Monday, January 18, 2016
The Annual Firewood and Wood Furnace Evaluation
You haven't seen me whine or complain about firewood much this year. Other than logging in the times when I went and cut or split I have barely mentioned it because this has been a pretty normal year truth be told. Perhaps a bit towards the warmer than usual honestly but when it has gotten colder it has mostly stayed in the normal cold range for our area.
Unlike the 2013 to 2014 Winter with all those Northern Clippers coming down back to back that stayed for literally a week or more, this Winter has been much closer to the norm. We have had maybe two days with temperatures down into the single digits and last night was the first time we dipped below zero. That's as it should be around here and what we are best prepared for.
After the 2013 - 2014 Winter I came very close to chucking the entire outside wood furnace idea into a dumpster. I have been using this furnace for quite a few years now but that year fully showed me it's true limitations as I went through more firewood that year than an old fashioned steam engine would use to travel across the nation. Twice.
I was literally opening up the burn box and chucking it in non-stop while having to over ride the automatic air flow controls and burn it with the vent wide open as well. The real issue was that when the wind blew in hard and cold over the blower motor it would never heat up enough to allow the thermostat to kick in. There were a few times I thought I was going to burn the firebox out of the thing while the thermostat still insisted it wasn't warm enough to kick on.
I went through a complete set of 1 inch iron grate bars that year if that tells you anything.
This year however has been much closer to normal and it's only fair to sing the old wood furnace some praise for a change.
We have went through very little wood this year and until last night have not experienced the thermostat issues we got back in 2013 - 2014. Even last night the problem was very short lived and I was able to determine that the temps need to be in the single digit or below with a wind speed out of the North in excess of 20MPH in order to begin causing problems.
Since the 2013-2014 Winter I have also been able to once again build up my emergency reserve as well. I actually dipped into it twice this Winter due to time restraints of my work schedule but even with that I am back up to at least a month or more of firewood in reserve. Considering I burned every stick of wood I had cut on this place by Spring of 2014 it's coming back fairly well.
All in all I must say that while I still in fact use more firewood overall burning the furnace as opposed to the inside wood stove I used to run, the extra amount of work is well worth it under normal circumstances and as long as I have fuel to run the chainsaws and such. It keeps the entire house very comfortable instead of just a room or two.
But I keep the inside wood stove operational just in case!!!!
In a grid down situation or a repeat of what we had back in 2013-2014 we will be damned glad to have it to fall back on.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!