out back  flex power one  with out back 3648 inverter fm80 charge controler  flex net  mate 16 gc215 battery’s 4425 Watts solar .
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,994 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2018 #5
    I'm fine with a wood stove, but I'm here to stoke the fire every 8 hours or so...

    If you don't mind propane, a direct vent propane heater might be the cheapest (up front) option. They can be had for as little as $500 and come complete with a direct vent to the outside. They do require something like a 9" hole! It's a closed system with air brought in for combustion coming in and the exhaust going out.

    This one is too small for what you need, but it's the cheapest and requires no electric. Some have blowers and require some electric (I think, though perhaps they can run without...) Rinnai makes much larger ones at a higher price of course...

    https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200631838_200631838

    To be clear, these vent at the wall, just outside the building from the heater.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • jonrjonr Solar Expert Posts: 1,296 ✭✭✭✭
    You could get a small propane generator and recover the heat from it.

    I am available for custom hardware/firmware development

  • parbob1parbob1 Registered Users Posts: 30 ✭✭
    Thank you all. I will probably have propane fired wall unit installed and then use wood to bring the building up to tempature.     Waiting for a price on an Eccostove.  

     SW Conext 4048
     AGS
    Combox
    16- 235 6V batteries 
    Honda 6500 gen
  • parbob1parbob1 Registered Users Posts: 30 ✭✭
    Don’t think I’ll be getting an Eccostove.  They look like wonderful units but $$$$
     SW Conext 4048
     AGS
    Combox
    16- 235 6V batteries 
    Honda 6500 gen
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,370 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Carefully weigh that initial cost, against annual cost of 2x the amount of wood, and much less maintenance  I'm down to flue cleaning every three years and the sweep says I'm not using the heater enough !
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,662 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Wood Stoves are great! We have not ever had to clean our flue and it is inspected. It is 14 years old and burns only oak hardwood.

    Most of the cold season we run a heat pump. Only when it is cold/stormy, 30's down do we burn a fire in the am and pm.

    The home size, insulation quality, and flue length are really the key for how much work a wood stove is. It certainly is cheaper than going to the Gym :)

    Buy a new wood stove! They are far better now than the old ones, if you buy decent quality!!!

    There is so much wood in the Sierra now because of the bark beetle kill, they almost pay you to take it. They certainly are not charging for it!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • Graham ParkinsonGraham Parkinson Registered Users Posts: 48 ✭✭
    If you get a propane direct vent wall heater, make sure you get one with a "mV" thermostat.  Lots of the cheaper units use an expansion bulb type thermostat.   That type of setup doesn't allow you to use a digital thermostat, the expansion bulb units typically just have "High and Low type settings".  Our 22,000 BTU Williams wall heater has a mV thermostat heats our 1500 square foot cabin (very well insulated, in the PNW) well enough when we are not there.  The beauty of an accurate and programmable digital thermostat is that you can put the thermostat where you want to protect your plumbing, set it at just above freezing and not have to worry about your place while away.  A wood stove with those thermoelectric powered stovetop circulation fans on it is a wonderful way to heat when you are there.  Having a straight flue on the wood stove chimney is a big plus (draws better, burns cleaner and is easier to clean).

    Offgrid in cloudy PNW

    MacGyver'ed museum collection of panels, castoff batteries and generators - ready for state of art system install ....

  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 766 ✭✭✭✭
    Just get an unvented propane wall heater.
    A wall heater costs around $250, a 2 stage regulator is around $50, a new 100lb bottle costs $140 and around $50 to fill it.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • parbob1parbob1 Registered Users Posts: 30 ✭✭
    Yes I have lots of wood also all hardwood mostly red oak and ash.  I am going to buy a new wood stove.  The Eccostove was just out of my financial comfort range..  MV thermostats look interesting thanks.

    my rant
    i will never buy and unvented Heater they pump out water and carbon monoxide.  Had a scare long ago, wood stove, propane refrigerator and unvented propane wall unit.  Ate all oxygen in the cabin. My detector number were off the scale.
       What ever I put In Now will burn outside air.
    bob
     SW Conext 4048
     AGS
    Combox
    16- 235 6V batteries 
    Honda 6500 gen
  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 766 ✭✭✭✭
    I wouldn't put one in a small area.
    I have one in a big living room that is open to the whole house. 
    It's set pretty low, just there to keep the room from getting freezing cold when the wood stove is not going. 

