[Greenbuilding] firewood moisture content - a question for Norbert perhaps

Sacie Lambertson sacie.lambertson at gmail.com
Tue Dec 13 10:13:30 PST 2011

Guess I need to better understand what you mean here Corwyn.  We do not use
the ash in any way.  We live in Kansas where the soil general is pretty
alkaline and I have no interest in making soap.  We have 80 acres on which
we can dispose the ash.  I figure once spring comes I'll simply scatter it
hither and yon where I would never walk.

As for the bedroom, it is generally above the main floor and shares about
half a wall with the rest of the house and that wall is, like most of the
inside and exterior walls made of 6 inches of EPS, so is as well insulated
as the exterior wall.  In the bedroom we've also built a large bookcase on
that wall, with a plywood back.  Moreover it is up long stairs.  The door
is by no means tight, but it does prevent most cold air from moving into
the stair well.  When we slide open the door in the morning the first 3
steps seem somewhat warm compared to the room itself but by the time we
turn the corner to the main part of the stairs, the temp goes up 20-30
degrees.  If we were paying good money for propane to heat I wouldn't like
this situation (and might have wanted another door at the base of the
stairs) but we have more than sufficient wood so the cold air that drops
into the living area below is OK.

The basement is eons away.  The floors of the house are all concrete over 3
inches of foam (except for the bedroom up those stairs and my warm open
office up another set of stairs).  The air flow from the basement up the
stairs, across much of the length of the house and up the stairs to the
bedroom would be mild at the most.  Ventilation is achieved via bedroom
windows opened opposite each other--or from a single large opened window
when it is well below freezing.  So far we have not frozen the pipes in the
tiny adjacent bathroom sink.

We are indeed loosing heat from the bedroom wood t&g floor to the bathroom
below.  If I were to carpet the entire floor this would alleviate this
situation.  We have btw, no wood in any of our walls, just EPS and lots of
rebar, all covered by stucco inside and out with a drywall plaster on the
inside.  Moisture in these walls is in fact a problem.  The person who
designed the walls spec'd no rainscreen presumably because there is no
wood--but we should have recognized the problem ourselves.

In spite of my rejoinder, I appreciate the comments.


On Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 11:07 AM, Corwyn <corwyn at midcoast.com> wrote:

> On 12/13/2011 11:22 AM, Sacie Lambertson wrote:
>> anyway, last
>> year I started a distinct ash pile which I will wheelbarrow off next
>> spring, so much easier now to just dump ashes, hot or not).  It is funny
>> how one learns new lessons even after many years of making fires.
> I am not sure that this is a good idea.  There are a bunch of soluble
> chemicals in wood ash.  Putting a pile outside will mean that that area
> gets too much, while the final resting spot gets not enough.  Unless, of
> course, you are collecting the runoff to make gunpowder. :-)
>  We never heat our
>> 200 sq ft bedroom, indeed open the windows there throughout the winter
>> (put gaskets on a sliding door that leads down to the rest of the house.)
> I recommend against this.  The problem is that inner walls are not going
> to be air tight.  Thus when you open the bedroom window, the stack effect
> will make the warm air flow OUT.  This means that the inflow of air will be
> from somewhere else in the house (probably the basement). You are getting
> fresh air in your bedroom this way.  Additionally, you may now be getting
> surfaces in your house which are below the dew point of the warm air, which
> means they will be condensing water, leading to mold and rot.  Sliding
> doors are also notoriously leaky.
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