Author Topic: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...  (Read 14823 times)

Offline TimSuggs

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Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« on: November 25, 2008, 07:42:52 PM »
Hi All!  In reading the 1000's of posts here, you run across all sorts of thought provoking comments, don't ya?  I see that a lot of you are planning to heat and cook with wood after the lights go out.  But, how much thought have you given to what your woodlot options are.  I haven't seen this mentioned yet, so I'll bring it up now.  I know there are a lot of you that already do your heating and cooking with wood, so I guess you got your supply figured out.  But for those that are not yet so equipped, consider putting in your own self renewing woodlot.  That's right, a self renewing 5 acre woodlot.  Look into Hybrid Poplars, fast growth, will grow back from a cut stump, and grow straight up with limbs tight against the trunk.  It's a 5 year plan for a 5 acre lot.  It takes about 5 years of growth for the trees to be of optimum yield size, so, take 5 acres, clear it, replant with the hybrid poplars and in the first year you harvest the first acre, next year the second acre, and so on.  May have to augment the wood supply for the first 3 years or so, but by the time you make it to year 5, that last acre has 5 full years of growth on it and after you cut it and go back to acre number 1, it too will have 5 years of growth, repeat as necessary.  I believe there was a write up about it in Mother Earth News (MEN) years and years ago about the 5 acre self renewing woodlot.  If anyone can find it, I think it's still one of the best methods I've ever heard of for a continuous supply of firewood.

OK, number 2 idea:  COAL!  Back before forced air furnaces, there was coal.  No, not charcoal, coal, black rock.  I can remember my wife's Grandmother shovelling on a load of coal into the fireplace for the night as we got ready to go to bed at her house.  That's all she had for heat, period.  She would also "bank" the coal by layering newspaper on top of the smoldering pile of coal.  It would almost smother it, but in the morning she'd pull off the newspaper and use the paper to fan it back into life resulting in instant heat. 

So, I'll be the first to admit that even though I have warmed my buns to many a coal burning fireplace, I know little about it overall.  I know it is mined, and I can see in a survival economy that if you had coal on your land, you'd definitely have a valuable resource for sale or barter.  So, how close to the surface can you find coal?  Equipment needed to process it?  I can remember from my times in the woods that I have seen coal veins running through various cuts in the earth, so I know some of it can be relatively close to the surface, and I can see that maybe with not much more than a small excavator (like a Bobcat 331 $10k) you could do some serious coal digging.

Idea Number 3:  Methane!  Referring back to an old MEN memory, there was a guy who used all of his compostable waste to produce methane, captured it, used an inner tube as an expandable storage container and then swapped out the filled inner tube to a small gas heater he used to heat his shop with.  FREE!  Well, except for the building costs.  Any decomposing organic item produces methane as it decomposes.  And I'm sure the neighbors would complain if you added a methane generator to your compost pile (they shouldn't though as your capturing the odor that most people find objectionable with compost piles) so maybe this should be a "retreat" item.  You get the best of both, methane and compost.  Win-Win!

Tim Suggs
Birmingham, AL. USA!

Offline creuzerm

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2008, 08:07:44 PM »
We always worked on the farmers fence lines. They usually don't mind, as big trees hurt crop growth. Ask first, of course!

Another thing to look into is Coppicing  -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coppice

Offline Lowdown3

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2008, 12:31:38 PM »
We try to keep at least a 3 year supply of firewood at all times. In the warmer climate here we only burn maybe a cord a year. There is about 12 acres to pull wood from, but we rarely have to cut from our own section. If you keep your eyes open there is usually always someone or some place where you can find wood for free.

A couple of years ago it was a logging place that went out of business. We pulled 10 truck and trailer loads out of there, all free. A few years before that it was blow downs on a neighbors property. He isn't big on chainsawing, so we offered to clean up the mess for him for the wood.

You have to plan for the logistics train of your wood supply- saws, axes, spare parts for the saws, bar and chain oil, fuel mix, stabilized fuel, backups such as bow saws, felling axes, etc.

