Woodburning for everything. Cooking, Heating and Hot Water

Solar energy, wind turbines whatever it is then here is your place to talk about it.
Jonners
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:48 am

Woodburning for everything. Cooking, Heating and Hot Water

Post: #256811 Jonners
Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:02 pm

Ex Adman trying to turn Conspicuous Consumption to Wood Burning Sustainable Eco Warrior. Can it be done?

I am in the process of buying a cottage in East Sussex and since it has no heating or cooking but has land and trees, I thought that I should try to be sustainable and I believe , carbon neutral, which even as I write it, sounds very unlike me!

I have been researching it and I seem to get different answers wherever I turn.

I have looked at Rayburn, Wamsler, Sandyford and Esse (I have a gas one currently). It seems to me that the Esse is the best, seems to be designed for the purpose, ie wood burning.

I also want to add in a wood burner and solar. I do not plan to have any oil or gas. Just electricity, I think candles and lard lamps may be taking sustainability a bit far. I also do not intend to have any other cooking stove.

It seems that the priorities are. To not burn the house down,to not blow up the boiler (and house) , be able to cook, keep warm and clean.

Cooking is most important as I cook many things in my current Esse and most of the time. I also use my Oz-pig!

And not to spend daft amounts of money , I am very happy to invest in the sustainable future and agree I should but everything I am told or read tells me it will cost a fortune. It is not surprising I wake at three in the morning in a cold funk , telling my wife we are having oil! (no gas anyway).

Luckily after a load of coffee, I go back to wood and spend the entire day on the Internet or phoning people, who either frighten me or confuse me, sometime I think it is on purpose.

I think I want or need an Esse, Thermastore (not sure how big or what make) A new efficient wood burner for the inglenook and some solar stuff for the roof.

It is a small three bed cottage, with a fairly open plan ground floor. I plan to heat the Kitchen with the Esse, the downstairs with the Woodburner and use the rads in the hall stairs and bedrooms. I am not sure how many rads I can run.

Summer confuses me, as some people tell me that I have to have the heating on if I want to cook, else I will blow up East Sussex.

Any help most welcome.

I am thinking of creating a web site or blog for the entire adventure, does anyone think that would be a good idea or even want to contribute?

User avatar
boboff
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1809
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:29 am
Location: Gunnislake,Cornwall

Re: Woodburning for everything. Cooking, Heating and Hot Wat

Post: #256813 boboff
Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:26 pm

I like Blogs about Clown I could be a dirty spammer, please let one of the moderators know about this post, so I'll say no on that one!

As for the house, I would say really start at the other end, and focus on getting it well insulated, do not just the loft, but floors, walls and windows and doors. Money spent here will not be wasted, you will waste money finding the right heating solution.

Start with a Woodburner in the front room, I reckon cheapest and best option is a Pot Bellied one. Focus on making sure the flu's are all well sealed and the junctions into the chimney are water tight. If thats the only thing you do in the first year, thats a start.

Honestly use the time to research not on what you could have but also whether you think you will be able to stick cutting, splitting and stacking enough wood to cope.

Use small electric rads in the room and an emersion for heat in the first instance. Get a £30 second hand cooker and a microwave, that will do for your cooking.

Depending on how you get on with chopping wood, you need to get a couple of years ahead of yourself, and as an ex office waller, it's hard work. Then look at a Solid Fuel Aga/Rayburn/cheap Chinese import with a back boiler big enough to do a hot water tank and two or three Rads. £10 grand later you'll have something that will be a bitch to use, and still means the house is cold when you get up in the morning. Then dream of New builds with central heating.

Or not, you might enjoy it.

I am joking a bit, but mean the part about financially commiting too much in the early days, and getting local people you trust to do as much for you as you can, as the whole building regs and other regs will add thousand onto the installation. Plus you'll have got all the draughts sorted out and the first thing they will want you to do is punch a filthy great hole in your wall for a Vent!

With Solid fuel heating I suppose as with all heating, the heat takes weeks to build up in the house, so you have to give it time, and keep it draught free and well insulated.

If you are a novice and not willing to splash silly cash, then lifes too short to punish yourself day one, get some comfort, work towards your goal.
If you install Radiators and a Central Heating Boiler with Oil, then just try and design it so you could cheaply add in a second source of heat at a future date. You have then always got the Oil as a back up for when your log pile has got Wet, it's frozen all together and adding logs to the fire puts the thing out! I think in the end this is more sustainable as you are less likely to get fed up and give up altogether, plus you haven't wasted alound of energy buying "new green technology" that is over priced, not fit for purpose, and totally useless.
Millymollymandy wrote:Bloody smilies, always being used. I hate them and they should be banned.
No I won't use a smiley because I've decided to turn into Boboff, as he's turned all nice all of a sudden. Grumble grumble.

http://boboffs.blogspot.co.uk/

grahamhobbs
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1212
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:39 pm
Location: London

Re: Woodburning for everything. Cooking, Heating and Hot Wat

Post: #256892 grahamhobbs
Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:30 am

How much wood do you have? I have just returned from France where a stair (1cu.m) of seasoned wood costs around £50 and a small house can use around 50 cu.m over the winter for modest heating and a some cooking. Not sure exactly of the figures but that amount of wood requires about 1000sqm of woodland to be chopped down each year. It is a significant bit of work, days and days with a chain saw.
So yes spend your money on insulating your house to a high standard first. Also have a look in France for wood burning ovens, they have lots of cheap and efficient stoves.

