We recently got a thermometer for inside of the house, which has been fun to watch. Here’s Jeff’s thoughts from heating on a recent winter day…
So today we woke up to -11(f) outside temp! . We woke around 8:00am to the interior temp of 52 . Fire was tended until we went to sleep the previous night ( 8-10pmish) I noticed that this is the lowest the temp as its gotten so far inside the house . It seems to hover more near 54 on most winter mornings in the am when we wake though (we always let fire die at night) Its Jan 22nd and we have went through 3/4 cord-ish of misc wood from our woodlot. some shimmering aspen/a bit of shargbark hickory and scraps from building. This might be the first year ever that we have heated our home from our land, that will feel good.
The small woodstove usually takes the temp up 10-15 degrees? This makes for a comfortable habitat (interior temp feels comfortable at 62 , 65 if we want to keep it toasty). The house on windy days is tight. Humdity is good now most all the time, if to high can be vented through the higher elevation rear earthtubes/opening window/running the fire. This does not seem to be to much an issue unless its one of those days where is foggy and damp outside of day. The insulation umbrella is not done yet so extending that should have a major impact of THOSE type of days.
The biggest weaknesses thermally is the windows and doors, surprise. We have vinyl double glass windows with a low/e coating on most windows. These windows were from old projects and auction. These are the points of radical extremes meeting. From the moist and warm of the inside to cold dry outside. when conditions are so, creates condensation and freezing on really cold dry nights. Some windows we have stuffed a 2″inch piece of insulation in (north windows). This helps a bit but is not a completely solid air seal.
The doors are even more challenging! I tried to be super tight when building them. So much so that I’ve had to shave them down like 3 times. Wood moves, its just way it is. So i’ve tried.
The conclusion at this time is that we need storm windows and doors on exterior of current doors and windows. All the way round!! I have two re-purposed sliding glass doors for the main doors I hope will work. This will allow us in the summer to remove our current wood doors and just use storm doors of glass? OR to open the interior door in winter when sun is shining and get gain then when sun then when sun moves interior door door can be shut retaining gained heat.
For the windows I am thinking build a lightweight wooden frame holding a clear poly/vinyl material that is fairly thick . This should be able to be mounted very tightly against wooden exterior frame with some form of threaded screw or bolt. Duct tape as a gasket if needed. The materials we have in the “resource center” so it should be negligible on costs. This should also increase solar collection being point of collection is not tucked 5″ in the window frames anymore. The interior windows ( our current mounted ones)all are operate-able can be used to create beneficial convection currents when open and sun shinning. Or a tight seal against outside environment. At night put down the tight insulated curtains. Maybe a magnetic tape and a nice thick felt? So that would make a total of 3 “layers” spanning a distance 13.5″s and a variety of surface types creating wave changing properties? ( the last one i’m guessing on but it makes some sense).
Its 9:00am here and the house currently sits at 58 degrees and 78% humidity. Outside -10 and still. There is a semi clear sky so some solar collection also happening a bit .. Some reflective gain from sloped “front yard”. A small fire of a few small chunks and some coals in the middle.
So overall i’m really happy… caustically optimistic with tweaks it can be taken to a new level and finishing the skirting insulation/membrane layer make it better still.
Update: its now 1:00pm and the temp inside temp64 degrees. Its been slowly climbing.The wood stove has been going ..burned 10-12 sticks of 2″ x 16″ wood.