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Master Geek


Topic # 14610 11-Jul-2007 21:38
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Just wondering what type is better overall in terms of heat, value etc out of pine, willow or gum? Just been having a look on trademe but don't really know what to go for as they all say it burns well. Also does anyone know where to get good cheap dry firewood in the Wellington area?

Our place is quite damp, we want to get a good dehumidifier but can't afford it at the moment (cheap students). We would love to get the fire cranking though, especially in this weather.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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  Reply # 77805 12-Jul-2007 01:35
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Think a mix is better.
What sort of fire you have-Open or box type??
Pine burns pretty quick
Other woods are denser and last longer-Gum, manuka, etc but then they cost more too

Chris
Waikato




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  Reply # 77806 12-Jul-2007 02:03
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We use a mix of Pine and Makarakapa, which we find to be a very good combination.

During the day I use the dehumidifier, just a cheapy from the warehouse but it does a better job than the other two expensive ones weve got.

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  Reply # 77818 12-Jul-2007 08:54
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As far as value goes, you get what you pay for: the hotter the wood burns the more you pay for it.

And if you can't get the wood for free and have an open fire it's a pretty expensive way to heat your room.




 

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Reply # 77822 12-Jul-2007 09:12
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  Reply # 77823 12-Jul-2007 09:27
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freitasm: Probably not as expensive as a gas heating solution. Gosh our gas fireplace eats some dollars in winter.



The best mix of wood is probably pine and macrocarpa - pine is a lot cheaper but does burn faster.

Gas isn't cheap like it used to be in the old days. The advantage of gas however is the near instant heat. What is strange in NZ however is why so many people have portable gas heaters yet they are about the most inefficient way of heating a house and also pump close to 1l per hour of moisture into the air as well as all the carbon monoxide. They are banned in a lot of countries yet NZers seem to love them.

If you want a warm house it's hard to beat a heat pump, you'll pay about 25c - 30c per hour with current electricity costs to run one which is cheaper than a woodburner (unless you can get free firewood!) or gas.

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  Reply # 77826 12-Jul-2007 09:44
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Consumer firewood price survey (subscriber only): $104/cu. m for gum, $93 for macrocarpa and $71 for pine in Wellington (the most expensive city in the country for firewood). Or there's several truckloads of macrocarpa sitting on the Magpie Lawn in the Botanic Garden at the moment - follow your nose - but it won't be dry for a couple of seasons. And it's probably too difficult to get it out without getting caught. Can't beat macrocarpa and manuka for smell in an open fire!

We're currently burning gum, it doesn't feel that dense but it sure burns well. Next we'll be into the apple tree, it's as solid as concrete, makes the gum feel like a lump of polystyrene in comparison. After that is holly which feels pretty dense as well (certainly gave the chainsaw a run for its money). I have given up on trying to burn cabbage tree, it's too light and smoky, I chucked it back out into the garden. Will have to think about what to cut down next. Probably one of the unidentified weed trees from the infestation at the bottom of the section.

Mauricio - Consumer also says an open fire is 20% efficient at best. Wood burner 60%, and you should have 10 cu m of wood for a winter with a wood burner. So open fire 30 cu. m for the same heat perhaps? Expensive... I'm sure your gas fire can beat that!




 

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  Reply # 77831 12-Jul-2007 10:26
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"Will have to think about what to cut down next." I've seen the inside of a rental property after a tenant moved out where the only thing holding the roof up was the fireplace since all the interior framing had gone up in smoke.

Regarding Heat Pumps, this post on OCNZ is food for thought.



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  Reply # 77857 12-Jul-2007 15:38
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Thanks for the replies guys, we have an enclosed box type fire place if that helps with anything. Would love to get a heat pump but we're renting and can't afford it. We do have a gas heater which we're currently using but it costs about $30 to fill the tank which only lasts a few weeks give or take a few depending on how much we use it. Would definately rather be using wood though.

Pat.

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  Reply # 430202 23-Jan-2011 15:34
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I've been doing firewood and burning it for most of my life, so for me it's interesting when people ask about firewood.
When buying Pine first ask if it's out of the forest of old stuff off a farm, and here's why;

Forest Pine: Is young pine and is good for starting the fire and that's about it, burns very quickly because it's young soft wood

Old Man Pine: It will burn for a lot longer and put out more heat, is heavier then the forest pine because of it's age and density, look for the dark brown sap which if made into kindly will light without paper (don't shut it right down at night it will stink your house out)

Macrocapa: A great second wood after the pine and what most people don't know like the sappy Old man pine will burn green if you have a good base of embers and split small, a great wood but only in closed fireboxes (sparks a lot)

Blue Gum: Takes a year or two to dry out, needs a good base of embers to put it on, great night time wood

Manuka: Like Blue gum, takes a year or more to dry, but a great slow burning wood

SUMMARY:

I use A mix of Old Man Pine, Macrocapa and Gum for the night time when we go to bed.

Don't underestimate the Old Man Pine, it really is value for money when you can get it.

A good fireplace with a wet back will save you a lot of money in the winter!!

Heat pumps: everyone I know that has put one in says the same thing;
Big cost to buy and install, then there's the cost of the power, wish they didn't do it.

gzt

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  Reply # 430631 24-Jan-2011 16:24
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ekewoods, if you had just dropped a 120 y/o pine, other things being equal, would you be inclined to split it immediately or leave it to dry out for a while?

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  Reply # 430646 24-Jan-2011 17:07
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I'm still a novice on the fire front, having only done one full season with a wood burber. I too like having a good mix, the pine we used burnt really fast but was good to get it started. Some old gum later one burnt nice and slowly as long as I didn't introduce it too early on. I think we had a little bit of totara too that was quite good.

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  Reply # 430674 24-Jan-2011 18:43
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gzt: ekewoods, if you had just dropped a 120 y/o pine, other things being equal, would you be inclined to split it immediately or leave it to dry out for a while?

You want to split wood as soon as you can to get it drying evenly and thoroughly.  The wetter (in terms of sap) the wood is when it burns, the harder it is to burn and it does so more inconsistently. It'll also line your chimney stack with more creosote than than need be, creating a potential fire hazard if the chimney isn't kept swept out.

@ FatTofu - as others have said, a mix is best. Gum is one of the best woods for burning in terms of the heat it throws out, but if you burn too much in one go, you run the risk of burning out your firebox!

I haven't lived in a house with a fireplace for about 7 years now and really miss having one!

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  Reply # 430705 24-Jan-2011 19:59
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/laughs at nearly 4 year old thread brought back to life and no-one else commenting on it

Anyhoo - my 2c - Dry pine to get it roaring and setup a good bed of embers then a nice dense wood (macro, gum, tea tree) to get it hot and keep it hot.

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  Reply # 431369 26-Jan-2011 12:55
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In the middle of summer too!

gzt

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  Reply # 431373 26-Jan-2011 13:03
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Ragnor: In the middle of summer too!


Best time to get it cut and dried ;   ) 

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