Monday, December 5, 2011

The big woodstove

Yesterday, my lovely wife and I were gone for most of the day. We didn’t get home until late. By then the kitchen woodstove had gone out for some hours. Outside temperatures had dropped into the teens. Inside the house, it was 45 degrees. Lighting the little kitchen stove kept the temperature from dropping any further, but it did little to make the place warmer. Good thing the bed has a big pile of warm blankets.

I still hesitate to burn heating oil. Instead, I put new stovepipe on the basement woodstove and fired that monster up. That stove is airtight and can handle a log almost 3 feet long. With a good bed of coals and a full load of wood, it can burn 12 - 14 hours. Now the house is getting toasty.

This time of year, it’s important that the basement stays warm. Everyone in the cold north worries about their plumbing freezing. I’ve got that concern, and a couple others.

The solar electric battery bank is in the basement. A warm battery bank can store more electricity than a cold battery bank. That’s one of the reasons a car is so hard to start in the winter time. Not only is it harder to turn a cold engine with its cold thick engine oil, the battery itself has less power to work with.

I have waste veggie oil stored in 4.5 gallon jugs down the basement. If the oil gets too cold, it’s impossible to pour it into my truck’s fuel tank. I built a heavy duty storage rack that can safely handle over 200 gallons of WVO.

I had hoped to put a bit more insulation in the basement, but that project got put off a bit when my water pump failed. Water is priority that trumps other projects. Maybe I’ll get a chance to do the extra insulation within the next few days.



  1. I assume you have heated fuel tanks in your veggie oil powered vehicles, right? Do you put heating elements in the tanks or on the outside of them? Do you insulate them? I see that the engine in my new toy has an engine block heater, but I haven't figured out how to turn it on. Trouble is, I have been working too hard on this job. Want to get it done so I can do my stuff.

  2. I dropped a copper coil into one of the fuel tanks. Engine coolant runs through the coil. The tank isn't insulated, but it heats up so quickly I haven't bothered.

    Usually all you have to do with the bock heater is plug it in. It's always on. There's a thermostat that cycles, keeping from getting too hot.

    Hope you successfully wrap up that job soon so you can play with your new toy.