Lowdown3

Offline simpleguy

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2008, 01:59:53 PM »
I know there is a farmer, tree farmer, from the Wallowas in NE Oregon that has been tree farming for 30some years now.  They do selective harvesting and leave some of the slash piles for compost/animals/rodents to live in and provide meals for for squirrels.  They have it so down that they know how many thousand board feet they grow per acre. 

I must admit, I would worry about cottonwood not having enough density/btu output at that kind of growth rate.  Growing up we avoided cottonwood because it was really ashy and not much heat......but with 5 acres on a rotation you may have a point.

I don't know how to insert the grid but if you follow this link... http://hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/heating_value_wood it will give you what you want to know.

Coal, now there is an idea I like.  We have no coal here in the NW, wish we did.  I have 5cords of wood put up this year under my deck.  My little woodstove in the basement keeps the upstairs(split level house) 70degrees round the clock.

I also like the idea of the "gases", I think that once you get it figured out, it's no big deal......it's just figuring it out.  The left over compost can go into a garden, good times!

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2008, 11:51:10 AM »
Coal, now there is an idea I like.  We have no coal here in the NW, wish we did. 

I also like the idea of the "gases", I think that once you get it figured out, it's no big deal......it's just figuring it out.  The left over compost can go into a garden, good times!

I did a little "research" on my coal idea, didn't find much on "small scale coal surface mining" though.  Now, here in the Birmingham, AL. area, coal mine's are what made the city.  Matter of fact, trucker lingo for Birmingham is "Smoke City" because of all the steel mills that used to run on coal.  That's all gone now, but the mines live on, and anyone from here knows better than to go poking your head into an old coal mine shaft.  The whole area is riddled with old coal mine shafts, strip pits, slag dumps, etc. and being mostly "wasteland" they are prime playgrounds for off roaders like me and my Jeeps.  Not a year goes by that we don't hear of a death related to someone driving their vehicle off into an old mine vent shaft or something along those lines.  Old coal mines will get you killed, stay out of them.

But...  A new coal mine?  Utilizing modern small earth moving equipment like Bobcats and the like, with modern support and safety techniques?  Now there's an idea that might just make you rich (or at least keep ya butt warm).  Toro even has a line of small earth movers that I can see a lot of small mining potential in  <pictures below>

























Combine a small coal mine operation with a shop, blacksmith operation and maybe a livery stable and you got a post SHTF job that would make you the center of the community and a valued asset.  I have already started dabbling in blacksmithing (learning stage) but was pleased to find out my daughter-in-law's dad, already has made a gas fired forge and has already forged and pounded up a few items for himself.  It's all food for thought!

Now the methane gas idea wasn't a "Tim Suggs Original", and I did give credit to a brain fart that had conjured up an old M.E.N. article, so I'm trying to do it the right way.  The "figgerin" part has already been done, just got to locate a M.E.N. back issue index and ought to be able to order the reprint of the article.  They way he used inner tubes as "pressure vessel" to both store the gas and provide the pressure needed to push it into a heater was quite ingenious!  Anyone got an M.E.N. article index?





Offline meancoyote

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2008, 08:06:29 PM »
Most all my firewood comes in the form of pallets, I can get more then I need very easy around here. The blm sells permits to cut firewood in the hills, but I was spending too much time and fuel getting it that way. It is cheaper to buy firewood from the tree trimmers then to cut it my self. Right now pallets are the best and lowest cost firewood for me, that may not always be so. I am planting trees allot on my property, but the plan for now is to let them grow for a time when other wood may not be so easy to get.

Offline simpleguy

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2008, 05:32:37 PM »
I too get pallets from my uncles company and if you get friendly with the arborists, you can get green wood for cheap and season/split it out of rounds yourself.

Offline JLMissouri

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2008, 01:23:43 AM »
 I  am not too fond of the hybrid poplars. I have a five acre woodlot, and only one cottonwood tree is in it. Don't get me wrong, for some it is a good idea, but I like a diverse healthy forest. For someone that burns a lot of wood it may not work, but I have not yet had a shortage of wood. I cut damaged, sick, or dead trees only. I have walnut, several kinds of oak, maple, locust, elm, mulberry, wild cherry, pecan, hickory, and several other species on my woodlot. It attracts a lot of wildlife, and looks a lot better. Also the timber is worth a lot more than the firewood is. I also agree that if you look around you can find plenty of wood for free, especially after an ice, or strong thunderstorm. You can even make money from city dwellers paying you to take away there fallen trees or limbs.

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2008, 09:02:35 AM »
Most all my firewood comes in the form of pallets, I can get more then I need very easy around here. 

Yeah, pallets were my Y2K "wood stockpile"  I learned that lesson after surviving Winter Storm 1993 that hit the South with just barely enough wood on hand to heat and cook with in the fireplace.  Even chopped up a $2000. leather couch for the wooden frame, but when your danglies are rattling because of the cold, you'll chop down the house piece by piece to stay warm.  It was 17 degrees, in my bathroom.  The water never froze in the pipes, but was frozen in the bowl, so the procedure was to "deposit" warm material in the bowl, wait 3 minutes for a hole to develop in the ice, then flush.  We still had natural gas as well, so I had 3' flames shooting out of the gas log lighter 24/7 for two weeks.  Kept 6 of us warm and alive in between influxes of burnables.

Tim.

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2008, 09:26:54 AM »
I  am not too fond of the hybrid poplars. I have a five acre woodlot, and only one cottonwood tree is in it. Don't get me wrong, for some it is a good idea, but I like a diverse healthy forest. For someone that burns a lot of wood it may not work, but I have not yet had a shortage of wood. I cut damaged, sick, or dead trees only. I have walnut, several kinds of oak, maple, locust, elm, mulberry, wild cherry, pecan, hickory, and several other species on my woodlot. It attracts a lot of wildlife, and looks a lot better. Also the timber is worth a lot more than the firewood is. I also agree that if you look around you can find plenty of wood for free, especially after an ice, or strong thunderstorm. You can even make money from city dwellers paying you to take away there fallen trees or limbs.

Hi JL, WELCOME to the group!  I would "prefer" to have a 5 acre woodlot full of 100 year old hardwoods, but that ain't happening soon enough to keep my butt warm.  But, a "designed" 5 acre woodlot with a self replenishing supply of wood is doable for me, now.  Yes, softwoods do have a LOWER BTU output, are DIRTIER, and will burn FASTER than a hardwood, but the fast growth, grows back from a stump, and relative low cost compared to 5 acres of hardwood are all +'s for me.

I have a "country" friend who has never cut a single one of his own trees for firewood doing exactly what you described for the "city" folk.  He's got an old logging truck and when he needs wood, he just heads off to the city to see if he can help them poor folks out with their tree problems.  He'll take down trees for free, he limbs and tops trees for free, and the resulting wood is all his.  I've got another friend who is "registered" with all of the small municipalities that make up the Greater Birmingham MetroPlex Area and he too has a "special" truck he heads out in just for storm damage (we got some last night as a matter of fact).  He's equipped with strobes, winches and chainsaws and does nothing but "open" the blocked roads and then comes back for the firewood after all the hoopla is over.

Tim.


Offline JLMissouri

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2008, 01:22:24 PM »
 Everytime a storm comes through my area I used to wish I could go out to clean it up. I have done it a couple times, and made good money at it. My job has kept me from doing things like that untill recently, but now I have a part time job, and work for myself. So I may just follow a storm next time. Thanks for welcoming me to the group timsuggs, I have been enjoying the podcasts for awhile, but only while working on something inside. I am only on episode 39.

backyardgardener

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2008, 07:01:43 PM »
Here's a way to heat a greenhouse: http://books.google.com/books?id=zHulf8_aB_4C&pg=PA25&lpg=PA25&dq=hot+box+manure&source=web&ots=3Q23j3Gyl3&sig=QPxKyInK8f1QlI-tZs9noRYiudE&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA25,M1

The composting manure (which is covered by dirt so you won't smell it) releases heat and warms the greenhouse all day & night.