User avatar
Thomzo
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 4274
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:42 pm
Location: Swindon, South West England

Re: Woodburning for everything. Cooking, Heating and Hot Wat

Post: #256922 Thomzo
Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:19 pm

Modern log burners can be very efficient and you only need to stack them every couple of days. I lived in a house with a Rayburn and a useless gas central heating system so we often relied on the Rayburn as our only form of heating. We did buy logs but also cut and split our own. It was a lot of hard work but what would you be doing otherwise? Watching TV? We shared the job with friends and neighbours, taking down their unwanted trees for them, which made it more fun.

Amazingly, Boboff's post is pretty sound. Insulate first. Then find some form of electric heating as backup. Modern storage heaters are really quite efficient and would help to heat the house in the mornings or when you are away. If you are generating solar then you can probably justify them by offset.

If you are using the kitchen range as your only form of cooking and hot water then you will need to have it lit in the summer and, if it's run too hot, it might explode. Either, let it go out (the water should stay warm for the following day) or invest in an electric shower and a combination microwave.

Zoe
Think globally, shop locally
Check out my blog at http://designedbyzoe.blogspot.com/
http://www.thomzo.co.uk

User avatar
boboff
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1809
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:29 am
Location: Gunnislake,Cornwall

Re: Woodburning for everything. Cooking, Heating and Hot Wat

Post: #256942 boboff
Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:47 am

Why amazingly Zoe, a boy could get a complex!
Millymollymandy wrote:Bloody smilies, always being used. I hate them and they should be banned.
No I won't use a smiley because I've decided to turn into Boboff, as he's turned all nice all of a sudden. Grumble grumble.

http://boboffs.blogspot.co.uk/

User avatar
demi
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1124
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 6:03 pm
latitude: 41° 50' N
longitude: 22° 00' E
Location: Prilep, Macedonia

Re: Woodburning for everything. Cooking, Heating and Hot Wat

Post: #256945 demi
Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:32 am

hi there,

just a quick post ane i didnt have time to read everythind so sorry if this has already been mentioned but,

i noticed you said you dont want to have any other cooker other than the wood one. i would recomend having a summer cooker thats not on solid fule as it will be too hot in the summer and a waste of wood to burn it to cook your lunch when its 30 degrees outside.
just a thought.
we have a wood burning cooker that heats the whole kitchen/living area and we use the electric one in the summer.
Tim Minchin - The Good Book
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kr1I3mBojc0

'If you just close your eyes and block your ears, to the acumulated knowlage of the last 2000 years,
then morally guess what your off the hook, and thank Christ you only have to read one book'

oldjerry
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 2101
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:57 am

Re: Woodburning for everything. Cooking, Heating and Hot Wat

Post: #256947 oldjerry
Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:56 am

Re the summer,if it's that hot,cook outside(pizza oven etc).

User avatar
demi
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1124
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 6:03 pm
latitude: 41° 50' N
longitude: 22° 00' E
Location: Prilep, Macedonia

Re: Woodburning for everything. Cooking, Heating and Hot Wat

Post: #256948 demi
Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:07 am

yes but if you are burning wood outside in the summer when its hot then you are wasting heat produced from the wood. burning wood gives off lots of heat and i think it is more efficient to burn it in the winter so it is doing 2 jobs, cooking and heating, instead of only 1. maybe its still better than using electricity, it just seams to me like its wasted heat energy and you could save the wood for the colder months when you need to heat your house, instead of heating your garden in the summer.

but also i want to bulid a pizza oven and big BBQ outside in the garden for the summer :)
Tim Minchin - The Good Book
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kr1I3mBojc0

'If you just close your eyes and block your ears, to the acumulated knowlage of the last 2000 years,
then morally guess what your off the hook, and thank Christ you only have to read one book'

oldjerry
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 2101
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:57 am

Re: Woodburning for everything. Cooking, Heating and Hot Wat

Post: #256951 oldjerry
Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:21 am

You don't use,or 'waste' a lot of wood in a pizza oven.we use ours for all sorts of cooking(no...not grilling....)

Personally I wouldn't consider using wood as a primary source of heating\cooking unless you have a free\or vv cheap supply on hand.I don't really understand why people buy in logs for a wood burner when there is loads of fallen wood\ free pallets\skips to to ransacked etc.etc. ..but each to their own...

