Monday, October 26, 2009

Our Wood Stove is Working!

Our home came with a cute little Jøtul wood stove in the kitchen. I didn’t know anything about wood stoves and was afraid of burning the house down. So for several years, it sat in its corner of the kitchen serving as a rather elaborate plant stand.

This house was built in the late 1970s which doesn’t seem that old to me considering the house I grew up in is over 150 years old. However, I have learned from a neighbor that this area was much more rural back then. The man who built this house lived in it with no electricity for a time and heated it with two wood stoves, the Jøtul in my kitchen, and another woodstove in the basement.

The original owner of my home also had a vegetable garden that stretched three times longer than mine is now. He grew, harvested, and preserved from it for about 20 years. He is responsible for the amazing soil I have been blessed with as he spent numerous years nourishing and amending our clay soil. My neighbor also told me he also planted many fruits around the yard. Remaining today are seven apple trees, a pear tree, grape vines, raspberry and blackberry bushes. There is an area in the basement for root storage. There is a closet/pantry under the stairs with shelving to store canned goods.

When I moved into this home, it had been through a couple different owners since the original who built the house. The people I purchased it from replaced all the windows, refurbished and updated the kitchen, bathroom and living area. Although the Jøtul wood stove stood in its spot in the kitchen, the main heating source was a small kerosene fired monitor heater in the living room. When that failed two years later, we installed a furnace in the basement and fhw baseboard heating on the first floor. The upstairs bedrooms are still unheated.

With the price of oil soaring we often look regretfully at the Jøtul stove and the cord of wood that the previous owners left us in the shed. If only we knew it was safe to use, we would surely be utilizing it especially on really cold nights. Several years ago, we tried to have someone come in to inspect the stove to see if it was safe to use. It was obvious that he didn’t know anything about the Jøtul stove and all he wanted to do was sell us a new woodstove for a hefty price tag. That is not what we wanted, so the stove continued to sit in the corner of the kitchen…unused.

This year, another neighbor provided us with the name and number of someone who was knowledgeable about masonry and wood stoves. We called him and he came in to take a look at the stove. It is now sporting some new pipework and a new stove paint coating in classic black. But most importantly, it is doing what it was made for once again, burning wood and heating our home.

Wood heat is such a warm and cozy heat. Plus heat rises, our bedroom is the floor above the stove so upstairs is comfortable without having to run an electric space heater.

We won’t be heating our home exclusively with the wood stove, but mostly using it in the evenings and on weekends. Our local car mechanic referred us to someone he knew who sells wood and he will be delivering a couple of cords by the end of the week. It’ll be interesting to compare our heating costs of oil vs oil plus some wood.


  1. I heat my house primarily with a wood stove in the basement (although I also have electric baseboard backup). It takes me 4-5 cords of wood to heat the house (a little less than 1000 sq. ft) for the entire Maine winter. I like the cozy feel of wood heat, and when the power was out for 10 days after the ice storm of -98, I was the only person on my road with heat. -Jean

  2. Wonderful! Once I wanted to live in a house with a huge masonry stove, but now we only have a faux NG stove. I still like it, and we get by easily. We don't need power, just the gas.

    Enjoy your cozy stove!

  3. I suspect you will love the woodstove, it really makess the house feel cozy.

    BTW, for some reason I am having problems posting a comment with my Wordpress identity. I am loving the vegetable critique, though, just haven't been able to comment.

    Ali @ Henbogle

  4. Ribbit: Thanks! I am excited. Of course the novelty may wear off when I am lugging in wood in the middle of winter.

    Jean: Everyone in my neighborhood uses wood either as supplemental heat or as a sole heating source. Last year the power was out for quite a time on a cold day. We didn't mind not having electricity, but it got pretty chilly with no heat. This was our primary objective to getting the woodstove going.

    Thanks for letting me know how many cords of wood you use, our house is small and well insulated so that gives us a general idea.

    Stefaneener: I like the idea of a gas stove too.

    Ali: I am loving the stove so far. I am sorry you have been having problems posting. I sometimes have problems posting too and have to try again. Thank you for continuing to try.

  5. You have our South African daisy, and we have a Belgian wood stove. Something for us to look forward to when winter comes round again!

  6. I like it! It would be fun to cook on it, I bet. Sadly, I didn't allow for something like that when we built the house.

  7. It looks so warm and cozy. It will be nice to have a backup heat source in case if anything happens to your electricity.

    We have a gas fireplace that we will probably use for the first time tomorrow.

  8. We heat predominantly (but not exclusively) with our wood stove. The warmth and cheeriness of the fire adds an extra element of appeal beyond just heating the house. It definitely makes the house cozy and inviting when the days are dark, blustery, and cold.

  9. Through the 70s I would use 5-7 full cords per year and 2+ cords ever since. You can not beat wood heat especially on a cold blustery winter night or Christmas eve when the family is all present. John

  10. Elephant’s Eye: Welcome! As you can probably tell, tell South African daisy is one of my favorites.

    EG: It will really come in handy this winter as we do lose power every now and then.

    Azplantlady: Yes, a heating source backup is just the reason we wanted to get the stove functioning.

    kitsapFG: We plan on using the stove on extra cold nights and maybe weekends… soon as the novelty wears off we may stick to that plan :)

    John: We will probably only use two cords this year as supplemental heat. I am looking forward to being more cozy this winter.