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No chimney!
12 May 2013, 12:45,
#21
RE: No chimney!
(12 May 2013, 12:24)Timelord Wrote:
(12 May 2013, 09:37)bigpaul Wrote: modern English houses are quite small, you dont need a wopping big woodstove that puts out 7KW or whatever in a smaller space, you'd never be able to get in the room for the heat, you need something thats puts out about 1KW per hour.

True for a small house but there are as many older large/tall roomed houses in the UK also. open plan is even worse :-(

Although with open plan over multiple levels, you can use the chimney effect of the staircase to lift the temperature throughout the house. Now notice I did not say "warm" the house as it will not do this far beyond the heat source for a larger design house - but I have found it most definitely does make a difference over multiple floors. Whilst you may still need layers of clothing if working at upper levels, it makes a big difference between the outside freezing temperatures and those indoors. This means a secondary localised heat source is all that is needed if on the upper chillier levels. Also it helps to stop the house from becoming damp. Used this way in the depths of Winter it makes sense to keep it going most of the time. Seasoned wood for when you want it full on and use green or half seasoned wood for keeping it ticking over during the day. A hefty greenish log will see it run overnight and with red coals left by the next midday to relight the fresh load. Running it this way keeps the metalwork of the stove and the surrounding brick/stonework chimney warm continuously. This is also an advantage of a stove, as the chimney/hearth structure acts as a storage radiator and continues to keep the temperature from dropping rapidly if the stove is out. This is great, especially throughout the night while the stove is on overnight low burn. many older designed houses were built with the intention of being heated by a fireplace and the chimney structure. It is also good for maintaining the structure of the building, rather than letting it get really cold & damp between bouts of modern style heat sources , ie, central heating on just a few hours every day - as many people can not afford to keep it on continuously. that is all very well for a modern insulated house, but not an older poorly insulated one or just if there is a lot of air space to heat.

I find if running purely on wood, then it goes through the wood pile at quite a rate and needs a lot more feeding, which means more wood to be acquired & cut etc. By using a bed of smokeless coal (the oval briquettes are designed for multifuel burners and burn hotter and longer than other fuels), then the improved efficiency and reduced labour time and its associated costs, actually works out cheaper for me. Now if I lived in the middle of a wooded area that would be different. I wish. lol.

BP, I do like my large old house, but for heat purposes, it is a real pain and for those with modern insulated houses, then I am envious at times!!, especially WINTER - AAARGH.... Also, a small multifuel burner is probably ideal for one of those smaller more modern houses, as a larger stove can be OTT. Another point this raises - is that running a larger stove and trying to keep it at only half heat or with reduced loads, is not as thermally efficient as running a smaller one at higher heat / fullish loads.

regards, TL.
"How far back in time do you think our future will be?"
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12 May 2013, 13:54,
#22
RE: No chimney!
Timelord and bigpaul - just to say thank you so much for this discussion, because I'm sure it's helpful to a lot of other people too. I have a big house, but with small rooms and a way off-centre staircase, so what I've learned from this is not to have too big a stove downstairs - but that I may also need another heat source upstairs.

With ordinary central heating it's not been a problem, because hot air rises, but this is the most stupidly designed house I've ever come across. My plan now is to use the small back-up stove upstairs (making its own vent-hole post SHTF) - or just to close off the top storey altogether.

Very interesting either way. There's nothing like learning from people who are already living this way, and I'm very grateful for all your expertise.
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12 May 2013, 19:35,
#23
RE: No chimney!
Personally, I'd save up and go for a wood burning stove outletting to a new dedicated flue through the wall. That way, you can put it where you want it. Meanwhile, as a hedge against SHTF tomorrow, perhaps invest in a portable calor gas heater and a couple of cylinders. At least that way you have off-grid heat.

You might be surprised how much an open fire or stove ADDs to the value of your house, rather than detracting from it. We found that when we sold a year ago. I think there are those that believe a stove will make them more resilient in the event of a crisis, and those who just think it's cool. Either way, open fires and stoves tend to be seen positively by buyers.

Interesting to see TL's comments about house design. I agree that some houses just lend themselves to continuous, gentle heat. It's one reason why we put a wood-burning Rayburn in our cottage rather than an all-singing-and-dancing wood-fired batch boiler.

By the way, FWIW, you already seem to have an excellent handle on the sort of preps needed for WTSHTF.
Find a resilient place and way to live, then sit back and watch a momentous period in history unfold.
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15 May 2013, 22:48, (This post was last modified: 15 May 2013, 22:53 by Mortblanc.)
#24
RE: No chimney!
As a side thought we should keep in mind that chimneys are a relatively new invention.

Until just a few generations ago we survived with a simple fire in the middle of the dirt floor and a hole in the roof or vents in the gables for the smoke to escape.

It still works.

A big box of dirt with a small fire and a hole up high for the smoke to escape might be the new décor for a SHTF world.

