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No chimney!
10 May 2013, 20:55,
#1
No chimney!
Please, I need help. I've come up against a problem so basic it makes a nonsense of all my prepping, and I definitely need wiser heads than mine to help me through it.

I live in a smokeless zone. No problem there, no-one's going to be enforcing it post SHTF, but my house (like all the others in the village) has no working chimney. There is one, but it's blocked and bricked over, and I can't persuade my husband to have it opened up. He has a good point, since it's stuck weirdly on a corner of an extension, where any fire would be so close to the adjoining wall and window it would be bound to singe the curtains. Opening it would cost in excess of £1,000 and would massively reduce the value of the house.

So what do I do?

I plan to bug in, and mine is otherwise a very good location - large village on high ground, less than 1,000 population, near enough woods and streams and lakes to be viable, but not so close to farms as to make an obvious target. But I don't see how we can survive here for long without a chimney.

Cooking I can deal with outside (camping stoves plus brick built barbecue I'm adapting to double as an oven) and even a little inside (haybox plus meths-fuelled fondue set designed for indoor use), but it's the heating element I'm worried about. I accept that after SHTF we're all going to be colder, and have stocked up on thermal underwear etc, but if there's no heat source in the house at all then surely the walls and furnishings will get damp, and that's not good for health.

I've looked at various options. The first is that in the event of disaster we just bash the fireplace open anyway - but it's been closed for at least ten years, and apart from anything else we have jackdaws in the area. That chimney will need thorough unblocking before it can draw anything at all - and we don't have the specialist kit. Do you think we could do it ourselves if necessary?

The second is to get a multi-fuel burner which comes with its own flue - but I've seen a lot of advice against this online. I also have to persuade my husband into it, and since we're currently only allowed to install certain types of burner and specialized (expensive) fuel, I can't offer it as a money-saving option. He'd love to burn wood - and we've got plenty of it round the house - but as things stand it's against the law. I'll push for it anyway if you guys think it will work, but I've seen advice suggesting it's not very safe.

The third is to bug out after all - but there's nowhere nearby that has a working chimney anyway. My absolute last-resort long-distance BOL does have one, but it's 300 miles away and may not be practical to reach in a disaster. I do have plans for getting there on foot (including caches placed en route so the journey can be taken in stages) but it all seems a bit desperate.

The fourth is of course to move house right now - but we can't afford it, and my husband really has to be here for the sake of his job.

I'm sorry to be so feeble, but does anyone have any advice for me at all? I'm hoping I'm just being stupid, and there's an obvious solution I've completely missed, but I'm very afraid the problem may be terminal. I've been busy tending my very first attempts at growing vegetables, but it's all beginning to seem like a waste of time if we can't stay here anyway.

I'd be very grateful for any thoughts.
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10 May 2013, 21:29,
#2
RE: No chimney!
get a "decorative wood burning stove" with a long flu for your patio/bbq area. after TSHTF move it indoors, and run the flu through a hole in the wall.
yup, not a nice person at all.
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10 May 2013, 21:37,
#3
RE: No chimney!
You can burn wood in a smoke control area, if you have a stove that has been certified by DEFRA to be clean burning. I had a Dunsley Yorkshire with backboiler. It did all the hot water and central heating.

It's certified to burn dry wood, smokeless coal and peat.
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10 May 2013, 22:15,
#4
RE: No chimney!
(10 May 2013, 21:29)Franc Wrote: get a "decorative wood burning stove" with a long flu for your patio/bbq area. after TSHTF move it indoors, and run the flu through a hole in the wall.

Thanks, Franc. I've had a quick look for such things, but haven't yet found anything for the patio that actually has a 'flue' as such. If I do find one, it might look a little odd standing outside...
It's still a good plan, and I might have to fall back on it, but we don't really live the 'barbecue' lifestyle and it's going to be hard convincing OH why I suddenly need a burner to heat an area we hardly use.
(My husband isn't really on board with prepping, which is why this is all so hard!)

(10 May 2013, 21:37)Steve Wrote: You can burn wood in a smoke control area, if you have a stove that has been certified by DEFRA to be clean burning. I had a Dunsley Yorkshire with backboiler. It did all the hot water and central heating.

It's certified to burn dry wood, smokeless coal and peat.

