Warning: privileged whining ahead-
So, it’s getting chilly and we’re into the days of our ultra-virtuous but darn uncomfortable propane rationing. Our house is off-the-grid as far as electricity, but we’re dependent upon a big tank of propane for our house boiler. The house was built (by someone else, not us) to be heated with propane, with a largely decorative fireplace (more about that later).
I know it’s good for saving money and for reducing CO2 emissions, but setting the thermostat at 58-62 degrees F is not terribly comfortable for me. Hats and thick sweaters only work so well indoors (what about the hands?!?). I think my circulation is getting wimpier- I never used to get so cold. And it’s only October! I’m not sure if I can take 5 more months of this… it’s only going to get colder before it gets warmer!!
So, last year we set about attempting to make our house a bit less dependent on outside fuel and got an insert stove put into the (fake rock) fireplace. It’s lovely and does put out a bit of heat. Problem solved, right?
Ah, if only. The other day I was home for a good part of a cold, dreary day, and decided to try to make the place comfy with the stove. Never mind that the stove points away from the rest of the house, in it’s own room (with vaulted ceilings, ahem); maybe I could be toasty there! Last year we didn’t try to keep the stove going continuously because we didn’t have that much dry wood. This year: plenty. Yeah!
So, I merrily burned that stove pretty darn hot for most of the day. In that time, I was rewarded by a 4 degree increase in the closest thermostat, with nothing in other parts of the house (bedroom was sitting at a brisk 60 F) Sitting on the couch 4 feet from the stove, I still had cold hands and could feel a BREEZE! Insane. So, instead of enjoying my cozy fire, I commenced fretting over the crazy, inefficient shape of this “fancy” house and pondering new windows. Windows (and ridiculous sliding glass doors) have come a long way since 1982, right?
So, I’m investigating new windows and possibly a ceiling fan to get the heat out of the peak before it can sneak out the (inefficient) window in the apex. We’re bracing ourselves for a bit of a nasty price jolt, but I am looking forward to no more breeze in the stove-heated room. I also won’t feel so frivolous “wasting” wood for the experience of the fire when the heat is negligible. I will miss the great airdraw, though: I never have to blow on the fire- it’s like having a room-sized bellows!
I am grateful to live in a spacious house when so many people struggle to pay rent or yearn for a place like this. But neither WF nor I would have designed the house to be like this: it just happened to be on this piece of fairly-close-to-town property. And he just happened to own it when I married him. So, I really have to practice gratitude… and find some fingerless gloves for my computer time!