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Fireplace Furnace Heats Entire House
"We can keep our whole house toasty warm for pennies a day even in the coldest weather," says George "Bing" Ribble who converted his basement fireplace into a wood burning furnace that heats both floors of his house.
The Hettrick, Ill., farmer made the con-version because of the excessive heat loss through the glass doors of the fireplace he installed in 1976. Also, because the doors broke easily and had to be replaced frequently.
So Ribble had steel cut for an insert, assembled it and welded it together. He had to widen the fireplace opening for the insert which is 2-ft. high, 5 ft. wide and ex-tends 8 in. out onto the hearth. The exposed metal surface radiates more heat into the room and the new firebox holds more wood than the original fireplace.
He used a gasket sealed boiler door on the front of the furnace and made an air intake a 12-ft. length of 4-in. dia. PVC pipe that extends outside the home. A 6-in. fan mounts on top of the PVC pipe to force air into the fire chamber. The squirrel cage fan forces warm air into a trunk line and ductwork, which Ribble installed with the fireplace, in the center of the 30 by 46-ft. basement to feed four rooms on the upper level.
Ribble estimates the furnace burns five or six cords of wood during a typical heating season. He has an abundant supply of everything from pine to hedge on his farm, and cuts the wood into 24-in. pieces for burning.
"The only expense to heat the house is the electricity to run the squirrel fan," he says. "The system works great, too. You can be gone 14 hours and the temperature in the house will hardly drop in even the coldest weather."
Ribble built the system for about $200.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, George "Bing" Ribble, R.R.2, Hettrick, Ill. 62649 (ph 618 778-5752).

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1997 - Volume #21, Issue #1