Means you could also smoke jerky and fish from the rafters in the living room!
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16 May 2013, 01:13,
#25
RE: No chimney!
You would need to get rid of all internal ceilings to just leave the sloped roof. Also when our ancestors used open fires like this, the roof material was thatch or similar and that was semi permeable to the smoke which seeped through it as well as exiting from the central hole.

Using a system like this seems much more efficient, as you are heating the whole airspace and roof material, rather than a good percentage of heat travelling straight up the chimney. I do think that chimneys are inefficient for space heating. Also, the ancient way keeps the critters and mozzie's at bay, whilst gently smoking everything inside with this excellent insect repellent.
"How far back in time do you think our future will be?"
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16 May 2013, 02:39,
#26
RE: No chimney!
(12 May 2013, 19:35)Tarrel Wrote: Personally, I'd save up and go for a wood burning stove outletting to a new dedicated flue through the wall. That way, you can put it where you want it. Meanwhile, as a hedge against SHTF tomorrow, perhaps invest in a portable calor gas heater and a couple of cylinders. At least that way you have off-grid heat.

Thanks, Tarrel - that's exactly the plan now, and I'm halfway there with talking my husband into it! The calor gas heater is an interesting short term solution, though - I hadn't realized you could use them indoors. I've been looking at battery heaters so far, but without much luck.

(12 May 2013, 19:35)Tarrel Wrote: You might be surprised how much an open fire or stove ADDs to the value of your house, rather than detracting from it. We found that when we sold a year ago. I think there are those that believe a stove will make them more resilient in the event of a crisis, and those who just think it's cool. Either way, open fires and stoves tend to be seen positively by buyers.

Yes, absolutely. It's the location of our existing chimney that would be the drawback, but if we have a purpose-built flue (and maybe a fake chimney breast to take the visual curse off the pipe) then I think it'll be a real selling point, especially in a village like ours. Prospective buyers won't find many other houses with real fires within a fifteen mile radius.

(12 May 2013, 19:35)Tarrel Wrote: By the way, FWIW, you already seem to have an excellent handle on the sort of preps needed for WTSHTF.

It's worth a lot, Tarrel - thank you. I know I've tons still to learn (and even more to do!!) but at least if the mindset's in vaguely the right place then that's really encouraging.

Interesting archaeological discussion too, Mortlake. As a historian, I'd say it's more than a few generations ago - even the Romans had a chimney system of pipes. Britain was slower, but we've had modern type chimneys since the 12th century, and by the 1650s they were almost universal. The problem with the old system was the lack of 'draw' to suck the smoke upwards, which may be why respiratory diseases were such big killers in medieval times, and life expectancy was so very short.

On the other hand, it was certainly an economical system. In the 13th and 14th centuries it wasn't uncommon for the hole to lead only to the upper storey, which was used to smoke and preserve meat. Those were real Prepper Ancestors.Big Grin
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16 May 2013, 08:10,
#27
RE: No chimney!
(15 May 2013, 22:48)Mortblanc Wrote: As a side thought we should keep in mind that chimneys are a relatively new invention.

Until just a few generations ago we survived with a simple fire in the middle of the dirt floor and a hole in the roof or vents in the gables for the smoke to escape.

It still works.

A big box of dirt with a small fire and a hole up high for the smoke to escape might be the new décor for a SHTF world.

Means you could also smoke jerky and fish from the rafters in the living room!

..... or an open window,... this is the route I think I would take, buy the stove , store it, and use it if tshtf,... its a cheaper option, works just as well, and no need to do any building work
A major part of survival is invisibility.
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16 May 2013, 10:12,
#28
RE: No chimney!
Open fires are horribly inefficient, which was OK when half the UK was forest but not much use now. Stoves are much better, 80% efficiency is possible versus the 35% of the open fire.

To improve things even further look for a stove with an external air supply, this is a pipe from outside the house that brings the air needed for combustion straight to the stove instead of through the room you are sitting in. It means you can draughtproof the house really well.
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16 May 2013, 20:19, (This post was last modified: 16 May 2013, 20:28 by Timelord.)
#29
RE: No chimney!
The 35% efficiency versus the up to 80% efficiency relates only to the fire being used in a fireplace with a chimney. An open fire in the centre of a room and in a building designed to be used that way has a different set of physics going on.

To improve things even further look for a stove with an external air supply, this is a pipe from outside the house that brings the air needed for combustion straight to the stove instead of through the room you are sitting in. It means you can draughtproof the house really well.
[/quote]

Hello Steve. What happens with one of these systems if you run the fire with the stove door open?? Would you not also be burning some of the air from within the room - AND with no ability to replenish the oxygen level if the house/room is draught proofed that well...? I know for a normal set up without the external supply - that you have to have adequate air vents or an old leaky house that flows enough air to not need specific vents in the walls... It is a wonder how safe these independent external air supply systems actually are... Regards, TL

(I know that stoves are not designed to run with the stove door open and I don't run mine that way - BUT my visiting relatives are always trying to use my stove this way and I suspect it is quite common practice...)
"How far back in time do you think our future will be?"
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25 July 2018, 08:43,
#30
RE: No chimney!
(10 May 2013, 20:55)Little Lou Wrote: 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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