Thirty four degrees outside. The fire is just a small bed of coals that I keep raking into a pile. This old farmhouse with all it’s little rooms ranges from fifty six degrees in the back storeroom/laundry room, to a comfortable 72 in the dining area where we have the stove. Usually this room is lava hot and you need a fan, but I’m letting the fire die so I can shovel out some coals.
I have a new respect for the humble thermostat. It does it’s job quietly, twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week without fail. With some kind of technological sorcery the temperature in the house stays where you set it. This isn’t the case when you heat with a wood stove. I have become the thermostat.
The only real advantage that I have over that small device is that I can anticipate the change in outside temperature. The thermostat never knows it needs to get ready because the sun’s going down and it’s going to start getting colder. The little fellow is totally blindsided when a front moves through and the day warms up quickly. I know these things and that little gadget doesn’t, hah!
Oh but wait, there’s programmable thermostats. There goes that argument.
In any case they don’t work with wood stoves and so I’m stuck with the job. Fortunately we’ve developed an ingenious system of strategically placed fans to pump the cold air into the hot stove room, and let all that hot air convect out into the rest of the house. It works pretty well and all the way upstairs in the bedrooms it stays around seventy. That is, it stays that way if I dutifully keep shoveling wood onto the fire.
When it’s just about freezing outside our stove can handle it no sweat. I just need one log cooking away or even just a bed of coals and the house stays toasty. Problem is when the temperature plummets, and I’m zonked out in bed dreaming of barbecued ribs, it get’s darn chilly! This happened the other night when it got down into the teens and I let the fire die out.
You gotta give a guy a break, I’m still new on the job and I’m sure I’ll get a handle on it.