User avatar
contadina
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 807
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:11 pm
Location: Puglia, Italy

Re: Woodburning for everything. Cooking, Heating and Hot Wat

Post: #256952 contadina
Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:29 pm

I'm with OJ, the economics don't really stack up unless you have a ready supply of free or cheap wood. I'm fortunate in that our olive and almond prunings provide enough wood for all of our heating, hot water and cooking all year round.

We do have a two-ring gas hob, however so I can put the kettle on without having to light a stove or for those days when you fancy a change from BBQ or only need two pans. Although I cook most of our bread in either the pizza or range ovens during the winter and large batches in the pizza oven during the summer, we have a lot of hungry helpxers who easily get through a loaf a day, so I bought a bread oven last year to ensure that we never run out. I almost got a halogen oven as they are very efficient but decided against it, as getting hold of replacement bulbs in southern Italy would be a nightmare. They would be a great summer option for those in Northern Europe and other more cosmopolitan regions of the world though :icon_smile: .

If you were hoping to provide all your cooking, heating and hot water with wood, I'd ensure you have a solar panel too for the summer, because lighting a woodburner to heat water in the summer would be pretty daft.

User avatar
The Riff-Raff Element
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1650
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:27 pm
Location: South Vendée, France
Contact:

Re: Woodburning for everything. Cooking, Heating and Hot Wat

Post: #256965 The Riff-Raff Element
Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:14 pm

contadina wrote:I'm with OJ, the economics don't really stack up unless you have a ready supply of free or cheap wood. I'm fortunate in that our olive and almond prunings provide enough wood for all of our heating, hot water and cooking all year round.



You know, I'm not sure I agree about the economics. In fact, I'm sure I don't.

When we put in the big stove that does our water, heating and cooking (during the winter) and solar for water during the summer, I did the calculations. With good hardwoods at €50 per cubic meter (which is what we pay, more or less, once our scavenge is taken into account), we'd need heating oil at 30 cents per litre to break even on a cost basis. At the moment, heating oil here costs about €1 per litre, and the only way is up!

User avatar
Thomzo
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 4274
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:42 pm
Location: Swindon, South West England

oyRe: Woodburning for everything. Cooking, Heating and Hot W

Post: #256966 Thomzo
Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:07 pm

boboff wrote:Why amazingly Zoe, a boy could get a complex!

Sorry, Bob, just teasing, honest. Some good points in this thread. A good range won't put out a lot of heat ifbeing used for cooking and hot water and used properly. In the UK you can have some pretty hot wet days when you won't want to be outside cooking.
Think globally, shop locally
Check out my blog at http://designedbyzoe.blogspot.com/
http://www.thomzo.co.uk

User avatar
contadina
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 807
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:11 pm
Location: Puglia, Italy

Re: Woodburning for everything. Cooking, Heating and Hot Wat

Post: #256969 contadina
Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:42 am

The Riff-Raff Element wrote:
contadina wrote:I'm with OJ, the economics don't really stack up unless you have a ready supply of free or cheap wood. I'm fortunate in that our olive and almond prunings provide enough wood for all of our heating, hot water and cooking all year round.



You know, I'm not sure I agree about the economics. In fact, I'm sure I don't.

When we put in the big stove that does our water, heating and cooking (during the winter) and solar for water during the summer, I did the calculations. With good hardwoods at €50 per cubic meter (which is what we pay, more or less, once our scavenge is taken into account), we'd need heating oil at 30 cents per litre to break even on a cost basis. At the moment, heating oil here costs about €1 per litre, and the only way is up!


I probably should qualify my statement, as you are right, wood is still cheaper, but it's probably worth reminding people that the price of logs is rising in line with rising energy costs and will continue to rise as more are installed, putting further strain on the supply chain.

oldjerry
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 2101
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:57 am

Re: Woodburning for everything. Cooking, Heating and Hot Wat

Post: #256970 oldjerry
Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:25 am

Jon,I'm sure you're right.It's more that I don't get why so many have wood delivered when there's so much free stuff knocking about.(fair play,you can spend your cash on what ever but the great thing about ' wood power' is you can substitute your time for cash,which is fundamentally 'ish' innit?..)

User avatar
boboff
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1809
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:29 am
Location: Gunnislake,Cornwall

Re: Woodburning for everything. Cooking, Heating and Hot Wat

Post: #256972 boboff
Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:28 am

It's nearly a tenner to fill a 5litre petrol tank nowadays, with oil included. Even with free all fallen wood it's not free as such, even with time being donated.

I like the idea of a bi product, ie prunings being your source of heat, thats cool!
Millymollymandy wrote:Bloody smilies, always being used. I hate them and they should be banned.
No I won't use a smiley because I've decided to turn into Boboff, as he's turned all nice all of a sudden. Grumble grumble.

http://boboffs.blogspot.co.uk/


Return to “Alternative Energy”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests