Monthly Archives: November 2008

Off-Grid Lighting v.5

..came home today to an odd rotten egg smell in the place. Not one to particularly like the smell of rotten eggs I closed the door and followed my nose. The good news is that this is a superquick tracking is either food, the toilet or the portable power unit. It would be a pretty odd post to make it the food don;t ya think? Yes, it was the power inverter/battery. More specifically the battery of the pack. I bought the thing 5 years ago and I think the batteries simply have up. I drained the batteries frequently and did not always charge it in a timely fashion. So, the lights in the place when the generator now consists of candles and headlamps. I now memorize the headlamps locations..and steps from one to the other for when A* takes mine or falls to sleep when doing crosswords in the middle of the night. It does not seem to matter if I try to memorize my steps when I do have to make the trip from one location to the other..I always make it 3 steps..shuffling my feet so I don;t bang that precious little piggy and end up facing the wrong direction. I think I am reaching for the doorway and I touch the curtains of the window on the opposite side of the room. Anyway, I took the battery out and am looking for a replacement. And sleeping earlier.

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Posted by on November 24, 2008 in Construction, lighting, power


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This is an ecofan on the newly installed woodstove and the hastily created hearth pad..still no backing for the stove but a friend is working on some sheet metal for me this week..

They have a thermoelectric module that generates electricity based on a thermocouple, which exploits the difference in temperature between the stovetop and the ambient air, a phenomenon known as the Seebeck effect.”

Woodstoves work by radiating heat so generally the area around the woodstove is hotter then other areas in a dwelling.  What an ecofan does is use the heat generated from the woodstove to turn a fan which helps circulate the air throughout the room/rooms of a house. It works really well and you can really feel it when you are sitting 10-15 feet away. When we head to bed we also turn it to point at the bedroom so that extra airflow is encouraged. Before we moved in my mother gave it to me as a gift and it has made a huge difference to our comfort in the place. When I was a child we had woodstoves and we would attempt to do the same thing by installing a small fan in the upper corner of the door to the room with the woodstove in for the same reason, to encourage hot-airflow. In houses with an upstairs you don’t really need something like this as hot air rises. In the ‘old days’ it was not uncommon to see a 10inch hole in the floors between the 1st and 2nd floor ( it was usually covered with a grate too :)) don’t see these much anymore as people are usually more concerned with how something looked rather than air-flow…but then again in the ‘old days’ people would primarily heat thier dwellings with wood. like us! So, if you have a woodstove, go out and spend the $ will not regret it!

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Posted by on November 15, 2008 in heat, Purchases


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wood stove install

..yeehaaw..we have heat other than kerosene! We have been in here for almost 2 months and while the kerosene has done a good job of keeping us warm so far we needed a more permanent solution..installing our wood stove. I created the temporary hearth pad a couple of days ago in the new area…I had been planning on having it all tiled and grouted but life got in the way. We did have a stove installed when we bought the place but it was in the middle of the room and it took up too much space so we moved it to the outside wall near the kitchen area. We still have not finished the room but we have the roof and wall done where the wood stove is going to go

Jango and Nova helped too..they barked whenever I swore!..they sure were barking up a storm!

..we went overboard and put fire-resistant cement board all around the area where the stove is going to be..for the extra $20 for the cement board it seemed like a no brainer.

the cement board is the drywall that looks like concrete..HEAVY

Getting the cement board up on the ceiling was a was so heavy and floppy that it took us almost 45 minutes to get the 1 piece one point we did not thing we could hold it up any is easily 5 times heavier than regular drywall.. Anyway..the installers called as directed..and I drove the truck out to grab them..the road is not ideal and we have had some people show up to give us an estimate who turned around once they saw the condition of the ‘road’. I asked them to park at a friends place at the end of the trail and we came in to do the work. During the install we needed a piece of pipe so A* went out to get it while I stayed with them..10 minutes after she left I got a call from an irate tandem truck driver..apparently my friend was getting 5 loads of topsoil delivered that day and the installers truck was in the way. truck to drive out so I had to jog out with the installers van keys to move it. One thing became apparent..I am out of shape. It is around 2 km away and by the time I got there I was sweaty and tired. I moved the van and started back.

