Some of you may have noticed that we recently acquired a wood stove.
While it tries to look old, it isn’t, really – it’s a brand new TR-8, manufactured in Dublin. And as it appears, wood-burning stoves are serious technology – this one, apparently, knows a few tricks about efficiently generating heat that stoves had no idea about when my grandmother was my age.
Our stove specialist, Westerhaard, (who was tipped off by one of the farmers in our surroundings who knew we had a couple opportunities for restructuring our quarters) came over to install it last Thursday. The good news was that it was considerably less work than he thought. The bad news was that we had to wait 24 hours to use it.
On Friday evening, these 24 hours had passed. The stove lit up like no tomorrow, and burnt beautifully.
Saturday morning was somewhat of a deception. Management summary: when there is no wind whatsoever, and it is foggy, wood stoves don’t burn as well. I had trouble getting it to go, but eventually we did get a decent fire going (with all air supplies opened fully). I do think it didn’t burn as efficiently as it could have, though – I saw some crud buildup at the back of the glass. We didn’t have any wind to speak of yesterday… according to our weather station, yesterday’s wind run in our back yard was 32 km. In 24 hours.
This morning, it is picking up a bit… not much at 1 Bft, but at least is is something, and the stove now runs fine with the primary air controls partially closed.
We still need to get the hang of this, through.
Selecting a stove 101
- Pick a supplier that you think you can trust.
- Trust him.
We had thought about getting an old burner from Marktplaats, but because these are usually not very efficient when compared to a modern stove, and can be detrimental to your health, we decided against this. Coen Westerveld advised us to not get too big a stove, as wood stoves function best when fired near maximum capacity. He advised us to get the TR-8, and after reading a few favourable reviews on this, we went for it.
A handful of weeks ago, we didn’t even know we wanted a wood stove… it was only after we discovered that the chimney in our newly acquired half of our residence was actually pretty good that we started to seriously consider the possibility. So, it’s not like I’ve been felling, splitting and drying a lot of hardwood for the last year. We only have two suitable trees anyway (walnut), and one of them will have to go, partly since its roots are upsetting the shed.
As a result, we are now relying on a supply of well-dried hardwood from a local firewood sales operation, and a small stack of hardwood sawdust briquettes supplied by a firewood firm in Maurik. This is essentially just hardwood sawdust, pressed in the shape of small round logs. They burn very efficiently (very low moisture content) and produce a fire that looks very nice, but you don’t get the sound effects of a wood fire… so currently, we just mix them up.
If you’d expect to be capable of warming up the room quickly with a wood-burning stove, think again. It took us about two hours to warm the room from 13° to 18° on Friday evening. So no, we cannot ditch our central heating
But it is fully capable of warming up the room to a comfy level given the time, and keeping the room at, say, 21 degrees is a piece of cake. Even with the doors open, which also helps keeping the other quarters at a decent level in at least a third of the house (which is half of the part that we use on a daily basis), which means our central heating will have to work a little less.
Yesterday, we still took it fairly easy, and went to a little less wood than fits in the basket that you see on the left. This kept the entire room at a comfy 21 degrees. Today, with a bit more wind, I’m going to step it up a bit.
Of course, you have to “maintain” the fire. Which is what I am doing right now, while typing this post.