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,370 ✭✭✭✭✭
    parbob1 said:
    ......
    my rant     i will never buy and unvented Heater they pump out water and carbon monoxide.  Had a scare long ago, wood stove, propane refrigerator and unvented propane wall unit.  Ate all oxygen in the cabin. My detector number were off the scale.       What ever I put In Now will burn outside air.   bob
    if it has an outside air inlet, you MUST have a flue for exhaust.  
    As for carbon monoxide - a properly adjusted blue flame heater will not produce CO. That's what every single gas stove and range is, a blue flame burner, and they don't set of the CO alarms unless they are maladjusted.  Even the Mr Buddy heaters with the ceramic plates are not CO producers. 
     If it ate all the O2 in the cabin, you must be using one of these:

    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • parbob1parbob1 Registered Users Posts: 30 ✭✭
    Thanks but I was using the magic 8 ball ..lol
     SW Conext 4048
     AGS
    Combox
    16- 235 6V batteries 
    Honda 6500 gen
  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 766 ✭✭✭✭
    Propane flame heaters typically have a little yellow tip to the flame.
    Natural gas burns pure blue that I have seen.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,497 admin
    edited October 2018 #18
    In California, ventless gas heaters have not been allowed for quite a while... Here is a map of where they are allowed or not (western states may allow in pre-1980 era homes (supply missing like. -Bill).

    http://www.ventless-gas-fireplaces.com/ventless_products_code_information.html

    Mostly allowed (unrestricted) in south eastern and eastern United States and Alaska+Hawaii.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,954 ✭✭✭✭✭
    When I visit the cabin in winter, the inside temp is typically sub-zero °F.  It takes about an hour to get useful heat from the woodstove (enamel plates over steel box, relatively high thermal mass for a woodstove), and would take days to warm the cabin to much above freezing.  To get a faster start to warming, I currently turn on all burners/oven on the propane range, and run a non-vented portable heater.

    The heater puts out ~70mbtu on high, and the range maybe another 50 or so.  Running it for an hour or so gets the warming process going, but also produces an amazing amount of water vapour.  Walls, windows, etc are literally dripping wet (when they get warm enough).  Definitely not a good way to heat in regular use.

    At some point I might spring for an oil furnace or wood/oil hybrid (eg Napoleon 150mbtu hybrid).  Oil could likely burn diesel which would help with keeping generator fuel fresh.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,497 admin
    edited October 2018 #20
    Sorry, was missing like on where ventless heaters are legal:

    http://www.ventless-gas-fireplaces.com/ventless_products_code_information.html

    -Bill

    PS: Add that for every 1 gallon of gasoline burned, it produces 1.5 gallons of water (vapor).

    Burning propane/diesel gives around 0.8/1.0 gallons of water per gallon of fuel.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • jonrjonr Solar Expert Posts: 1,296 ✭✭✭✭
    Even if they didn't generate building destroying moisture, breathing the pollution from a vent-less heater is crazy.

    I am available for custom hardware/firmware development

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,497 admin
    Living with natural gas fueled stoves and dryers... Natural gas leaves a very sticky/difficult to clean residue all over the walls, cabinets, etc. in the kitchen. I sure would not want a large unvented heater putting this into my home (and why we install fume/smoke hoods over stoves in old homes to get rid of the fumes). I could easily smell the pilot lights from old stoves burning 24x7 (our old family stove had 4 pilots).

    Disclaimer--A quick search seems to indicate that the sticky walls may just be from cooling oils and simmering sauces with poor ventilation... It was a mix of people with electric ranges that never had a problem to those that had the same problem--So the sticky film, not sure what it is caused by.

    I was very happy when electronic ignition became standard.

    For dryers, commercial laundries usually use natural gas dryers for colored cloths and electric dryers for whites (to prevent whites from turning gray from combustion products).

