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Old 04-23-2011, 12:49 PM   #41
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I've read several articles about these massive stone structures and you can heat a house with minimal wood, around 1.5 cord for a winter.
You can't violate the laws of physics. You need a certain amount of BTUs/hour to keep a certain structure at a certain temperature; for a given burning efficiency, that requires a certain amount of wood.

The thing your refer to is called a Russian fireplace; the idea is that the house is built around this massive thing. There are two advantages, because the enormous thermal mass means that you needn't have a fire continuously burning. The idea is you burn an intense fire perhaps once a day. This is obviously more convenient. The fire is also likely to be more efficient than a slower smoldering fire. With the advent of modern catalytic stoves, that can burn extremely efficiently at low burn rates over long periods of time, these advantages are obviated. It still seems like a nice idea though, if you can afford the cost and space, although I would still want a catalyst to maximize the burning efficiency.

Originally Posted by veremchuka View Post
... but that is true about soapstone stoves vs cast iron or steel plate stoves. ... a soapstone stove will radiate heat longer and more evenly than a cast iron or steel plate stove.
If the "that" that is "true" is that it will use less wood, I say that's bogus for the reasons cited above.

The soapstone should radiate heat longer though, as its specific heat is about twice that of iron/steel, and thus stores (and later releases) twice as much energy when heated to a given temperature. Some of the same effect can be achieved by having masonry near your metal stove.

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Old 04-23-2011, 01:02 PM   #42
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We have a Jotul fireplace insert in the living room, although not a big one.
With all the trees on our lot, we'll probably never run out of wood to harvest, since we only go through a little over one face cord in the average winter.

We keep the house pretty cool, with the thermostat generally 64 in the winter, 62 at night. That's where we're most comfortable. When the fireplace is going, the furnace hardly comes on.

Like Rusty, I enjoy it largely because it's such an efficient use of the dead wood. The fact that it saves us money is a bonus.

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