Many thanks, Steve. I've had a look at the approved appliances list, and you're right, some can burn wood logs - which will be a great help convincing OH as to its merits. I'd want one that burned smokeless fuel as well (post SHTF I don't want my house to be the only one for miles belching out smoke) but it looks as if there are some that do both.

The only problem then would be the flue. Does anyone else use one with a free-standing flue, ie with no chimney? Does it draw all right, and is there any risk of carbon monoxide poisoning? I guess if I go with a HETAS registered installer it should be safe enough?

Horribly expensive, of course, but I really can't see any other answer.
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10 May 2013, 22:18,
#5
RE: No chimney!
get a good stove/cooker and run pipe out of wall wood will burn clean in a good type of stove will heat home cook food and hot water we have a free standing flue no chimney
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10 May 2013, 22:25,
#6
RE: No chimney!
Thanks, GrannyMike - that's really encouraging. I see it can cost upward of £1500 to install (without counting the cost of the stove) but I'll just have to start saving. It might be cheaper if they can run the flue along the wall into the old chimney and use that for the rest.

I'm also looking into the possibility of government grants for England like the ones they have in Scotland. Even a little would help.
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10 May 2013, 22:50,
#7
RE: No chimney!
Can you put a picture on of where the fire place is in relation to other things, sounds a bit strange with an extension next to it, like it is the secondary fireplace - I have an unused chimney like that (I have 4) but would not recommission that one.

You say opening up the fireplace would reduce the price of your house, but then state you do not have the cash to move? One kinda cancels out the other really.

If you were that bothered about prepping it all for TSHTF, open the chimney, make it good, clean and line the chimney, put a stove in and then plasterboard over it. You can soon sort that out should you need too. Or just run a stove now.

How good you are at managing a fire also has an impact. Friend lives in a smokeless zone, has has a none DEFRA approved stove but uses enough tinder and sticks to get the thing hot hot hot before putting seasoned wood on. Makes very little smoke for the first 5-10 minutes while the stove is on.
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11 May 2013, 01:06,
#8
RE: No chimney!
You can start a stove up on wood legally for the first 30mins in a smokeless zone. By that time, the fire will be up to temp anyway and will burn seasoned logs clean enough. Burning wood on a bed of smokeless coal is even better and if anyone did ever call round (v.unlikely), then you have the smokeless coal in bags to show.

For the flue, you can either use a purpose built chimney or have an external one fitted made out of twin wall stainless to the outside of the building that connects through the wall to the stove.

If using a pre-existing chimney, then it will need to be in good order. You can run the stove pipe straight up into the chimney on its own if there is enough "draw" in your particular chimney - BUT the draw can vary with the weather and carbon monoxide can come back down with deadly results. Stoves are not the same as open fires and are best run connected to a SOLID FUEL FLUE. (Not an old gas one which will burn through). A steel register plate should be used to blank off above the stove with the flue running up through it. Plasterboard is not adequate!!

It really is pretty simple, but you have to get it right and unfortunately there is usually no end of incorrect advice given with good intentions. You can look it up on the net how the installation should be constructed.

It will cost a few pennies, unless you can do or have friends who can do some of it for you. I got the cost of the equipment back in the first 12 months and since then have been saving a fortune. I shudder when I think what the bills would have been now if I was still running the gas central heating daily and a useless gas fire at times.

The stove really is a preppers friend and is a source of heat, light & cooking. If you buy one of the smaller ones, you could yank it out in an emergency and take it with you in a vehicle if you had to relocate.

Try "Country Kiln Stoves". They are far cheaper for good quality stoves. Made in Scotland and delivered to your door. V.helpful too. Flues & accessories can be bought cheaper elsewhere.

Running a stove also entails quite a bit of extra work in acquiring, transporting, processing, storing & transferring fuel. You will need some space to store it. Even if running just on smokeless + occasional gas central heating when really cold(yes if up to temp.... but neighbours will still be able to smell it outdoors) I reckon it is much cheaper by £100's a quarter, than being milked by the utility companies.
Regards, TL
"How far back in time do you think our future will be?"
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11 May 2013, 07:22,
#9
RE: No chimney!
(10 May 2013, 22:50)BDG Wrote: Can you put a picture on of where the fire place is in relation to other things, sounds a bit strange with an extension next to it, like it is the secondary fireplace - I have an unused chimney like that (I have 4) but would not recommission that one.