WHen I left the installers were still planning..when I got back they had a hole cut in the ceiling and we beginning to cut into the roof. We planned on having the pipe exit through the roof rather than the wall as it can help with heating having the pipe run inside the room..We DO try to do everything ourselves but this is one of the exceptions..anything where there is danger of damage or personal harm we leave it to the experts ( plumbing, electrical and wood stoves )..we don’t want to worry that the house will burn down now do we? Inside the living area is a regular stove-pipe..where it meets the ceiling is a junction and the pipes switch over to insulated piping. By the time the insulated pipe was all installed and the pipe cap was on A* returned home with the needed part..just in time! We moved the wood stove in from the shed ( it was much easier with 2 strong men rather than 1 stong man and a strongish woman! ), set in on the pad and 10 minutes later they had cut the 3 lengths of stove pipe, connected it and we were handing over the cheque! Done! The whole thing took around 2.5 hours..I drove them back up to their truck and came back to start our first fire! I had no kindling or even a hatchet so I went outside and collected some twigs and bigger branches…I crumpled up some newspaper, made a teepee with all the smaller twifs and lit it up..5 minutes later and all of the twigs and branches were on fire..and I added a big log..15 minutes later we had a fully functioning inferno in the wood stove! No more kerosene heat…now it was just a matter of how long the 2 cords of wood would last! It is so nice heating with has been nearly 20 years since I have had a wood stove and I really missed it..I love the heat it gives off, the smell of a fire burning in a house and that fact that if I ever needed to I could burn wood from my own property foverever!..not that I am planning on it but its a nice thought!


As of right now the wood stove is missing the top has the breadwarmer but I need to get a new piece for it..When I was moving it out here the piece that attached to top to the base snapped ( cast iron too ) I need to either get another from the manufacturer or weld it somehow..

need to get those stickers off the pipe!

So..there is still one thing I need..a heat shield for the back wall behind the stove..I already asked my friend who works in a sheet metal company to pick me up a sheet..we are going to attach it behind the stove this weekend..then it is all done..for now.
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Posted by on November 11, 2008 in Construction, heat


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Wood stove hearth pad

We arranged to get our cookstove installed in a couple of days and I have run out of time to properly create a hearthpad for the woodstove. I have all the materials that I need now but I need to do it up so the cookstove can meet regulations for WETT install and insurance. I do not want to have issues with safety in regards to fire so we are doing everything by the book. We only have the bedroom done at this point but the first thing we needed to do was to have drywall/firebrick in place for when the install took place. Last week we put up the 3 sheets of drywall up on the walls to the location of the install..then we put up 1 on the roof..Where the actual flue would go through the ceiling we decided to go with a cement is more highly resistant to heat and fire..For the extra $20 there was no point in skimping. The biggest issue was with the floppyness and was really hard to get into place..usually t takes us about 5 minutes to put up a sheet of drywall once it’s cut..this took us 35 minutes..and once we started we could not stop due to the fact that we did not want to try to lift it over out heads the end our arms were very tired..but we got it up and the only things left before we had the install was the hearth pad and the heat shield behind the stove. The shield was ordered from a friend in the shape of a sheet of sheet-metal. The hearth pad was going ot be made by me. As per usual, I ran out of time so I got to it tonight…2 days before the stove was to be installed. Not enough time to use adhesive or we created a hearthpad placeholder. We cut out the design we wanted..fairly typical from the other pads I had seen..basically a rectangle with the front ends cut off. I needed to keep within regulations so that the stove would be 18 inches from the wall and have another 16 inches in the front and 12 on each side. After that was cut I got down to tiling..or at least cutting the tiles we had to fit the pad with no grout lines. Having had many hours or practice in the old house I had them all cut and in place in a couple of hours..and my next thought was: ‘why didn’t I just do this last week and do it properly?’..nothing new. I had called the installer beforehand to make sure this would be acceptable and he assured me that it would be fine for WETT Certification. So..all ready for the install!

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Posted by on November 9, 2008 in Construction