This morning it’s not especially cold out (27ºF/-3ºC), but a tad chillier than usual down in the kitchen and living area (48F/9c) in spite of being unusually warm inside (?62) when we went to bed. The house doesn’t usually cool off that fast, but we did have high, stormy winds overnight which probably explains it (also, we slept in a lot later than usual.) The good news is that the new chimney did not collapse in the blow (there were some doubts.)
We’ve pretty much renounced the space heaters since getting the wood stove installed– I have one heater plugged in to the portable programmable thermostat, set to 45º just in case. (In case what? Hm. I guess in case I slip into a hypothermic coma here in the house, and so fail to keep the stove running– at least then the space heater will keep the pipes from bursting until my heirs can take possession of the house.)
Admittedly, though, this wood stove is seducing us into a bit more warmth than we’ve been used to. It takes a while to heat up 300lbs of iron and the 50lbs of stone under it, but once that happens, it starts getting warm in here. The problem is that for safety, efficiency, and emissions minimization, the stove has to burn at a certain minimum temperature of about 300-400ºF. But keeping the stove even just at 300º, consistently, takes the living areas up into the low- or even mid-60′s. And I tell you, once it gets above 62 or 63 in here, I start getting drowsy and overheated. It actually got to 66 at one point last week– I had to start pulling clothing off, and take a break out in garage until things cooled down. This could all be fixed by taking down the quilt that keeps heat from going upstairs, or putting in a ventilation grate up to the bedroom– but that all seems backwards.
I love using the wood stove, though. What it lacks in instant gratification, it makes up for in simplicity, beauty, and a tangible connection to the fuel that is keeping us warm[ish]. I love seeing the wood pile and admiring the uniqueness of each log as it goes into the fire. I get to notice and envision what kind of tree each came from– oak, birch, beech– and I almost catch myself expressing gratitude to the trees for their help. You don’t get that emotional connection to oil or propane.
Also, I love seeing the oil and propane delivery trucks driving in and out of the neighborhood, and knowing that none of them will be stopping at my house.