Offline ModernSurvival

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2008, 01:24:08 PM »
Coal, hmm, lets see what I can add, unfortunately Tim it ain't good news but I guess it ain't all bad either.

I know a bit about coal, my Great Grandfather, my Grandfather and my dad all were miners to one degree or another and lived and grew up in the town of get this, Minersville, PA.  Really!  In fact my dad went to Minersvller High School and played foot ball for the "Battlin Miners" as did his dad, you get the point.   ;)

There are three main issues of digging our own coal.

1.  There is almost no known coal reserves left under private access rights.  It ain't like here in Texas where you might get lucky one day and get paid for the oil and or gas under you house.  When you buy land in PA for instance about 99% of the time the mineral rights are owned by "Reading Anthracite" http://www.readinganthracite.com/ or you will end up in a confusing rat hole maze.  For instance my dad's place the rights belong to "Judge Kern Inc." which was purchased by Charlie Martin Services, Charlie Martin Services is owned by "Castle Coal Company", which was absorbed years ago by you guessed it, Reading Anthracite!  :o  So unless TSHTF and no one was around to enforce the law digging you own will be hard.

2.  If the mineral rights are not owned and you so much as stick a shovel in the ground to extract coal expect the DER (Department of Environmental Resources) to visit you and lay so much crap on you in fines, fees, requirements that you would be better off buying it from a delivery service.

3.  When you get coal from the ground you can't just put a match to it.  It will always have some rock mixed in and some sulfur, etc.  When you extract coal it then goes to a "Coal Breaker".  There it will have rock separated out and be "broken" into various sizes such as "buckwheat" and "rice" and "nut".  When you buy coal for a furnace you buy the size that is most appropriate for your system.  If you try to just burn lumps it will either burn too hot or too cold or just not stay burning.  Too hot is the biggest worry, (google centralia  ;D).

So if you want to heat with coal the key is finding a supply that can deliver to you, which is getting harder and harder as coal falls under the thumb of the green eco cops.  The beauty is you could stock pile tons of it and it will never rot or go bad like wood can.  It is already 50 million years old, what is a few human life times more.  It is very efficient and the warmth from a coal stove is wonderful.

The other side is it is a lot of work.  At my grandmothers I used to take out the ashes every day in the winter and spread them on the driveway for the ice, etc.  It built character but it also got old,  :o

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2008, 02:02:42 PM »
Coal, hmm, lets see what I can add, unfortunately Tim it ain't good news but I guess it ain't all bad either.

Thanks for the input Jack!  My Grandfather also was a coal miner as well as several before him.  I think everybody in this town worked at the Black Diamond Mines at some point in their lives before it was shut down years ago.  And everything you said made sense, so much so, I'll take your advice of stockpiling over my idea of digging.  I guess storage would be easy too, just toss it in a hole and dig it out as needed, maybe I could get some old mines and refill?  Ha!  Wouldn't that be ironic.

Tim.


Offline archer

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2008, 04:24:35 PM »
Does it absorb water? Would being exposed to lots of water affect it?

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2008, 04:36:09 PM »
Does it absorb water? Would being exposed to lots of water affect it?

I don't think so, it's pretty much a rock anyway and comes "straight-out-the-ground" as we say round har.

Tim.


Lucretius

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2009, 04:30:44 AM »
A Coleman lantern actually produces a lot of heat, and has a lot of good properties.

They are much safer than candles or other open flames. Those are a big no-no in this house during any emergency (and they are the prime killer in an ordinary power failure...).

They are cheap, you can get a lot of them!

In a really long catastrophic scenario, you can burn almost any liquid fuel in them (IF you choose the right model, and IF you're prepared for the nasty smells some of them gives off... :P).
I've talked to people that has siphoned gas from their car tanks for a lantern, or even burned cooking oil in one.

Of course, they're nothing like a wood stove or such, but they do get the temperature from really chilly to almost comfortable...

