Last summer we were researching alternate home heating solutions, well we settled on an option! We decided to go with a Jotul Wood Burning Cast-Iron Stove. We were able to pick up a floor model from a company that recently changed locations for a steep discount. We hooked it up through our existing fireplace and obtained a fire/heat resistant floor mat to place in front of the stove to keep our floor from melting.
Using firewood that we can obtain for free through websites like craigslist we have been able to use the stove to reduce our home heating costs. Unfortunately modern homes are not usually designed to be heated using stoves so the air movement is less than ideal, especially in a town-house. The result is that we still use our HVAC fan to circulate air, which does use electricity, though still much better than having to pay for heating gas. Continue reading
Our bees were spotted covering the front of the outside of their hive this weekend (called bearding) and we made a decision about our hens. So we wanted to share a quick video update on the bees and hens.
Have you ever thought about how you’d stay warm if your home’s heating system was not available? What would you do during a winter storm if the power and gas went out? What if the furnace and/or fan in your system broke during a storm and service was unavailable?
Our Prefab Fireplace
Our house has a “prefab” fireplace which means there is actually a negative heat flow in our home when we have a fire in our current fireplace. So if we had to rely on our fireplace to heat our home we’d be really in bad shape!
We wish we had an alternate heat source for our home that we could use to address the questions raised at the beginning of this post as well as improve our current fireplace setup so that we don’t double pay for energy when we enjoy the fireplace now. Continue reading
The windows in our house are mostly original. Last summer we replaced 4 windows, but those have been the only updates. The problem with our windows, besides that they’re not energy efficient is that they’re single pane windows with storm windows on the exterior. The storm windows have half screens. In theory they’re supposed to keep bugs out because between the storm window panes and the screen, there should be a sealed system. The problem is that bugs can get in! The system has too many moving parts and cracks, and it’s a bug nightmare. We are big fans of open windows, but that’s not a pleasant experience when bugs come in.
We found about this situation the hard way. Last summer, on a hot summer night we were painting an upstairs bedroom. We thought it’d be a great idea to open the window to get some fresh air and let out the paint fumes. With it being nighttime and us being in a lit room, the bugs were very attracted to us. After a short while, we noticed gnats all around the ceiling! Keep in mind this is with wet paint on the walls still. So we had to go around and kill all the gnats, many of which had gotten in the paint along the top parts of the wall. It was a mess. We had to repaint over some portions. The rest of the summer we painted with closed windows. Continue reading