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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wood Stove Love


We've been relying on our woodstove as our heat source for a couple of months now and it has been great. When we bought this house just over eight years ago, we had central heat and air installed (we didn't really have a choice, otherwise we couldn't move in) and we quickly learned that neither was efficient in an 1800s building that had no insulation. And old windows...

We purchased an old All Nighter wood stove, used but in great condition, from a man in a neighboring town who had been storing it in his shop for several years. One very hot, humid July afternoon we loaded it up on the trailer and brought it home (not the time of year when anyone is thinking of wood stoves, so it's the best time to buy one) and got it into the house.

It took us an entire year to get the right person out to hook it up (which involved us scrapping our hopes of tapping into an existing chimney, building a new hearth from scratch, installing a shiny new stainless chimney through the wall and out above the roofline, etc...) because, of course, no project in an old farmhouse is ever as simple as you plan it out to be.

But it paid off, and now instead of heating the yard with an expensive gas central heat system, we are actually warming the inside of our house with wood from our beloved tree that fell during Hurricane Irene.

We are now in the midst of rearranging a couple of rooms to better take advantage of the heat flow (swapping the spare bedroom with the living room will bring the living room closer to the heat source) and in addition to the series of fans we use in the evenings to move the warm air, we hope to install exhaust fans in a couple of walls so that we can better heat the upstairs.

I have to admit that after eight years of running a central heat system full steam and it barely being enough to keep the pipes from freezing, sitting by a hot wood stove late in December is quite a luxury. It's more work than just flipping a switch on the wall to heat the house, but it's well worth it. The hearth has become a regular gathering place in the mornings and evenings, and the wood stove has also been doubling as a cook top for soups and stews.

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