Friday, January 13, 2012

Chimney tweaks

It's interesting how, in winter, in a big house, one's thoughts turn to heat, and more particularly where it's all going. We've burned through an awful lot of wood this winter -- wood we've had to cut, split, stack, carry, and so on. We were fortunate that along with the house, we bought a large pile of potential firewood out in the field, so this year we haven't had to go out in the hills and cut our own trees. I'm holding hope that the pile will last us to the end of winter, but that's looking less and less likely. Firewood is supposed to be left out to season for a while before use, but this has been left long enough that it's half rotted, and spongy old wood burns extremely fast.

We've also, on occasion, burned some of the coal we have in little piles here and there in the yard. The thought of burning coal may cause some to cast scornful glances our way, but as I see it, heating with coal directly is more efficient than having the power plant burn coal, lose some energy turning the heat to electricity, lose more energy transmitting the electricity to me, and let me lose still more turning it back into heat. Provided we don't burn too much of it, such that it would damage the stove, burning coal works fairly well.

The problem, though, is the chimney. It leads from the fireplace straight out the wall, and takes most of the heat with it. The lousy diagram at the top of the post shows the current setup. It doesn't take too much staring at the heat coming out of the chimney to decide there might be something better. So I want to change the chimney some.

This second lousy diagram describes what I have in mind. The room with the fireplace has a high, sloping ceiling; the chimney will lead up to the ceiling, follow its slant up for several feet, and finally pop out the roof. Hopefully that will let it radiate more heat into the room, and less into the trees outside. Anyone have some chimney pipe they don't need anymore?

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