It wouldn't help you, BDG, since it's currently behind a built in bookcase.
I know it's bonkers, but so is much else about this house, which has been extended three times before we bought it. I think the original chimney was knocked down when the side extension was built, and they slammed up another right on the corner of the new far wall.

(10 May 2013, 22:50)BDG Wrote: You say opening up the fireplace would reduce the price of your house, but then state you do not have the cash to move? One kinda cancels out the other really.

No, it doesn't. Reducing the value of the house is a long-term issue which would affect us if we were ever able to move in the future. That matters less to me (since I have doubts that future will ever come) but as I said above, my husband is not on board with prepping, and he won't take kindly to a Home Improvement that lessens value rather than adding it.

So far I have used only my own money in my secret preps, but the house is in joint names and I can't just go bashing holes in it without my husband's knowledge and approval.

(10 May 2013, 22:50)BDG Wrote: If you were that bothered about prepping it all for TSHTF, open the chimney, make it good, clean and line the chimney, put a stove in and then plasterboard over it. You can soon sort that out should you need too. Or just run a stove now.

You see, this is exactly why I haven't posted much since I joined. It's true that I'm a long way behind many here, and I'm very conscious of learning from the more experienced preppers, but I don't see why that would make you think I'm 'not bothered'.

Steve's information has shown me what needs to be done, and GrannyMike has been able to assure me it's safe. I know now what I need to do, but it is going to cost a lot of money and I don't personally have £1500 plus just sitting about. I'm still determined to do it, but it isn't going to happen overnight.

(10 May 2013, 22:50)BDG Wrote: How good you are at managing a fire also has an impact. Friend lives in a smokeless zone, has has a none DEFRA approved stove but uses enough tinder and sticks to get the thing hot hot hot before putting seasoned wood on. Makes very little smoke for the first 5-10 minutes while the stove is on.

Yes, absolutely. But now I know I can get the kind of stove I need that IS approved, there seems little point in getting one that isn't. Leaving rules and regulations aside, it's in my interests to have as clean a burning stove as I can get, since smoke will be a major giveaway after TSHTF.

(11 May 2013, 01:06)Timelord Wrote: It really is pretty simple, but you have to get it right and unfortunately there is usually no end of incorrect advice given with good intentions. You can look it up on the net how the installation should be constructed.

It will cost a few pennies, unless you can do or have friends who can do some of it for you. I got the cost of the equipment back in the first 12 months and since then have been saving a fortune. I shudder when I think what the bills would have been now if I was still running the gas central heating daily and a useless gas fire at times.

Thanks, Timelord - that's very encouraging. The info about saving money will be really helpful in persuading my husband.

(11 May 2013, 01:06)Timelord Wrote: The stove really is a preppers friend and is a source of heat, light & cooking. If you buy one of the smaller ones, you could yank it out in an emergency and take it with you in a vehicle if you had to relocate.

Try "Country Kiln Stoves". They are far cheaper for good quality stoves. Made in Scotland and delivered to your door. V.helpful too. Flues & accessories can be bought cheaper elsewhere.

And thanks for this too. That's an excellent point about getting a smaller one we could take with us - I'd never thought of that, and will certainly bear it in mind.

The 'storing fuel' issue is one that's come up a lot on the websites I've consulted, but I think we'll be OK for that. I have space to build a little bunker, and a good supplier nearby. We can also use some of our own wood (we're cutting down two trees to make room for fruit and veg), but I know it'll need to be properly dried before we can burn it effectively.

Thanks every much for the advice, everyone. I was going round and round on this one, but you've now given me a definite course of action and I feel a lot better about the whole thing.

Regards to all,
Louise
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11 May 2013, 08:18,
#10
RE: No chimney!
(11 May 2013, 07:22)Little Lou Wrote: You see, this is exactly why I haven't posted much since I joined. It's true that I'm a long way behind many here, and I'm very conscious of learning from the more experienced preppers, but I don't see why that would make you think I'm 'not bothered'.

Oh, I never said you were not bothered. I was saying if you were bothered in the kind if lazy way one may or may not scratch an itch on ones leg.

Perhaps you should get a new husband?
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