Monday, 4 June 2007

Our wood burning stove.

The central heating in the cottage is run on kerosene. This is a very expensive fuel, 2 hrs in the morning and 3 in the evening worked out at about £50 a week to run.

We only use it for showers and hot water now that we have our woodburning stove. The cottage is located at the top of a beech forest hence the name " Beech Cottage" and the landlord owns this land as well. He has given me permission to tidy up any fallen branches of which there are plenty. I have a wee Husqvarna 136 chainsaw and a trailer and spend a lot of my spare time proccessing beech logs for the stove. The stove, used properly heats the whole house. Sometimes, even in winter we have to open a window because its too hot. The house is built of engineering brick and the area behind the stove stores the heat for many hours after the fire has gone out.

I had to build a log store to stack and dry the logs for winter. Wood can be so wet that water splashes in your face when you put the axe through it. Wood will burn wet but messes up the chimney so it has to be swept more often, it also has to "cook" on the fire before it generates any heat. This can take up to 20 minutes, so its better if the wood is dried.

Hardwood is best for a stove as it burns longer, but if I come across some dry softwood I keep it by for the spring/autumn when we only need a small fire for an hour or two in the evening. Firewood is measured in cords. A cord of wood is a pile of tightly stacked logs measuring 8 ft x 4ft x 4ft. We used 2.5 cords last winter so I intend to have at least 3 cords stacked by the end of June. It has to be in by then to give it sufficient time to dry as its last in first out. Get the picture?

If you have a stove and are not sure how it works, put in a lighted firelighter, some kindling, some logs with the vents open. Once it has established itself, shut the vents. Every two hours or so add a couple of logs, it will keep your whole house warm.

At the moment we are hardly using the stove as the heat through the windows keeps the living room at a comfortable temperature until early evening. Most evenings I start a fire at about 7pm, and load it up when we go to bed at say, 11pm. The room is still warm when we get up.


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