Home Heating

Blueberry's picture

Looking at the weather from around the US it is cold. So how do you heat your house today? How will you heat your house in 5-8 years. The world population in 1965 was app 3 billion 322 million in 2018 world pop is 7 billion 175 million, Source of info Population Pyramid net. Gail Tverberg came up with a estimate of future energy production in 2014. So using her chart how will you heat your house. https://gailtheactuary.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/tverberg-estimate-of-...

David Trammel's picture

Greer has always said the first step in conservation is to make your need for something as small as possible. High on the list of things to do with moving into my sister's house will be to insulate it to the max. It's like most homes, with a furnace that runs on natural gas via pipes in the ground, but it does have a old Franklin stove in the dining room in back. I am going to try and convince her to repurpose that room for a larger living area, since she never uses that room for an actual dinner room.

When I finally go to put up the last side of the backyard privacy fence, there are at least 5 trees that are going to be dropped. Most of them have trunks that are about a foot in diameter, just right to split and make into firewood. There's going to be a lot of pruning on her bigger trees too. Any limbs large enough will be used for more fire wood, and the smaller branches used as the Hügelkultu base for my raised beds or go into the compost heaps.

Blueberry's picture

To improve the stove try and run a outside air source ie pipe close to the stove. If you can install foam panels on the outside walls under the siding would be a big help. 2X4 wall with insulation plus 3/4 inch foam on the outside plus the siding and drywall on the inside R factor of R30 or better. Fire wood a cord equals a stack 2 feet wide by 4 feet high and 16 feet long. A cord of white oak will give you 30 million btus of heat. Cottonwood will give you 17 million btus of heat. Propane 15,7 gallons gives you 1 million btus of heat Source of info Pocket Ref by Thomas J Glover Page 213. 1997 edition. We use wood as our primary heat source and a heat pump as secondary.

We currently have electric forced air heat (moved into the house - our first - a few years ago) in our brick house. I've been told there's no insulation between the brick exterior and the plaster interior, and that going back to insulate the walls can be a dicey proposition. Last year we blew cellulose insulation into the attic, which made a big difference. Now I'm in the process of adding gaskets around all our outlets and weather stripping throughout. The plan is to purchase a woodstove in the next two years, and I'm currently considering one from Woodstock: https://www.woodstove.com/index.php/new-absolute-steel-hybrid. We also find that hot water bottles in the bed at night help us reduce the thermostat setting!

Blueberry's picture

You said Plaster. Like lath and Plaster or plaster coating on drywall. If lath and plaster has your wiring been upgraded to 3 wire from 2 wire? Home sellers will sometimes change the outlets to give the appearance of a upgrade. If the wiring is up to code then you can drill small holes in the plaster and fill the wall with foam insulation. Best done by trades person. If the wiring is not up to code DO NOT INSULATE the walls. Next time you are in the attic, using latex caulk seal around the wires and piper going into the attic from the walls helps to stop the chimney effect.

Thanks, Blueberry. I've been doing a little digging. I do not think we have lath and plaster. From what I can tell, the exterior walls are a plaster coat over some kind of board. I did find plaster over metal mesh in one interior wall, but didn't see it poking out anywhere else. Our house is a 1953 brick duplex (the shared wall seems to be plaster over cinder block). Thoughts on insulating exterior walls like that? Thanks for your suggestions!

Blueberry's picture

The common wall has to be made of material that will not burn ie cinder block. If you look in the attic the block should extend to the roof. Homes built in the 1953 time frame would have used a product called rock wool for insulation. Take a look at the windows if single pane glass you could add storm windows or replace the current windows with double insulated windows that will cost big bucks!! Another option on the windows build wood frames that fit the window jamb on the inside of the house and cover the frames with clear vinyl from 6 to 12 mills thick. The use of the wood frames was a big thing in like 1973 after the first oil shock.

David Trammel's picture

You mention you are in a duplex, that's why I ask. If you rent then any insulating you do will need to be either removable or approved by your landlord. Good news is most landlords are open to a cost sharing that will make their units more rentable.

As for temporary, most of my windows are covered by heavy sleeping bags as insulation. They are cheap and usually are big enough to cover most large windows.

Don't forget the option to stagger your heating into zones. I have a two bedroom duplex, which I use one bedroom as an office. That's where I'm at 90% of my waking non-work hours. I keep the house at a cool 60-65 and then have a small electric space heater in the office to bring that room up to 70. I'd have the rest of the house even cooler but I'm fostering three cats. The first one, who came to me a bout a year ago, doesn't like the two new ones, so she can't be in the office. When she was alone, I kept the house in the 50-55 and slept under a bunch of blankets, while leaving the office door slightly ajar so she could slip in there if she was cold.

Its more this year, but last year my electric use report from the electric company had me in the bottom 25%.

I'll look into these ideas, thanks! We do own, which is helpful - and having a shared wall helps keep that side of the house warm, for sure.