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Old 08-08-2019, 01:51 PM   #27
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: cold

Originally Posted by Sid03SVT View Post
The EPA has performance standards for oil, coal and pellet or wood stoves. Speaking of the latter, those sold since the 1980's have been regulated by the EPA, regulations have gotten significantly tighter since then.
Current wood burning emission standards are 4.5g of smoke per hour of use, in 2020 that goes to 2.0g of smoke per hour of use (EPA Phase II). There are other particulate requirements as well, and although the EPA doesn't specifically require a catalytic converter on stoves sold, good luck meeting the requirements without one.

Note: California only allows EPA Phase II compliant wood stoves to be sold currently (2.0g/h), so they are stricter than the rest of the country (until 2020).

Heat also doesn't run "24/7" heating season in my area is late October/early November to early/late March (New England, specifically CT); light heating required in the beginning and end of the season, heavy heat usage is Mid-December Through February. You can look up heating & degree day information if you wish to educate yourself further, but we've been having heat waves since June and I sure haven't been trying to heat my house.

3 cords of seasoned hard wood roughly equals 2.5 tons of coal, or 510 gallons of No.2 fuel oil; that is about 21,000 kWh of electricity, which would be required to heat the average well insulated house in my area with electricity through a typical heating season; if it's an older house or has lighter insulation and/or cheap windows, then heaven help the owner.

My current electricity usage is just under 600kWh per month (slightly more in the summer for cooling, & Dec/Jan for Christmas lights), even if the heating was spread equally across five months that would be an increase of 4,200kWh per month for five months straight. If everyone in New England switched to electric instead of coal/oil/wood, the seasonal demand on the grid would be insane.

Now mix in the added demand of an EV (significantly less than a heating system) @15k miles per year is about 5,400kWh of demand per year or 450kWh per month, double that if it's a two car household.

Another important factor of course, is money. At the low end you are paying $0.20 per kWh in CT ($0.08 for electricity, $0.12 for distribution), what that means is the 4,800kWh per month for heat and regular usage in the winter months will cost the average person $960/month, and nearly $5,700 annually ($120 x 7 months + $960 x 5 months). That is ignoring an EV or two instead of gas burners.

Solar you say? A 44,000 watt system would be required to meet the average demand. That's about 138 panels (65"x39"), or 2,430 square feet of panel, or roughly a 50 foot by 50 foot square of panels (butted up edge to edge).
There is already talk of banning natural gas, Berkeley CA just did it for new buildings. Electric heat is going to be insanely expensive for anyone in a colder climate. When I lived in North Carolina I had a heat pump at a rental house and it had to turn on the "emergency" heat to actually keep the house at a comfortable temperature (when it's below 40F out), which is like heating your house with a toaster. I'm skeptical newer designs are that much more effective... how well can a heat pump work when it's 20 F outside without some kind of inefficient supplemental heating?

In Germany they have switched to expensive renewable energy sources for electricity (and Russian gas...), but everyone uses wood stoves to heat their house which of course contributes to particulate emission concentration, same as the dirty VW diesels!

There's no easy affordable answer. And I say that as someone who has a Tesla (charged at work) but runs everything else in the house on natural gas.
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