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A Lovely Wood Stove

open wood stoveWe live in an early 20th century house with a brick hearth and built in bookcases. I have always wanted such a set up and loved it for two years. But last winter, I couldn't ignore what was missing: a fireplace.

These houses were built to hold gas burning units, as evidenced by the gas key hole in the floor.  I'm not a huge fan of gas heat, though it runs our furnace, because gas is an unsustainable resource. It's also seriously expensive.

Wood is renewable. In a high efficiency stove, wood is an efficient heat source. Free wood is often available on craigslist or freecycle and building a woodpile is simple.

So last winter, in February, we were able to score a wood stove that fits our hearth on clearance at our local Sutherlands. We were unsure of the quality of our chimney so we bought pieces for a chimney liner at the same time.

We hired friend Leonard to help install the liner and stove. He and Alex had to do a fair amount of modification to fit the woodstove in our small space, including placing the unit slightly off center in the opening. This does bother my sense of order, but I can tolerate it for the wonderfully warm heat that fills our house from this tiny stove.

Last night, the temperature dropped to mid 30s overnight. Alex lit a fire in the early evening, adding logs every hour or so until he went to bed at midnight.

When I woke up this morning, heat was still emanating from the fireplace and there were still hot coals. Mmmm....toasty warm!  We have yet to turn on our furnace this year.

fire in wood stove

A few weeks ago, I attempted to start a fire on my own.  I sadly couldn't do it.  I do not have the natural affinity for fire that Alex does and I always defer to him to start campfires and get the wood stove going.

I practiced under his eye for a few nights.   This evening, night one of his business trip to California, I made the fire myself!

There is more pleasure to come from this wood stove. In early 2011 when I prepare taxes, I will be able to take a credit for 30% of our purchase price through the American Recovery Act. This credit, which applies to new stoves purchased and installed in existing homes, expires December 31, 2010.