Saturday, November 30, 2013

Heating the Homestead

Do you ever get tired of being cold in the winter? Don't you just love walking into a warm cozy house when it's freezing outside? One of our main goals since we moved here was to have a renewable heat source. We have used electric heaters for the most part and they worked ok but we really wanted wood heat. Last weekend we finally got a wood heater installed.

A month or so ago I bought a military tent stove called the M-1941. This stove is a Type I and II stove which means it can use liquid, coal or wood fuel. Ours only came with the parts to use liquid fuel so if we wanted to use it for wood we had to improvise. The stove came with chimney pipe but it is 4 inches in diameter. We wanted to put it through the wall and it was next to impossible to find 4 inch elbows that didn't cost a fortune. So, we got an increaser so we could go from 4 inch to 6 inch pipe. This actually worked very well and makes it a lot easier to get the pipe now that we are using a standard size.

If it had come with the parts for burning wood or coal, there would have been a ring that sits inside the heater to hold the wood. Since we did not have that piece we bought a grill that holds the charcoal in a Weber grill. This grill was thicker and sturdier than the one for holding the food. We placed a few bricks in the bottom of the heater with the grill and this worked out well for holding the wood.

It's not going to win any beauty contests but it works great! My husband splits the logs into 4 pieces so they are easier to handle in the heater. We only use two at a time and it puts off more than enough heat for this tiny place! We feel a lot better having this in place now. Not only is it more economical than using the electric heaters but if the power were to go down we would still be nice and warm.

You can see in the picture that it has a little rust on it from being stored outside for a short time. We may paint it later with some heat resistant paint just to make it look a little better. You can also see the increaser that we ordered so that we could use the 6 inch pipe which we vented through the wall.

One day when we get the house built, we will probably leave this heater in the shed. Like I said, it's functional but not very pretty and we will probably end up using the shed as a workshop, guesthouse, or whatever seems appropriate at the time. I am actually thinking of putting in rocket mass heaters to heat the house. They are very energy efficient and use very little wood to produce a lot of heat.

When you live in the country it is important that you be able to take care of yourself. This is just another step on our path to becoming more self sufficient.