Offline Heavy G

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2009, 07:54:43 PM »
(This thread has been selected as a “best of” thread by Heavy G.  You can search for “best of” threads by using that term in the search mode.  Everyone on the forum is encouraged to reply to a post they think is “best of” worthy so we can all search for them.  For more information on the “best of” thing, see http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=3423.0 )

Offline TimSuggs

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2009, 09:57:18 PM »
(This thread has been selected as a “best of” thread by Heavy G.  You can search for “best of” threads by using that term in the search mode.  Everyone on the forum is encouraged to reply to a post they think is “best of” worthy so we can all search for them.  For more information on the “best of” thing, see http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=3423.0 )

An honor Heavy G!  Thank you!

Tim.

Offline longhaul

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2009, 01:26:19 PM »
Great thread - it's a crucial issue in cold climates (I am in Vermont) - it will be easier to feed ourselves than heat ourselves. 

Coal requires a lot of things to get it (diesel, parts to fix the machines, a machine, more parts, more diesel) so I wouldn't put stock in it.  Biogas/methane is cool, but complexity to some extent in keeping it going.  Wood is simple, bombproof. So is passive solar.

Wood is where I put my energy.  (If you're in a warmer place you can easily heat a wel designed and built home with sun alone via passive solar (glass and mass). 

We are growing fuelwood hedges similar to what the guy starting this thread described. Only we use other species like Alder as well.  Osage orange works fantastic further south (zone 6+) where most of you are. 
Coppicing is the strategy - it's thousands of years old.

But along with producing the wood - reducing your wood need is just as key.

So key steps are:
-Insulate the cr-p out of your house.  I mean you can't go too crazy on this within reason.  Almost no homes are well insulated in the US.  Focus on the roof and bottom floor first, then walls.  A ton of info on this online. anf for other weatehrization strategies.  So weatherize, weatherize, weatherize.  The better your home heats itself the less time you spend tracking down stuff to heat it, whatever the fuel.

If you have the coin use solar hot water for domestic water and heat via radiant slabs.  We work with people on this professionally and I advise them to put 10K in solar hot water right off the bat for a radiant slab and hot water in sinks/showers.  You can't beat it, panels last decades and can be repaired. The system runs on little electrciity that can be powered by a small PV panel.

My bet is on the simple, durable and locally-sourced heat systems.. in high performance homes. 
My goal is spend minimal time gathering the cord or less my home needs (1500 square feet) in Vermont, so I can spend my time fishing, hunting and growing food and swimming in the river and drinking cold ones.  !



Offline longhaul

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2009, 01:29:18 PM »
I forgot to add types of end use heating options for the wood...
My top 3 would be:

-Masonry oven/russian-finnish masonry stove
-High efficiency non catalytic wood stove (with tons of mass located next to it like stone)
-Efficient wood cook stove

Ideally they all heat your water too plumbed into a hugely insulated tank (90 to 150 gallons) that gets heat from solar hot water panels as well.


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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2009, 08:14:10 PM »
I came across some useful info in my search for alternate energy methods.

CHP: (combined heat and power units) - If you're going to burn fuel to generate heat why not add a turbine and generate power as well? You could use one of these to generate hot water, heat for the home and power. In the summer, run it at a reduced rate at night for hot water and some power (I believe in multiple power generation methods being the best system) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cogeneration http://www.toolbase.org/Technology-Inventory/Electrical-Electronics/combined-heat-power I can think of a couple of ways to build one of these, I'm still searching for a decent "DIY" design. Any fellow architects / machinists / engineers on the forum?

Radiant Heat: Passive devices which capture heat from the sun or the earth and radiate it into the house through the night. This can be as simple as painting empty food cans black and building a "wall" of them to go on the Southern wall of the home. Seal it into a window box arrangement and run a duct from the floor, through the passive array and back into the home and it will draw air through itself, heating it as it goes. Add some gravel or sand to trap heat and it will continue to radiate warmth all night long. This can also be used to heat water and there's a way to make it cool the house in the summer though I'm not sure how that works.

