Friday, December 31, 2010

Heating Adventures (Post 1 - Woodstove)

I'm sorry, but this post is going to be pretty long.  We want to document a lot of what we did in case we ever want to do it again.

During our time in Tennessee we had MANY adventures.  I will mostly likely blog about each of them here.  Even though these various adventures took us out of our "comfort zone" we somehow still enjoyed them and loved the fact that we had learned from them.  Here is a picture of one of our nice cold mornings (below).  The multi-room thermometer panel  was a gift I gave Kevan for Christmas last year.  I have to admit it came in really handy and I didn't want to get it for him.  lol!

As you can see from the picture our bedroom was 39 degrees!  The outside temp was 26.  I have to say that I am VERY thankful for our heated mattress pad.  I'm not sure I would've survived the night without it.  We love it.  It is so funny....we felt like we were camping each morning.  Our bodies were nice and warm under the covers, but our faces were FREEZING....just like when you camp.

To give you a little background, the "Sullivan House" was purchased at an auction.  It was not known at this time that 2 of the rooms (add-ons to the original house structure) did not have heating vents like the other rooms in the house and also the gas furnace that provided heat to the remainder of the home did not work.  A new gas furnace was purchased before the previous owner passed away, but was never installed.  So, guess what!  The auctioneer SOLD IT!  We did not know when we arrived from Florida that we would be freezing our TOES OFF for the next few weeks.  I was so glad I brought two pair of slippers!

After freezing for a week we went to Michigan for Thanksgiving and my wonderful big brother gave us his woodstove because he no longer needed it.  Below is a "before picture" that he took with his phone.  He had some water damage in his home which caused the stove to rust.  Sorry for the bad pic, but I forgot to take before pictures.

Once we arrived back to the Sullivan House Kevan and I began working on the stove after work to prepare it to be installed.  Kevan helped me setup a work space in the barn and I set out to sand all the rust off of it.  I used a 18-volt Dewalt Hammer drill with a wire wheel on the end.  I also used an angle grinder here and there, but it was so powerful I had a hard time keeping control of it.  They were both battery operated too so I did not have a lot of time.  The batteries ran down pretty quickly.

When we were finally finished with the sanding we bought stove/BBQ paint and Kevan painted the stove.  It only used one can.  On the doors we used "William's Stove Polish".  The stove turned out lovely.  I think it looks so much better.

We waited about 24 hours after we painted it and then Kevan and his dad purchased a chimney kit from Tractor Supply and an extra pipe, then installed it in our sunroom.  They had the stove and chimney installed in about 5 hours.  We actually had to record the SEC Championship game because they were not yet done with installing the stove so we paused the game until they were ready.  I'm such an awful wife for making him wait to watch his game, but I wanted heat!


This is a picture of the room and the woodstove.  Yes, that is an air conditioner behind the woodstove.  It also includes a heat option, but it uses 3 KW's.  Wood is much cheaper.  Also, please excuse the junk all over the floor!


A few things we have learned since getting this stove. 
  1. Size matters - it is too small to heat more than the two rooms adjacent to it
  2. The stove board (black mat under the stove) is too small and we have burned little holes in the floor because coals or debris have fallen out of the stove when we open the doors.
  3. The type of wood you use is VERY important. 
  4. It takes a lot longer to create a hot fire in a cold stove than I initially realized.  One of the most important things to do is to try and get the stove warmed up as fast as possible (by burning kindling, paper, etc)
  5. When you have a tiny woodstove you have to get up every few hours during the night and refill it with wood if you want the house to be warm when you get up in the morning. 
  6. When you go to town you make sure you aren't gone more than 2-3 hours or your fire will be out and your house will be cold when you get back.
  7. We are hoping if we come and stay here next winter that we can get a chimney reclaimer (chimney fan).  This will help us use the heat we are wasting when it goes up the chimney.
Overall, we love our little woodstove and I am sooooo thankful that my brother blessed us with it.  It has been a great experience too and we have learned a lot about wood heat.  Stay tuned for our "gas furnace" adventure.

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