Thursday, February 22, 2007

Downsizer: for a sustainable & ethical future - Installing a wood burner

MAN FERTILITY and I decided for Christmas we were going to get a woodburning insert for our fireplace. Funny, we'd looked at them previously, but the stores always had 100000 people in them, first because it was freezing, second because there was still some Y2K spillover.

This year there was nary a person, possibly because it was a toasty globally warm 60 degrees in January when we went? The poor sales guy was so desperate, he kept complimenting us on how well behaved our son was--yeeesh (if we'd won PowerBall, believe me, we'd have bought 5 more stove just to hear that again--sure beats being called a Refrigerator Mother.).

So why did we decide to turn our fireplace into a wood stove? Many reasons. Check this nicely organized item from Downsizer:

Downsizer: for a sustainable & ethical future - Installing a wood burner: "Why a woodburner?

The reasons for installing a woodburner can be divided into four main groups:

Aesthetic: they look nice, particularly modern large-windowed designs, which give a generous view of the fire.

Functional: they heat up your house with phenomenal efficiency. An open fire in a draughty house can actually make the room it's in colder; with a stove the vast majority of the heat is channelled into the house, rather than up the chimney. To give a personal example, we have a fairly small 5kW stove which we almost never run flat out. During the winter the only radiator turned on in our house (Victorian terrace, 4 beds, 3 recep to give an idea of size) is the one in the bathroom.

Larger stoves can provide domestic hot water and central heating (which you may find unnecessary). Modern designs allow for retro-fitting of a boiler if your circumstances change.

Environmental: burning wood is good for the environment. Contemporary stove designs operate at 70-80% efficiency, and can be used in smoke control areas. Most can be fitted with a catalytic cleaner, and some, such as Clearview, burn so efficiently that even this is unnecessary.

Most importantly, burning wood for domestic fuel is, at worst estimate carbon dioxide neutral, and in all likelihood"

And look at all the stuff we can burn. I even dry out my old coffee grounds and put them in a paper bag and into the fire they go. There's always the dramatic touch of burning manuscripts, too (anyone read Hedda Gabler?)

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