Sunday, November 09, 2008

Burning wood

A couple of years ago we had an energy audit of our house. One of the suggestions made was that we had a wood burning stove in the living room. So when a small savings policy matured recently we decided to have one installed.

Our energy audit man had recommended a local firm so we duly went to see them in July. They recommended Clearview stoves which they said made the best stoves on the market. So we duly put down a deposit, and arranged for the stove to be installed in October, which was when the policy matured.

The installation, which took 3 days, was a bit of a business. We had to have a new flue liner installed which meant that the installer and his boy spent a lot of time on the roof. Our old gas stove was taken out, the original brick fireplace revealed, and a nice hearth made of old fashioned brick tiles cemented in. Our little black stove now stands demurely on this, its round black stove pipe leading up into the chimney.

Of course if you have a wood burning stove you need wood. We had an initial delivery from a man recommended from our stove supplier some time ago, before the fire was installed. That was fairly expensive but turned out to be very good slow burning wood. We have also had a delivery from a local tree surgeon, which was cheaper but not quite such good quality. The stove seems to eat up wood at quite a rate so we will have to keep getting it in.

I have of course thought about making bricks from our newspapers, and indeed have had a newspaper brick making machine mouldering in the outside shed for some 15 years. I made a few last week but they did not turn out very well. They also took about five days to dry out enough to be able to burn, plus during the drying out process they started to disintegrate. I haven’t given up though. On reflection maybe I need to soak the newspaper longer before putting it in the mould. However, I can see the drying time is going to be a problem.

But it is lovely having the fire. We can watch the flames through the glass door, and the wind in the chimney gives out a soothing background wuthering. It’s a bit more work lighting a wood stove than just switching on the gas heater, but it has much more personality, and has given a whole new look to the sitting room (along with the new hearth rug, and the wood store). It is also nice to know that our heating is not at the mercy of whoever controls the few gas pipelines into this country, plus at a pinch we could also cook our dinner on it (I did do a steak and kidney casserole the day after installation, but my husband said it marked the paintwork).

I will go back on topic with my next post I promise!

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