Soon the cooler weather will be upon us, as will those dreadful heating bills. Time to check where you can save energy dollars, so you can enjoy that money somewhere else.
- Prevent Heat Leakage – Weatherstrip doors, caulk windows, cover drafty windows, seal electrical boxes on outside walls, and tape air leaks in ductwork to keep the heat in.
- Fireplaces – For those used regularly, ensure the damper is closed after fires and install glass doors to reduce heat loss and cold drafts into the room. Unused fireplaces should have their dampers tightly sealed and the chimney plugged with insulation or a chimney balloon, otherwise it equates to an open window sucking heat out of your house. Better yet, install a high efficiency fireplace insert so you can actually enjoy the fire and supplement your heating bill.
- Insulate – Blanket your home with insulation to keep the heat in. Verify the insulation levels of your attic, basement headers and attic door access.
- Let the Sun Shine In – During the day, open blinds and curtains on the sunny side of the house and take advantage of the solar heat, then cover up again at night to keep it all in.
- Reduce Home Temperatures – Add another layer of clothing and save on your bills.
- Ceiling Fan – Use them in reverse mode from summer to help push heat down from the ceiling and mix with the cooler air below.
- Programmable thermostat – Lower your home temperatures while you are away or asleep. Every degree lowered for seven hours a day saves one percent off your heating bill.
- Zone Heat – Reduce temperatures in areas used less frequently by lowering thermostat and closing doors. Then add heat to areas where you spend the most time with supplemental heat from a fireplace, wood stove or portable heater.. Unused basements should have a base heat to keep floors and feet above toasty. Warm feet allow for lower air temperatures.
- Schedule Annual Furnace and Fireplace Servicing – To maintain peak performance and efficiencies.
- Maintain Furnace and Fireplace – Change your furnace filters regularly and clean your fireplace chimney twice a season if used regularly.
- Increase Humidity – Moist air feels warmer than dry, which allows you to lower temperatures and still feel comfortable..
- Upgrade Your Furnace or Fireplace – Technologies have improved so much that anything 10 years or older is worth considering for replacement. Let us compare your existing costs with those of a new high efficiency furnace. Savings will vary by model. Let us find the right model for you.
Nordic Energy can help you update or maintain your furnace or fireplace so you can start saving today. To schedule a servicing or a free in-home estimate, call us at 705-222-9403 or visit us at 2324 Long Lake Rd, or www.nordicenergy.ca. We’d love to help you save and get comfortable.
When you install a new stove or a new fireplace, you may have to update your chimney ventilation system. You may need to build an entirely new chimney, you may need to streamline your venting, or you could use the opportunity to improve an inefficient ventilation system that may have been acceptable for years, but not ideal. Get the job done right and you’ll enjoy energy savings that might surprise you.
FOLLOW THE RULES
When in doubt, ask about building permits. Chimney building permit and fees vary across Canada. In Sudbury, fees are adjusted annually. Most questions can be answered by browsing through the City of Sudbury building permits website or calling them during office hours.
YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T KNOW
Not all chimneys are created equal. Although there is some tolerance on sizing, consulting a chimney expert is a must to avoid undesired smoke spillage into the home. Some chimney designs and models are specifically developed for use with one fuel. Factory built fireplace and chimney combos are designed to work together. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, both units undergo testing together and are listed specifically for use together. Be sure to discuss this with your builder prior to making any commitments.
USE IT OR LOSE IT
To save money on materials, and make a positive move for the environment, consider repurposing existing chimneys in the house. Modern furnaces now vent through the walls of the house, Freeing up masonry chimneys to be used for wood or pellet appliances.. And don’t forget, many homes have unused chimneys that were blocked up to reduce heat seepage. Unblock that chimney, get it relined and use it if you can!
According to the Wood Heat Organization, good chimney performance looks like this:
- When no fire is burning, air should flow in to the chimney, not out.
- When lighting a fire, smoke immediately flows up the chimney.
- Smoke does not spill out when you open the fireplace or stove door.
ASK AN EXPERT IF IN DOUBT
To ensure the best results with your chimney and venting installation, rely on a specialist that will have experience with all different venting requirements. Visit our showroom to speak with a member of our expert team today.