    -Bill


    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,662 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I have heard that about natural gas but have never noticed it with 20+ years of a propane dryer. Maybe it is the mountain air ;)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • HorseflyHorsefly Registered Users Posts: 360 ✭✭✭✭
    Aside from the OP's choice list, no one has mentioned a pellet stove. I don't have one, but we have been looking at them for our cabin. I've found a couple that consume something around 300 watts for a couple of minutes during startup, then 100 watts for the fan and auger. Does anyone use these with solar?

    SInce our cabin is really not used in winter, we only worry about the cold for around two months of the year.  We have a fireplace that heats most of the main floor, at least until it goes out.  Two of the bedrooms are in the basement, which gets pretty cold during the night. We'd probably only use a pellet stove down there for only 6-8 hours per 24-hour day, and I think we can probably come up with a timer to limit it.
    Off-grid cabin: 6 x Canadian Solar CSK-280M PV panels, Schneider XW-MPPT60-150 Charge Controller, Schneider CSW4024 Inverter/Charger, Schneider SCP, 4 x Vmax XTR12-155 12V, 155AH batteries in a 2x2 24V 310AH bank.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,662 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hi Steve, I think...  We use them when the owner can't move firewood anymore. Large systems can handle the power but you probably are going to have to get creative. A caregiver gets the job loading and lugging the pellets, among other things. It really sucks getting old.....
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,370 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Pellet stoves have electrical costs - ignitors, blowers, augers....
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • HorseflyHorsefly Registered Users Posts: 360 ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2018 #27
    Thanks @Dave Angelini and @mike95490.

    We are not quite to the point of not being able to move wood yet. My siblings/partners in the cabin are enamored with a pellet stove, and I'm not sure I can convince them otherwise.  I have made the case of how much electricity a pellet stove will consume.  Even if we limit it to 8 hours per day, even the most efficient pellet stove I can find would be the biggest WH consumer in the cabin, by far.  Maybe I can talk them into a wood stove, but I'll have to really work at it.

    Steve (you remembered right Dave!)
    Off-grid cabin: 6 x Canadian Solar CSK-280M PV panels, Schneider XW-MPPT60-150 Charge Controller, Schneider CSW4024 Inverter/Charger, Schneider SCP, 4 x Vmax XTR12-155 12V, 155AH batteries in a 2x2 24V 310AH bank.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,497 admin
    Look at fuel availability over time... A pellet stove, you are tied (pretty much) to one form of fuel. If it becomes difficult to get (supply and demand, becomes "unpopular", pass another law about fireplaces and wood burning stoves dries up your local pellet sources, etc.), you might be orphaned 10-20 years out.

    Anything that runs 12+ hours per day becomes a major energy issue... 100 Watts * 8 hours = 800 WH per day... A cabin can probably run LED lightning, cell phone charging, some laptop usage, on ~1,000 WH per day--Get upwards of 3,300 WH per day, and you can run an AC refrigerator, washing machine, well pump, laptop+LED TV pretty easily (still lots of conservation).

    No right or wrong answer, just what works best for you and the family.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • parbob1parbob1 Registered Users Posts: 30 ✭✭
    Well said.  
     SW Conext 4048
     AGS
    Combox
    16- 235 6V batteries 
    Honda 6500 gen
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 3,954 ✭✭✭✭✭
    If the heat is for 6-8hrs, it's worth noting a properly sized modern woodstove could probably just be loaded once or maybe twice for the period.  Unlike older stoves or open fireplaces, they don't need constant stoking and loading.  They will just burn down to ash unless dampered down too far.

    Not quite as automatic as a pellet stove, but basically once going and loaded, you leave the woodstove alone until down to some glowing embers.  Depending on stove size, that could easily be 6-8hrs.
    Off-grid.  
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,662 ✭✭✭✭✭
    A well installed and quality wood stove can just run continuously. The problem with doing this is you will need to maintain a good clean flue as it involves using the damper. The home will get too hot.

    By burning to ash 2 times a day, am fire and a pm fire, when it is really cold, the flue will stay clean if you burn hardwood.
    My grandfather taught me that.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

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