Ideally, a wood cook stove should be your cooking range as discussed in The Winter=Heating Design Time. What’s more efficient than a single unit that cooks as well as heats your house and hot water? Nada. So, why even bother with another post about cooking options? Well, well, well, what about cooking in the summer? Did you even think about how you’re going to bake? What about other renewable energy source stoves?
Winter Wood Cooking, Summer Wood Cooking
We initially were planning on having an EcoZoom stove and the Kimberly stove in our tiny house. We thought we’d need the extra cooking space in the winter, but we decided that would be overkill exhaust piping, so we’re planning to rig up some type of flat-plate to increase our cooking surface on the Kimberly. This may be a disadvantage of the Kimberly; The Little Cod has a place for two burners–something we’re definitely going to need to replicate somehow on our stove. For summer options, we’re still considering an EcoZoom to cook outside. They’re still awesome and affordable units, and they run on twigs–I love things that run on twigs.
For wood cook stoves, The Baker’s Salute Oven adapter seems to be a great option by Lehman’s. It does need to be close to your stove or at least close enough to get over 250 degrees, so it might be tricky maintaining your stove’s cooking surface with this unit. Also, you’ll have to have the right size stove pipes for compatibility.
Sun Summer Baking and Cod Oven Dreams
We’d love to create and build a cob oven for our future farm homestead. Although this would cover our baking and pizza cooking needs, it’s a down-the-road option. In the meantime, we’re looking to use a Solar Oven.
Heating for Alcoholics
Kai and Sheila from 2cycle2gether.com have found a wonderful alternative to a propane stove: The European Marine Air: Origo 6000 Oven with Stove. Being powered by a renewable source and having less toxic combustion gases makes this stove a sweet option. Visit Kai’s very detailed writeup on the unit here.
Fantasizing about your heating system comes naturally in a Syracuse winter. Living in an awful steel framed modular split ranch, we are constantly reminded of poor insulation and heating needless square footage. This scenario sets us up nicely to argue over that little waist high 2 in. x 2 in. white box on the wall, the thermostat. How do couples reconcile comfort and erroneous fuel consumption? An efficient building envelope and heating system are an excellent start.
Common Winter Quotes: Chris
“How many layers do you have on?”
“You’re in bed! You don’t need to heat the whole house!”
“You don’t even have long johns on. I wear a pair everyday!”
“Did you just turn up the thermostat? Honey, it’s fine in here.”
Common Winter Quotes: Michelle
“It’s freezing in here. My feet and nose are cold.”
“Are you cold?”
BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. “It’s only 62 degrees in here!”
The Northeast Heating Option Winner
For the Northeast, the resiliency and self-reliance of an efficient wood stove is unmatched. Like Ben Falk, I attest that everyone should have a wood cook stove in their house. If efficient, it’s a single system that provides your house with heating, hot water, and a cooking range.
When considering a unit, looking at the whole picture is important. Will the unit last multiple generations? Is the fuel source renewable? Does my system rely on forces I can’t control? What are my costs and bills? How much energy does it cost to create these systems (embodied energy)? Are my system’s components recyclable? Does it fit into a tiny house? Here is a quick general breakdown of three systems for heating, hot water, and cooking:
Wood Cook Stove
Super Efficient Solar
$20,000 + PV panel cost
A little labor
Wood Cost or Self Harvest
Electric & Gas Bills
Indoor Air Quality Safety Required
Indoor Air Quality Safety Required
Excellent Indoor Air Quality
100-Year Plus *depends
20 Year Out-Dated System
30-40 Year System
Very Low Embodied Energy
Middle-High Embodied Energy
Very High Embodied Energy
When looking at options, you can’t beat the simplicity, durability, user-friendliness, and cost of a wood cook stove. Knowing that a wood cook stove is our most resilient choice, what’s the next step? Finding a tiny one!
Love at First Singe
What better place to look for an efficient wood stove than the finalists from the Wood Stove Decathlon by The Alliance for Green Heat. Although a lot of awesome international and national options, The Kimberly Wood Stove by the American Roger Lehet won my heart. His stove is two feet tall and 10 inches wide, engineered to last, looks sleek, and super efficient with a cooking top. This puppy can get an eight hour burn out of a pressed log, and you can heat your house with twigs during the day. Twigs or a half cord of wood is our estimated heating cost–amazing. Roger is currently developing a hot water heating attachment for it, too.
The Price of Love
Love always has a price, right? The Kimberly retails at $3800; however, the payback and future savings is immediate using pellet stove exhaust pipe and the lower cost of heating your house for decades. Passion and quality trumped our startup budget; I needed to have this stove!
“Shits and Giggles” Turn into Action
For shits and giggles, Chris types in “Kimberly Stove” on Ebay. Low and behold–there one is! A young couple is shying away from their RV life for their anticipated newborn, so they’re selling their just purchased stove. With zero liquid income, Michelle and Chris use some credit and start to post Chris’ car on craigslist for sale. Trading fossil fuel hoarders for fossil fuel purgers are the best trades. After a fierce auction battle (not really), we purchased the Kimberly for $2700. Fantastic. Now we have a trailer and wood stove–I think our order of operations is skewed.
Runner Up: The Little Cod
A lot of tiny house dwellers like our new tiny house friend and advisor Rowan and 2cycle2ether’s Kai invested in one of these puppies. Kai has a nice write up on his stove choice–here. It’s efficient, small, and very affordable. These are currently priced around $1050. $1600 for an enameled one.
Honorable Mentions + Electric Options/Backup
Electric is an extremely inefficient way to create heat; however, there are some new technologies that are less irrational when it comes to the idea. Also, tiny houses have the benefit of heating a small space, so it’s less crazy.
Principium, the beginning. Seeking ecological redemption and further economic freedom, a tiny house plan materializes. Off the grid dreams…here we come!
Can Chris convince Michelle to move into a 200 sq ft dwelling? Nope…a tiny companion studio compromise is born.
The Rabbit Hole
“The rabbit hole” may be an understatement when researching and contemplating tiny house designs and building science principles. It felt like wrapping my head around Oregon’s Malheur National Forest’s amillaria solidipes (fungi), the largest living organism known. We were inspired and encouraged by a lot of tiny houses.
Michelle and I work for her contracting business doing energy-reduction audits for low-income families in New York State with the EmPower NY program. It’s a rewarding gig, but it’s infrequent work, so our budget is limited even though we supplement this job with other part-time work. We’d even qualify for the state’s program, haha, so we’re counting on salvaged materials and resourcefulness to make this project materialize. So, every move and decision we make is heavily influenced by our funds.
That’s why it was wonderful to find The Tiny Tack House plans, an alternative to Tumbleweed’s $800+ tiny house plans. The Tack’s sell a 28 page PDF for $175, which includes the building’s framing, steel hold down locations, framing materials list, interior built in structures and purchased products list, and a plumbing schematic. Malissa and Chris even answered a lot of our questions after we bought the design. Although we’re making slight modifications, we have stayed consistent with their overall design. Visit chrisandmalissa.com for awesome pictures, time-lapse videos of the entire process, and tiny building designs.
We printed the plans and keep them in a binder, so when I come across information I want to incorporate into The Oneida, it’s nice to find the location in the plans to add my notes and adjustments. I love notes; I have a lot of them.
Other tiny house blogs have been innumerably helpful. Please check out the resources below for some highlighted shout-outs.
The reins are ours, Chris
Reflections, Hindsight, and Alterations
We’re happy with buying some plans and not trying to re-create the wheel.