Geothermal Anywhere: I'd prefer a nice property in Arkansas or Tenn with a cave or two, geothermal springs and under ground flowing water for a micro hydro -but- if you can dig six feet or so into the ground you can heat and cool your home. The temperature underground is a consistent value year round, a radiator type "snorkle" system can be used to pull that stable temperature into your home and also take away heat in the summer. (I'm still looking for an affordable DIY design).

I like the passive solar systems and the CHP device ideas - if you're going to burn something to generate heat you end up wasting around 60 to 70 percent of the energy in that fuel up the chimney.

TXL0ngsh0t

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2009, 01:30:07 AM »
Forgot to add -

A CHP unit can be driven by things other than wood, methane, bio fuel, gas, etc. Concentrated solar could supply the heat which drives the system.

In the summer time, the CHP could also cool your home and provide food refrigeration year round by using the heat to drive an absorption cooler. I'm working on a design and plan to build some test units in order to try and come up with something small and affordable. I'd appreciate some help from anyone with expertise in machinery, steam turbines, solar power, optometry (lenses, reflectors, etc).

I'm thinking a parabolic reflector similar to what's used for solar cookers in India - align the focal point on a copper "boiler" which will heat contained water into steam.

Use the steam to drive a sealed turbine, the turbine will drive circulation pumps and a generator.

Run water supply pipes through the boiler to capture the radiant heat, pump the water into a highly insulated storage tank. The tank would feed hot water for bathing, kitchen use, etc.

Run pipes under the floor of the house and into radiators using pipes which are heated by the hot water supply / boiler (contained and seperate from the potable water supply). This "coolant / heat medium" could contain anti freeze or other chemicals to help it transfer heat efficiently. Use rate of flow and metering of a seperate "cold" supply to control temperature of the radiant heat system.

In the summer, redirect the hot water supply into an absorption cooler unit instead of the radiant heat system. A set of coolant pipes and radiators at the top of the house could circulate coolant to absorb heat from the house and carry it into the chiller. The return flow would bring cooled water into radiators / fan units (which could be driven by the coolant flow using turbine impellers in the system), radiate cool air into the house and then flow up to capture radiant heat and carry it out of the system.

Minor adaptations of the system could also add atmospheric water generation to it's capability, providing de-humidifying capability which helps cool the house even more as well as creating pure water for drinking with simple filtering.

Basically, built correctly you could use this system to provide for a number of life support needs / nice to haves approaching close to 100 percent efficiency. Add photovoltaic solar power, batteries and wind generators combined with low wattage appliances / LED lighting and you could generate all the power you need and have plenty left over for industrial uses, charging batteries for transportation, creating hydrogen for use as fuel.....

It helps to try to think of solar / wind power as a commodity that can be stored in other ways than just charging a battery. You can harvest power from the sun as thermal energy, as chemical energy (hydrogen generation), etc. Being more creative makes it a viable energy source.

A lot of these things were being done better a hundred or even a thousand years ago. Ancient societies knew how to use the sun for energy even without electronics. They has solar powered ovens, water heaters and mechanical inventions like cooling fans and pumps.

You can take a deep water reservoir and add salt in stronger concentrations as it goes deeper. The different layers of salinity will not mix and will sit with the strongest brine water at the bottom. Sunlight on this reservoir will get hotter with each layer. The bottom layer in one of these will reach 194 degrees. The salt water "thermal battery" will retain the heat and could be used to generate hot water via passive heat radiation. There are literally hundreds of ways to do stuff like this.

« Last Edit: March 11, 2009, 01:37:43 AM by TXL0ngsh0t »

TXL0ngsh0t

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2009, 02:22:56 AM »
I think I've found the best way to heat a structure in the Winter time. It's called "Annualized Geo-Solar Design". Basically the system uses passive construction features to capture heat during the warm months and then slowly release it back into the home during the cold months. It's completely automated and it not only really works, it works better and better every year it's in place. It's also dirt cheap to build and has no ongoing maintenance costs. It's been used in all types of construction from homes to large office / industrial complexes. The best part is the same system will also keep your house cool in the summer. (70 degrees with no energy used, year round if the design and construction are done correctly).

http://www.greenershelter.org/index.php?pg=3

As an example - You would build a thermal roof using sheet metal on the outside and a well insulated attic space. Pipes run from the attic down into the ground under the house, usually to a depth of 6 feet or so. The house needs to be insulated well everywhere except the floor. All summer long the pipes carry heat down into the earth below the house and it takes time for the heat to transfer back up through all that earth and into the floor of the house. The 6 foot formula works well, usually by the time it starts to get cold the heat is making it's way into the floor and up into the house - warming it with nothing except passive conduction.

The first year the system will maintain a 60 degree temp in the house. Only enough fuel or solar heating method is needed to make up for a 10 degree difference in order to reach a target of 70 degrees in the house.

The second year the home will maintain 65 and the third it will maintain 70 with no added heat at all.

The heat transfer also helps keep the home cool in the summer time since all the build up of heat is being moved into the thermal storage space below the house. A good design will work with no fans needed to move the hot air. If fans are needed, they can be small, solar powered ones since the air needs to move slowly in order to get the most out of the storage space. Other alternatives use solar heat arrays outside the home and use water to transfer the heat under the earth. Industrial versions will use things like molten salt in deeply buried tanks in order to hold even more heat and give absolute control over the release.

A system of water pipes running through the deep earth space could be used to give absolute control over the amount of heat transfer. Thermal loading pipes can be used to supplement the Summer heat gathering with wood burning stoves, compost heap biomass heat, etc. It can be dead simple / all passive construction or much more complex - it's all up to the builder.

Sensors can be used to monitor how much heat is being stored and how quickly it is working it's way up through the earth and into the floor space. Solar chimneys can be used to conduct heat from the space under the house to second story rooms and so on. I've been planning to build a very extensive underground shelter using the latest techniques from some books I own but I do plan to add one of these systems in to make sure I have energy free heating and cooling.

Offline ClarkB

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2009, 12:01:59 PM »
When we were looking for a homestead this past year we saw a couple of places (in upstate NY) which had their own natural gas well.  One house was built in 1850 and had the original (non) insulation and windows, and you could see daylight through some of the cracks in the stone foundation, but it was toasty warm. They would just turn the thermostat up!   We were shown the wellhead at one pace, which was located in a little shed about 200 feet from the house.  Very cool (er uh, warm).

Da Fat Kid

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2009, 10:58:46 PM »

-High efficiency non catalytic wood stove (with tons of mass located next to it like stone)

Why non cat stove ? the cat will make huge difference in the amount of heat you get from the same stove and cost to run is $OO. Also running a cat you will really increase the time between cleaning the flue. And the emmisions are way less. When mine is running there is no smoke.

Offline ClarkB

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2009, 12:44:36 AM »
Why would you burn cats?  Isn't that inhumane?

Da Fat Kid

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2009, 05:11:35 AM »
CATALYTIC As in CATALYTIC burner that burns the smoke to generate additional heat!!!!

Offline khristopher23

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2009, 07:08:14 AM »
     Another  good source of cheap or free wood would be to talk to a local construction. My dad heats with wood, and I have a cousin that has bobcat business that pretty much keeps my dad in wood for free. Every once in a while he may pay him a a little for the trouble. I also had and uncle with a bigger setup with a track hoe and larger dump truck that would do the same. At one time he had about 5 years of wood cut, split, and stacked in his woodshed, which kept growing a little more every year. He got so much cheap wood, that even though he lives on 33 acres of woods, he hasn't cut anything off his on land in a while.

   As far as the mining idea Tim, 10k for a bobcat would buy a helluva lot of wood or coal. But the bobcat could also do other duties as well, I understand that. And, any excuse you can find for owning something is cool as a bobcat is fine with me. I have been trying to convince my wife that I need a tractor (and maybe even a bobcat) to maintain our 3/4 acre wooded lot,but I think it's a loosing battle for now.

Offline LGM30

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Re: Self Sufficiency Heating Options...
« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2009, 11:07:02 AM »
Why would you burn cats?  Isn't that inhumane?
Do you get more BTUs of the long hair ones or the no hair ugly ones? ;D