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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

One issue with wood heat



My lovely wife and I were gone from the house Sunday. Currently we are only heating with woodstoves. That requires someone to be around to keep the home fires burning. Sunday morning I fired up the kitchen stove, but we left before it had a chance to really make the house toasty. My daughter came in during the afternoon and fed the stove.

My lovely wife and I didn't get back home until almost 1 a. m. Monday. The outside temperature had dropped down to -5 Fahrenheit. The part of the house furthest from the woodstove had dropped into the low 40s.

I stoked up the kitchen stove but decided I really had to get some sleep. By morning the outside temperature was down to -11 and it was pretty cold inside the house. That is when I decided to get serious and lit the massive woodstove in the basement. Between that and the kitchen stove it finally started to get warm. Even so, it took all day to get the house really toasty.

If we were going to be staying for the whole winter I'd buy some heating oil and hook up the hot air furnace. That way we could leave the house for a few days without worrying about everything freezing solid.

It's enough to make me miss living in a one room hunting camp. In a couple of hours the woodstove could heat it from subzero to shirtsleeve temperatures. There was no plumbing to worry about freezing. Bathroom facilities were an outhouse. Modern houses have more comforts, but they are a lot less robust. I'm just happy no plumbing froze and burst.

Woodstoves are great, but someone has to take care of them.

-Sixbears

19 comments:

  1. Wow. I've been away from Indiana for four years and you just reminded me of freezing pipes. We'd keep the faucets running during the ice storms we had, and we wrapped the exposed pipes under the house with electric wired tape. But still, the worry was always there.

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    1. Pipes in the basement were just starting to freeze before the woodstove kicked in.

      If your power goes out that electrical tape does you no good. It's a worry, for sure.

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  2. We have a light bulb on under the house in the winter. Just enough heat to keep pipes and washing machine hose from freezing. In the winter we stay home or don't go away for more than 8 hours so we can keep the wood stove going. That's just the way it is.

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    1. It was easier to be away when there were more people living with us. Someone was always around to feed the stove.

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  3. Keeping the fire clean and going 24/7 is a full time job. Hubby digs a pit each winter before the ground freezes for all the ashes.

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    1. Winter in cold climates is no joke. I really would have like to stay in bed a bit longer this morning, but then the house would be that much colder when I got up.

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    2. Warming up a home inside does take a lot of heat to overcome all the cold soaking the floors, walls and ceilings have in them. Certainly not telling you anything new but a small price to pay to live as free as you can!
      Stay warm...
      Wondering about how many cords of wood you use if you stayed all winter?

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    3. 5 or 6 cords of decent hardwood pretty much does a winter.

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  4. I have lived with fuel oil, electric, and gas heat. Absolutely nothing warms you like wood heat. I have two stoves and in a short time, can get this house to 80 degrees. Sometimes it's hard to reach the stove because of all the critters laying around it sucking up the heat. Stay warm.

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    1. Often I've got to move the dog so I can feed the stove. She wedges herself halfway under it.

      I've moved my laptop to the kitchen table to take advantage of the direct heat.

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  5. Life is easier without the inconveniences of plumbing. The more "comforts", the more expenses, the more cash required, the more time spent at work instead of out in the woods, the less physical exercise, the more ailments...and on and on. Not sure why they call it "progress" ...

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    1. Not sure my own self. Nothing comes without a price.

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  6. If you have a strong stomach, you can eliminate those butt-chilling visits to the outhouse with a slop jar! ;-)

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    1. No thanks! At the camp we kept the toilet seat hung on a hook behind the woodstove. We'd take it out to the outhouse when we needed it. It was nice and toasty.

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    2. what a good idea!!!
      deb h.

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  7. the warm feeling from a homemade nuclear pile evokes the same to me....

    Wildflower

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    1. That warm green low cuts down on lighting expenses too!

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  8. I nearly burned down our house in 2012 with a wood stove in the basement. I had been cleaning it annually, but the pipe went up three stories (it was in the basement) and I guess I didn't do a thorough enough job. The chimney caught on fire in the middle of the night and my smoke flare and other precautions didn't work at all. Fire department had to come put it out.

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    1. I've had one myself, which is embarrassing for a former firefighter.

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