Contest: How Much Wood for Outdoor Wood Boiler?

February 1, 2013


How many days to burn the row pictured?  The dimensions are about five feet tall, by sixteen feet long, by sixteen inch logs.  This is about eighty percent of a cord of wood which is 128 cubic feet, the industry standard for firewood.

It’s mostly dry oak, although it was rained on the day before I took this picture.  And now another winter storm has dumped snow on it, but it still burns well.

You can look at this old post for hints.  Also notice the changing color of the lawn.

I’ll start burning this row February  1st.  You have a week to guess in the comments.  The prize for the closest guess is negotiable.  In the past I have given gift certificates to Kiva, and meat.  Good luck!

I hope my old friends guess.  I also hope some of the newer visitors will guess and introduce yourself.  Ever since Bruce King put my blog on the sidebar of his excellent blog, I’ve had more international visitors.

Bruce raises chickens and hogs on some highly fertile bottom ground in the state of Washington.  He also recently purchased a confinement dairy farm.

Firewood and Snow

Click on this link if you want to read more about my Outdoor Wood Boiler.  Below is a photo of the ash pan.  That is the amount of ash after two days, which is about how often I remove the ash.

Ash Pan

Outdoor Wood Boiler III

November 24, 2010

The firepit.  I haven’t let the fire go out since I started it about a month ago.  I’ve gone 14 hours between fills.

The hot water goes to a heat exchanger above the water heater, first.  I’m hoping this will save on my electric bill.

The hot water then travels to a radiator which was placed in the plenum of my original furnace.  The fan from the furnace blows air across the radiator when heat is needed.

The blue pipe is something which is new to me,  Pex pipe.  I appreciated how fast and easy it is to work with.

Now I just need more of this!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Outdoor Wood Boiler II

November 23, 2010


Outdoor wood boiler, ready to unload.  Mel uses his bobcat to set it into place.  At the front of the bobcat is the water line in black, plastic pipe. 

There are two water lines within the black pipe.  Incoming in red, and outgoing in blue.  The hot water continually circulates via a pump.  The water lines are also covered in insulation within the black pipe.  It was a real pain to drill through the basement wall.

The water pump is on the left.  Bottom center is the fan, which kicks in when the temperature of the water decreases to a certain level.  I can adjust the temperature of the water.  Right now, the fan shuts off when the water temperature reaches 145 degrees F.

Outdoor Wood Boiler I

November 22, 2010

I purchased and helped install an outdoor wood boiler to heat our house.  I purchased the 250 gallon model from Nature’s Comfort, mainly due to the sales and service of Mel Flogel.  It wasn’t cheap.  The basic unit was $6500, but including everything pushes the cost close to $10,000.  It will take a few years to pay back over the heating oil I used before, but I’ll feel better, keeping the house warmer for my family.

First I had to pour a pad of concrete.

Then I had to dig a four foot deep trench for the water lines.  I rented a bobcat with a trencher attatchment from K&L Bobcat.

Citygirlfriend said, “Why didn’t you ask for a person to run it?  They have to deliver it right?  It probably wouldn’t have been much more expensive.”

“Because I want to run it.”

I figure if they are willing to turn me loose on a $50,000+ machine with very little instruction, I better take advantage.  When will I get another opportunity to run this bad boy?

It was tough-going by the house.  I think they backfilled with rock along the foundation.  After I got farther away from the house, though, it was easy.  Rich, black dirt, all the way down.

The one thing the trencher doesn’t do well, is turn.  So I had to lift the trencher, and manuever the bobcat on the curves.  Unfortunately, I found the trench on one of my manuevers and got the bobcat stuck.  No worries, Dad got a tractor and pulled me out.

I’ll have a couple more posts on this subject.

How Much Wood?

April 25, 2011

How much wood does my outdoor wood boiler use?  Make a guess and you’ll have a chance to win.

I cut up a medium-sized tree.  I started burning it on a Sunday afternoon.  The weather was blustery and in the 30’s.  We kept the house at 75F, and the door to the uninsulated porch open most of the time.

I’ll show a few pictures of the cutting process, and you’ll get a feel for the size of the tree.

This elm tree died and fell over into a field, so it needed to be cut up before planting.  I used the bale carrier on the tractor to apply upward pressure so my chainsaw wouldn’t be pinched as I cut down through the trunk, separating the tree from the roots.

I pulled the tree by the wood boiler.  Shepherd held goggles over his eyes as I cut it up.

I use the bale carrier to lift the tree off the ground to make it easier to cut.

How long do you think this tree lasted?  Make your guess in days, and put it in the comments.  Closest one wins a $25 gift certificate to Kiva.  One entry per person.  No duplicate days, first one with the right number wins.  Good luck!

I’m Stuck

February 1, 2011

School started two hours late today, let out an hour early.  My 4-wheel drive SUV made it half-way down my quarter-mile lane before the snow proved too deep.  My Dad pulled me out with the tractor, and pulled us back in.  It’s supposed to start snowing again tonight, with wind.  If you want to visit, and you don’t have a snowmobile, you’re going to be walking.  We’re stuck.

I’m stuck with this blog, and having trouble getting restarted.  There is a reason I post every week, and it’s not because of popular demand.  It’s how I’m wired. I like starting every day with chores.

And so, I’m publicly announcing my intention to post every week, even though I still feel stuck.

I think this blog works best when I’m answering a question.  Some questions I want to answer:

How much wood does my outdoor wood boiler use?

How much fuel does my farm use?

What is the feed efficiency of my hogs from 250 to 300 lbs.?

Why can hogs digest acorns without processing?

How long did the “wild west” last?  Side note: I think a major contributor to the wild west was post-traumatic stress disorder from the civil war veterans.

Another thing I want to look at more closely is how a square foot of land changes throughout the year.  I think I know, but forcing myself to look every week, and take a picture, may prove eye-opening.

Until next week, stay warm.