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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my wife said "Don (our neighbor) is cutting down those 2 oaks in his yard, go ask him for the wood". I saunter over and asked him what he was doing with the 2 main trunks. He said if you want it take it, but I need it gone by this weekend. Now the tree guys are finished for the day and they left 2 straight trees trimmed of branches each one about 30 foot total with the first branch starting at about 10 foot (same height as his pole saw). Each tree is about 18-20 inches at the base and clean no rot or termites anywhere. So I grab my handy dandy chainsaw and after the 2nd pull I break the winding spring......RHOUGHT ROO RAGGY so I get the smaller 25 y/o Homelite 14" and dive in. So day two starts (today) and I'm still trying to cut it into manageable pieces but making progress. 10 min after I finish the tree guys show up with the stump grinder and offer to put it all on their flatbed trailer and drop it off across the street in my yard........SOLD!!!!!

So to end my tale, I now have a boatload of white oak for next winter to subsidize my red oak stash. We love our fireplace and it has cut our electric bill by $35 a month in the winter, and in this economy every little bit helps. I worked up a sweat, appetite, and will sleep like a baby tonight.

John
 

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Qman... I have been trying to figure out for quite some time now how to use a fireplace to effectively reduce the cost of my electric heat pump, but I always seem to run into serious issues regarding how the fireplace seems to "draw" all the heat out of the other rooms in the house. Not sure if you have an insert or if you've had the same issues but if you've dealt with it how do you "combat" that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Our fireplace is in our living room (25x25) with a vaulted ceiling. Off the LR is a 12x12 DR and our kitchen 20x12. The fireplace warms the front of the house very nice throughout the day, and I let it burn out before bed. The temp in the bedrooms remains cooler but not uncomfortable and by the morning the heat pump will warm the house until I light another fire. The draw issue for us isn't really a big problem due to the room size. I have circulating fans built in the fireplace and a ceiling fan in the LR to move the air. We limit the amount of times we open the front or back door as that seems to break the draw more than anything and we end up with smoke smell in the house. I usually turn the fireplace fans on for 10-15 min intervals once an hour to move the heat around. I average a $35 a month savings on the electric bill throughout the winter months (Dec-Feb) and use about a cord of wood.

Most of the time we have on a sweatshirt and we do notice it is "somewhat" cooler in the back of the house but not bad or uncomfortable. We look at it as a trade-off to the money we save for the time we burn. We already have a contingency plan to isolate the rooms in the front of the hose with blanket "curtains" if we lose power to keep the front of the house warm and use the generator power for light and coffee pot (priority).

The other way we keep the back of the house warm is my wonderful wife decided to put a 2 person hot tub and 50" plasma in our master bedroom. (Who am I to say no). She found a Garden Spa "Azalea" model that fits perfectly at the end of our bed. I added an extra exhaust fan to reduce the extra humidity. This will be the first winter with it so it will be interesting to see if it keeps the room warmer when the fire is burning.

John
 

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My neighbors across the street just cut down 2/3 of a mature, absolutely gorgeous tulip tree. It must have been 60-75 ft tall. Pretty upsetting.

It was healthy too. Dude hauled it down the street I guess.

I have gas logs and my LR is about 16x16 and if we had to, we could live in the LR with no electric. I try to keep the tank near 80 gals as much as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Have my eye on a HUGE, old red oak in the neighborhood that has one hell of a lean to it. Base has to be about 3 ft across with 15 ft before the first branch.

We had that bad tornados here in Raleigh 2 years ago and state said to put the yard debris at the roadside. On the way home from work I saw a couple of hickory trees cut to 6 ft lengths and stopped to get them. Took almost a year to dry out enough to split them with my 5 ton log splitter. Got over a cord of wood out of someone's "yard debris". That's what I'm burning this year in the fireplace. Just burnt some on the deck fire pit and it burnt hot, long, and completely. Smelled good too, like I was BBQ-ing that evening. Can't wait until the cooler weather sets in

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hey rgardner,

The fireplace we have came with the house. I replaced the fire block, walls and cleaned and checked it before I used it. It had been originally a wood burning fireplace that was changed to gas log, that we changed back to wood. The model is Majistic so we were able to get the fire block and schematics. As you stand in front of the fireplace there are vents on the sides and on the top. At the bottom of either side are the circulating fans (don't know the cfm they move) that are about 5x5 and are controlled by a switch on the wall. Arond the insert is a dead space for warm air to collect and when you turn on the fans it blows the warm air up, around and out the top vent. These fans are built in and cannot be easily removed, but can be cleaned with the shop vac.

http://literature.mhsc.com/majestic/manuals/7412944_BR_BC_28.pdf

this link is similar to the one we have and has some good info. Our biggest cost was the fire block panel, they were not cheap to replace. We picked those up in Raleigh at a fireplace store (don't remember name).

Let me know if this helps or if you have any other questions. I'm not an expert but been doing it for a few years with good results.

John
 
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