Friday, December 22, 2017

Hydro Alarm

The old style woodstoves didn't keep a fire overnight. The same could be said for the old coal stoves. Someone had to get up in the middle of the night to stoke it up. Setting a clock alarm would wake the whole house up. If you've ever had a baby in the house, that's the last thing you'd want to do. A common solution was for the man of the house to have a big glass of water before going to bed. The “bladder alarm” would get them up in the middle of the night.

It was a real plus if old granddad lived with the family. He was probably going to get up in the middle of the night anyway. He could stoke the stove while everyone else got some sleep. It also gave the old guy something useful to do in his later years.

My airtight fire chamber on my modern wood cook stove holds a fire better than the old free burning stoves. Unfortunately, when the stove is turned down like that, it doesn't quite keep up with the subzero temperatures we've had lately. If I'm up and can feed the stove regularly, it does heat our sizable house. In the mornings it sometimes takes three hours or so for things to get back to temperature. We tend to huddle close to the stove early in the morning.

I've decided to get a minimum order of heating oil. That way we'll be able to leave the house for a day without coming home to an ice castle. The order should come in just before we have a really cold spell, when it doesn't get above zero during the day. Winter can be a struggle.

Looking forward to heading south.



  1. Replies
    1. That's how I feel. You do what you have to do, even if you don't want to.

  2. When I was a kid living up north, we had a big coal fired furnace in the basement. You had to learn to bank the fire properly to keep some heat going all night. If you did it wrong, you either froze or it would explode blowing open the furnace door or worse, knocking off the pipe to the chimney.

    1. When I bought my first house, there was a coal stove and 750 lbs of coal. I burned the coal, then sold the stove, vowing to never deal with coal again. It can be finicky stuff.