Sunday, March 04, 2012

Stoves, Chimneys, and Efficiency


A Nice Story
About an Old Chap's
Old Stove

I've had a nice informative letter from Noel Hogan telling me about his granddad's unusual stove. Here is the letter:

Hi Tony,

I've been looking at your blog for the past year or so and have to say I disagree with very little if anything that you've been saying on it.

I just noticed that you've been talking about stoves recently and it reminded me about something my Grandfather had in his old house.

His stove had the flue coming straight up off the stove but instead of going up a chimney, he had routed it up through the ceiling of his kitchen. Once it was upstairs the flue took a 90 degree turn and ran the length of the house through a few upstairs bedrooms before finally exiting. A bit mad, but it meant that the flue was a radiator to the upstairs rooms and kept them warm. Cheaper than back boilers and rads I guess. I was wondering if you had any idea what having an exposed flue like this would mean for the stoves efficiency?

Anyhow I never saw the stove in action (although I did see the stove and flue running the length of the house) so I've no idea how effective it was but maybe there's a project there for someone to research. Maybe with today's timber framed houses and building regulations such a thing would be unworkable, but you never know. The stove and flue were removed when the house was renovated after he passed away so unfortunately I couldn't send you a picture - but I thought you would have appreciated the story anyhow. A simple idea done well!

Noel Hogan.

Thank you Noel for your interesting letter. Your grandad was a bright and inventive chap, as you rightly say, short of a back boiler and rads, he was doing the next best thing to get the heat around the house. I am not sure about a long horizontal run of flue being able to maintain a draught, especially when starting a fire, but the basic idea is essentially possible. Perhaps the flue was on a gentle upward slope.

The danger, apart from the heat, was of a leak in the flue causing noxious gasses to enter the rooms. Again, you are quite right about regulations, the fire department, and insurance companies would have something to say for starters.


No comments: