Northfield, page 6
The House
5/23/00 - 3/18/01
Drilling 2 300-foot wells for the
ground-source heat pump
A loop of tubing is fed into the well so
that the refrigerant circulates down into
the well and back up again.
That white goop is like oatmeal that fills
the 4" well casing around the tubing for
Tubing is looped from well to well the run into the house basement where the heat pump is.  This works like a giant
refrigerator in reverse.  The refrigerant is circulated through the ground to pick up ground temperature of roughly 50
degrees.  It is then brought into the house and the refrigerant is cooled to about 38 degrees.  The excess heat is used to
heat the house - no kidding!  In the summer, the process is reversed where the refrigerant is warmed from the house and
returned to the ground to cool off, cooling the house.  It works!  But the house has to be really, really tight.
To test how tight the house is, the house is closed up completely and
then this fan gizmo is installed in one of the doors (the kitchen door in
this case).  The fan blows air into the house, pressurizing it.  The
pressure is then measured to see how long it takes for the pressure to
equalize with the outside.
We moved in August 1, 2000
Here is a view of the kitchen looking
Standing in the same spot, this is the
dining room.  The building paper is still
on the floor to protect it.  Looking
Still standing in the same spot, turned
around, here's the living room, looking
Standing in the northwest corner
looking south at the living room
Standing near the fireplace, looking
northwest.  Miss Kitty is testing the
"scritchability" of the post...
Another look at the kitchen, this time
with Robin in it.  Looking north from the
dining room
Christopher admiring his castle
Robin enjoying the dining room and
bay window
More views of the kitchen and dining rooms.  Different time of day, different light...
The center table is now in the kitchen
Chris & Dad cutting some more firewood
Robin found this awesome huge wine
bottle that we placed at the end of the
fireplace and filled with cat tails from
the pond at the foot of the driveway.  
These views give some looks at the
fireplace and the open ceiling in the
dining room (to the left)
We need to build progressively larger fires in the firebox to break in the fireplace and
to set the refractory cement.  A full fire right away might crack the stove...
That's our other cat, Al, making sure the fire doesn't go out...
10/17/00, 6:30 PM
With flash
Without flash
10/17/00, 7:00 PM
12/19/00, 2:30 PM
Using a "top down burn"
Stack the wood "log cabin" style...
12/19/00, 3:40 PM
Then light the fire on the top of the
12/19/00, 6:00 PM
And it burns down through the pile.  With the fire on top, as the wood below warms to
burning temperature, giving off gases, the gases pass up through the fire and burn
rather than condensing in the chimney and creating creosote.
12/19/00, 6:10 PM
It's a freaking inferno in there.  This will burn through in about 3 or 4 hours, heating the whole mass of masonry around it.  
No smoke comes from the chimney when it's burning like this.  That's how complete the combustion is.  Smoke is
incomplete combustion.  What is left in the firebox when it's all done are just a few gray ashes.  The damper at the top of
the chimney is closed and the heat from the whole masonry mass radiates into the house all night long and into the next
day.  Pretty cool, huh?  It works really well!
The fireplace with the cat tree...
The cats really like the Christmas tree...
12/25/00, 11:00 AM
With the sunlight streaming in and the
masonry stove radiating, it's a warm
and cozy Christmas!
Mom, Dad, & Chris
The dining room after having lived here for a few months...
Meanwhile, while all that masonry was going on, there was a house being built around it.  So here's more on that...
Note the air intake inside the doors.  It's the same on the other side of the fireplace.  This
draws the air in through a pipe to the outside and brings it up inside the doors.  This way the
fire isn't using warm inside air and sucking it up the chimney.  The air washes up over the
doors to keep them from sooting up...