Sunday, December 09, 2007

Our first heat with methyl esters, aka biodiesel.

So, our new heating device is an oil stove made by a company called Kuma. Ours is the plain utility model that costs approx. $1,400. They have a number of different stoves, from plain to fancy. Here's a website if you're curious:

I was all gung ho to do radiant heat for both the main floor and the upstairs (and the shop actually). Several things have swayed me to reconsider. First, I'm not getting this done fast enough to suit me, and radiant is much more complex to install. Second, radiant cost more. Third, radiant is harder to get code approval if your building inspector is a pickle head. Fourth, I'm not totally confident I could service an oil fired boiler myself. They take special equipment, yada yada. Fifth, one of the advantages of radiant in a conventional house is the nice even temperatures you typically get. But this is not going to be a conventional house. Once insulation levels exceed about r-40, cold spots and cold rooms effectively dissappear. So a complex heat distribution system becomes unneccesary. Lastly, radiant heat has to have electricity, which can fail at the most akward times. The oil stove doesn't.

Of course, there are some down sides. You have to light it with a match. It doesn't have a true thermostat, just low-med-high. There's no provision for a setback thermostat. But it's totally engineered for biodiesel and it's very simple to operate. No moving parts unless you count the float in the carburator.

Our finished installation will not involve a red plastic gas can, but a big tank in the basement with a smaller tank on the main floor in a closet. But this was a quick way to assess the utility of this system.

So far, it's a champ!

No comments:

Blog Archive