It might be time to update that aging fireplace, Sudbury, and give your wallet a break. Old wood burning appliances can be very energy inefficient, wasting your fuel and money. But before you head out to the showroom, think about what exactly you want to invest in.
WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?
There are four main options for you to consider if you’re in need of an update:
1. A gas fireplace insert is convenient and low maintenance.
No stockpiling wood, no sweeping ashes, no tending the fire, remote control!
2. Pellet insert are more work, but only a small amount.
Fuel is fed to the fire through an automatic hopper, making it less work than a wood log fueled fireplace. Very environmentally friendly and can also be controlled by a remote.
3. Wood burning insert
The same amount of work as a masonry fireplace, but with better energy efficiency!
4. A new factory built fireplace.
You can completely replace your existing masonry fireplace if it is in poor shape, or if you no longer appreciate its appearance.
WHAT EXACTLY IS AN INSERT?
If you choose option one, two, or three above to replace your existing fireplace (as most people do), you’re choosing an insert. An insert is installed directly into the existing fireplace opening and can transform the heating efficiency of the entire house. By forcing warm air into the room using strategically placed fans and vents, inserts minimize the amount of heat lost up the chimney, or absorbed by the masonry.
It has been found that when temperatures reach below zero outside, as they commonly do in Sudbury, a fireplace will actually send more heat out of the room than in! The large ceramic window of an insert prevents air from going into the fire box and up the chimney while still providing you with an excellent view of the fire.
A great aesthetic benefit of an insert is the ability to blend seamlessly with the existing design of the room. If you’re happy with the design you already have, great- we can give you something similar! If you’re interested in changing the look, that is possible too! Inserts come in many sizes and designs, giving you plenty of freedom.
The only drawback of an insert is that your viewing area will, naturally, be slightly decreased.
CHOOSING A NEW FACTORY BUILT FIREPLACE
Factory-built fireplaces are often made of metal and use a combination of insulated walls, glass doors, air-cooled pipes and blowers to circulate heat. This option requires a complete removal of your existing masonry.
There are three main reasons why a homeowner might opt for this option:
- If the masonry on your existing fireplace is in very bad shape
- If you want to dramatically change the look of a room
- If you can’t part with the large view area of your current fireplace (as an insert will slightly minimize it)
As striking as the options can be, there is a trade-off: option for a complete replacement makes the scope of your update much larger. You will pay more than if updating with an insert, your update will take longer to install, and you will often require new venting as well. In addition, you might need to take out a building permit to have it installed- so prior to starting a job, check with your building authority.
Whatever you choose to do, we can help you with your fireplace. Sudbury has trusted us for more than 30 years. Stop by or call and see why.
The effectiveness of wood heating is impacted by a host of factors. Quality of fireplace or stove and quality of fuel are both important to consider when working to reduce your energy expenditures during the arduous winter months.
REDUCE COSTS LONG TERM BY INVESTING IN QUALITY
Installing any new heating system incurs a significant initial cost. Traditional fossil fuel heating systems (natural gas, electric, propane or heating oil) can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $7,500, while wood stoves or pellet stoves start around $1,000 and extend to $6,000 (some systems go beyond).
IS A MORE EXPENSIVE STOVE ALWAYS BETTER QUALITY?
Talking about a quality stove quality is really talking about two things:
- Heat transfer
Certification bodies like the Canadian Standards Association(CSA) look at these factors and certify stoves based on stringent criteria. Generally, heat transfer and combustion on CSA or United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified stoves are uniformly high.
Ultimately, the quality of wood stoves sold by reputable dealers is very high, and the choice consumers must make is for a unit that is aesthetically pleasing and suitable for household size and needs.
LOOK FOR QUALITY LOCAL FUEL
Firewood with high British Thermal Unit (BTU) content is best for a wood burning stove. High BTU content means fuel will burn for a long period of time. The highest BTU-rated woods that are available in Sudbury are:
While the lowest btu rated are:
– White cedar
– White Pine
Even the lowest rated woods contain BTU and will burn well if they are dry. The only kind of wood that you will want to always avoid is wet wood- regardless of the type.
Opting for a local fuel makes the most sense in many ways. A local fuel will be significantly less expensive. In addition, choosing local also means that you won’t be at risk of bringing an insect infestation back with your out-of-territory firewood- as in the case with the Emerald Ash Borer.
