# Making your home more "green"?

by Hepth
Tags: green, home
 P: 948 Why is wood burning bad?
P: 1,115
 Quote by KingNothing Why is wood burning bad?
Pros and cons to everything.
Population density is probably one of the aspects on the con side. Too many wood burning stoves in too many houses too close together and you get a certain type of smoginess in the air ( remember , of course you don't, London at the epic of coal being used in fireplaces and stoves - chimeny sweeps )
There is a lot of unburnt hydrocarbons that go up the chiminey by burning wood, especially before the chiminey is hot, and if i recall correctly some is carcinogenic.

As for pros on the green side, wood is a renewable resource. Wood also warms you twice - once when you cut, split and stack, and the second time when you do the actual burning.
P: 1,967
 Quote by Borek Depends on where you live. Estimates for Warsaw are around 30 years, I doubt I will live that long.
That sounds a bit like an exaggeration promoted by the local electric company but, yeah, I wouldn't recommend it to someone living in Nome Alaska.
PF Patron
P: 1,300
 Quote by Borek Depends on where you live. Estimates for Warsaw are around 30 years, I doubt I will live that long.

 solar powered hot water preheaters
These run from $1200 for ones you buy, to$45 for ones you make from junk in the back yard.
P: 948
 Quote by 256bits Wood also warms you twice - once when you cut, split and stack, and the second time when you do the actual burning.
So true. One of my friends has a house deep in MN woods, and I used to go and help him split wood. We would often spend two or more days cutting and around a week burning what we cut - and this was in a massive fire pit outside the house. We had to cut constantly just because the trees were so thick they were constantly encroaching on the house (and safety of residents).

Here's a picture of the jacket I would wear cutting wood with -10F wind chill:
P: 21,720
 Quote by wuliheron That sounds a bit like an exaggeration promoted by the local electric company but, yeah, I wouldn't recommend it to someone living in Nome Alaska.
I checked. This is information provided by a Polish governmental organization that promotes solar water heating: in the case of family of three solar heating pays off in 10 years if you replace electric heating, 18 years if you replace oil heating, 26 in the case of earth gas and 36 in the case of coal (on average in Poland).

Remember it depends on the local situation and this information is based on Polish prices and Polish weather conditions.
HW Helper
P: 1,772
 Quote by Borek I checked. This is information provided by a Polish governmental organization that promotes solar water heating: in the case of family of three solar heating pays off in 10 years if you replace electric heating, 18 years if you replace oil heating, 26 in the case of earth gas and 36 in the case of coal (on average in Poland). Remember it depends on the local situation and this information is based on Polish prices and Polish weather conditions.
I was going to say: a lot of Europe still burns coal (or coke) in their homes; burning coal in-house is far more efficient, greener, and cheaper compared to electric heating where the electricity is created by burning coal. So if your hot water comes cheaply, then going for solar hot water can be a poor investment if one lives in a freezing climate (much better investment to rip of all the interior walls and add additional insulation).

There are new heat collectors that do not depend on copper (evacuated tubes), so costs will still be dropping, but I can totally believe Borek's claim.
HW Helper
P: 1,772
 Quote by KingNothing Why is wood burning bad?
[soapbox]
Not bad, per se, but also not as benign as some people claim. I do not believe nor care whether or not I am "saving the planet" by being "green." That shouldn't be the point.

I cut, split, and burn wood for 80% of my heat because that is my choice. I prefer to understand and appreciate the value of the resource. I think this is a conservative value, not liberal, by its very definition: our culture is too blithe about our comfort. My children will not think that warmth comes from a button on the wall.

I also choose to deny the oil companies the pleasure of expecting that they should profit from every aspect of our lives. Maybe that part is "liberal" but I really don't care what label others choose to give it.

When I burn wood, I am polluting the air. That fact must be recognized, and I choose to pollute the air as little as I possible can. Compared to other options wood-burning is the least expensive on my part, and the least invasive on others. It is also a "hobby," and that value can be compared against folks who think that snow-mobiles and Jet-skis are hobbies.

[/soapbox]
 PF Patron P: 413 So much good info! Thanks. If the improvements of the in-line water heaters aren't that great then it's really not worth my time to install them. And I'll probably just fix the gas fireplace as well rather than down-converting. Natural gas is a lot easier and cheap. (though wood is basically free for me). As for the AC, the unit is VERY old, probably doesn't work. We were thinking about replacing it but since we're so close to the water, and I really don't care THAT much about air conditioning, we were considering just removing it and dealing with the heat. Our house has an attic fan which is great, but no basement (too close to the water). So I think we can regulate the humidity and temperature in the summer without AC. But I guess we'll find out in 6 months. Since the bedrooms are upstairs I'm not sure how how they get.
P: 1,967
 Quote by Borek I checked. This is information provided by a Polish governmental organization that promotes solar water heating: in the case of family of three solar heating pays off in 10 years if you replace electric heating, 18 years if you replace oil heating, 26 in the case of earth gas and 36 in the case of coal (on average in Poland). Remember it depends on the local situation and this information is based on Polish prices and Polish weather conditions.
Solar hot water preheaters don't replace alternatives. Its merely a preheater that helps to save a little money by warming the water a little before its sent to the main heater.