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Friday, February 24, 2012

Keeping the Home Fires Burning, Sort Of

Steve and I really like heating the house with wood, but the back of the house, which is how we describe the bedrooms and bathrooms that are really to the side of the house, is the last to heat up and the first to cool down.  Consequently, the back of the house is nearly always uncomfortably cold. Like you don't want to take off your clothes to take a bath or get into your jammies cold.

My original plan, and one of the reasons for the new bed, was to be able to move my dresser to one side of it to free up the wall on which the dresser sat, so that we could install a small wood-burning stove.  My idea was to build a small fire in the morning to warm up the bedroom, and with an Ecofan on it, blow warm air into Steve's office, which is very cold on winter mornings. The door of his office is directly opposite the door of our bedroom, and the warm air could be directed straight across.

However, my lovely groom didn't want to start punching holes in his brand new metal roof, or start disturbing the new insulation over our bedroom, and I had to concede that he had a good point. We researched ventless gas fireplaces, but turned up disturbing stories of more, not less, moisture in the air, mold, and other unpleasant side effects.  So when we ran across electric 'stoves' in the local Coastal Farm and Ranch Supply, we had something of an epiphany. But we didn't buy one there. Steve, being Steve, wanted to go home and do some research first.

The new stove, not fitting on the rug
This is the little bugger that we bought, and installed in our bedroom Thursday night. This morning, when I woke up at a quarter after four to go potty, I closed the bedroom door and turned on the stove and hopped back into bed for another half hour. When we woke up, the room was a lot warmer than it would have been without it.  I left it on with the bedroom door closed while we made the (real) fire and coffee, and I'm happy to report that I was finally comfortable getting ready for work this morning.  I offered the stove to Steve to take into his office but he manned up and said he'd put on a sweatshirt if he got cold.

Now, I know what you're thinking: didn't this woman want to become more self-sufficient?  What does using electricity for heat have to do with that?  I think that if we hadn't put the solar panels on the roof, I might not have accepted this outcome to my plans as quickly as I did, but I have to admit that it was a whole lot cheaper and a whole lot easier than my original plan.  And I don't expect it to be too terribly expensive because we'll only use it in the mornings.  Did I mention that it's pretty quiet, as well? The box itself doesn't get warm, because the heat blows out the bottom, and the 'fire' never gets warmer than a small candelabra bulb.  This evening when I got home, Steve climbed into the shower and I needed to get out of my work clothes and into my jammies, so I turned on the stove. With a remote.  And I could feel the warm air blowing into the room from across the room.  It's a pretty cool little appliance.

Ugly fireplace going away
At some point, well into the future after I have the current projects on the docket completed, I'll build a fake fireplace as a focal point for the bedroom and put the stove in front of it. It's really a heater that looks like a stove, so I figure I should complete the illusion.  I have no worries about being able to do it- in fact, compared to the last fireplace surround I built, this will be a piece of cake.

Ugly fireplace gone

But now I have another reason to dig weekend mornings.


DonkeyBuster said...

Something else you can do to help spread the warmth from the real fire... room to room vents near the ceiling, so the warm air can more easily move into those cold rooms. I've noticed them in historic houses here in the SW & plan to do it in my own house soon. I have a ceiling fan in the LR that does a good job of distributing the heat, but heat rises, so it's reluctant to come down off the ceiling & go through a door. =0)

Miriam said...

I think you have hit on a great solution, given all the variables involved.

Your fireplace surround looks amazing! I am so impressed - there's a lot of fine carpentry in that mantle! It's probably a good thing we're not neighbours, or you'd come home one day and find me curled up with a book in that chair by the fire...

Paula said...

That's a good idea, DB.

And you would be welcome in that chair, Miriam. I might even bring you a cup of tea....