GET THE MOST FROM YOUR FIREWOOD
Freshly harvested wood (or green wood) contains a lot of moisture. Wood recently cut from a living tree, or that has been left out in the elements, can produce one quarter the BTUs as “seasoned” or sufficiently dry wood, or less.
How to Season Firewood
If you’re using wood that you’ve harvested, season it by splitting, stacking on a slightly elevated surface (such as a skid) with enough space for airflow throughout, and leaving it to dry for at least 1 full year.
The beginning of summer is the most ideal time to split and stack your wood- with the hottest air and large amount of wind. It will dehydrate the fastest at this time. It should be left uncovered as long as possible; when rainy season arrives, cover only on the top leave the sides open.
The true test for determining if your firewood has been dried sufficiently is to use a moisture meter- available at all fireplace supply stores. If you measure anything less than 15%, this is ideal.
If you can’t get a moisture meter, listen carefully to your stove or fireplace while you’re burning. If you hear sizzling- that’s a sign that it’s too wet.
CALCULATE YOUR ENERGY SAVINGS
Natural Resources Canada released a substantial guide to residential wood heating in 2002, which includes a valuable formula homeowners can use to calculate potential wood heating savings.
Click on the link above and navigate to pages 54-56 (56-58 if your web browser has a .pdf navigator installed, as most do). Use tables 1-3 to complete the formula outlined under the heading “Step 4: Using the Formula.”
The numbers used in this guide are reflective of prices from a decade ago, so we have updated the equation below to more accurately reflect the costs of today.
The Laurin family lives in an old, detached, relatively open-plan house in Sudbury. They heat their house with electric baseboards at a cost of 15 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). What would it cost them to heat with a high-efficiency advanced combustion wood stove with an efficiency of 70 per cent?
The cost of a full cord of hardwood is $300. From Table 3, their annual heating load is 120gj. Taken from Table 1, the energy content of electricity is 3.6 MJ/kWh and the energy content of hardwood is 30,600 MJ/cord. The seasonal efficiency of electricity is equal to 100 percent and the seasonal efficiency of wood sits at about 70 percent.
The annual cost of electric heating would be (0.15 ÷ 3.6) x (120 ÷ 100) x 100 000 = $5000.
The annual cost of wood heating would be (300 ÷ 30 600) x (120 ÷ 70) x 100 000 = $1666.67
In this example, if the high-efficiency wood stove displaced all of the electricity previously used for heating, the Laurins would save $3333 every year.
If you’re interested in using a form of wood heating in your home, come visit our showroom for expert advice on how to get started.
Clean burning wood stoves- Sudbury’s popular form of supplementary wood heating, are now more than ever, a great choice to meet the needs of environmentally conscious home owners.
According to the most recent information available from the Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources (OCCIAR), the average winter temperature in Sudbury grew by 2.4 degrees Celsius between 1956 and 2008 (data available here)
Additionally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization) released a report in 2013 stating with overwhelming certainty that climate change is intimately linked to human activity.
Click here for the report, summary, and notes
AHEAD OF THE CURVE
Being proactive in the 1980s, the US government Environmental Protection Agency issued a mandate requiring all new wood stoves to emit less than 7.5 grams per hour (g/hr) of smoke. Comparatively, fireplaces can emit up to 700 g/hr. Smoke particles are unused fuel-so seeing smoke means less efficiency.
More food for thought:
- Most old stoves operate around 40 % efficiency.
- Newer wood stoves run greater than 63% efficiency.
- Moisture content of wood is a factor in efficiency.
- Higher efficiencies can be attained with catalytic stoves with
A high quality stove with dry fuel can emit as little as 1 g/hr of smoke. This both maximizes the value you gain in terms of energy generated per dollar spent and minimizes your environmental impact.
POWERFUL ENOUGH FOR YOU
Medium sized wood stoves can produce enough heat to warm more than 2000 square feet of living space, and a ceiling fan installed in the same room as your wood stove will assist with heat flow through the house.
INVESTING IN EFFICIENCY DECREASES YOUR MAINTENANCE
Keep in mind wood stoves must adhere to safety standards that vary by stove. A good chimney design and supply of wood is all you need.. Snap a few inside and outside pictures of the space you plan to use for your wood stove and come by our showroom at 2324 Long Lake rd, Sudbury.