Saturday, November 5, 2011

The logistics of keeping warm at night in a wood heated house

Every year we go through the ritual of preparing for winter.  Since we live in a 110 year old house that still has the original windows and doors this process includes lots of sealing out drafts.  To further complicate matters we try to heat our home only with wood heat.  We have a lovely wood stove and small fireplace to accomplish this but it is far from perfect.  However it is allot cheaper than using our furnace in the winter.  Allot cheaper!

So every year we either order wood/get it free by watching craigslist or some combination of the two.  This year it was a combination of getting free maple wood and buying well seasoned apple wood.  Two of the best burners in our opinion.  We don't bother with going up to the mountains to cut for  the very practical reason that is is more expensive when you look at the gas to and from.  We always manage to find deals that are cheaper and the wood is already cut up and ready to burn.

Then comes cleaning the chimneys.  I bought a chimney cleaning kit at a yard sale for five bucks so there is a messy few hours of cleaning to do.

Next on our to do list is caulking windows, sealing drafty doors, and putting up storm windows.

Last but far from least is the annual changing of the bedding from cool cotton sheets and light blankets to thick soft flannels and heavy comforters. This is almost a ritual for me now.  It signals a big change in lifestyle and habits.  Mornings are spent restarting the fire and getting hot coffee, evening comes early and we gather in front of the fire to read or play games. For those in our family who like even more warmth I have been collecting down comforters and feather beds wherever I can find them.  I have four now and when you snuggle in flannel sheets with a down comforter thrown over your guaranteed a warm nights sleep.

I also snatch up all the 100% cotton flannel nightgowns and pajamas at thrift stores I can find.  They are much warmer than standard pajamas, breath naturally and wick away sweat so that your more comfortable.  And then I get out the rice bags.  These are bags of cotton filled with rice that you can heat up in the a microwave or warm oven.  They are like a hot water bottle and are great for heating up cold beds or putting on sore muscles or upset tummies.  These are lifesavers when it gets truly frigid outside.  The kids love them and beg for them at night.

This is very important because all the bedrooms are upstairs far away from the wood heat.  The upstairs stays cool to downright chilly no matter how warm the downstairs is, but as we've all grown used to it we aren't bothered.

The thing about wood heat is that the further from the stove you get the colder it is.  Having a two story house helps a bit because heat goes up.  And having fans helps too.  But still your going to have a big lifestyle change if you go from central heating and air to wood stove heat in the winter.

1 comment:

  1. We heat with only wood too. It IS different from the C/H, but, I wouldn't change it. I love wood heat!!!!


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