Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter / Emergency Preps, Heating

We’re fortunate to have a wood stove in the house.  We got a great deal on it from a friend & Paul put it in three winters ago.  And I just LOVE it.  Yes, we (Paul) has to down trees, cut them up, split them and stack them to dry, but we have plenty of trees on the property and it’s not like we don’t have modern equipment to help with the chore (chain saw, log splitter).  And I do help.  I actually just got inside from hauling tonight’s wood to the porch.  We probably could have used a larger one as it does have a hard time keeping up when it gets really, really cold (we’re talking Ozarks cold, not Minnesota cold), but it doesn’t happen that often. 
 Boy, I really need to clean off the glass.....

Technically we also have a fireplace, but it hasn’t seen a flame in over four years & it’s only been used three or four times by me, mainly for the ambiance.  It’s one of those cheapie “inserts”, and not the GOOD kind of inserts; just the crummy, cheapie “I want a fireplace in my house but don’t want to spend a lot of money on it” fireplace.   It's good for hanging Christmas stockings though.
Not only did it not warm anything farther than 6” away, but if you sat in front of it, you could feel the cold air coming from everywhere & getting sucked up the chimney.  Yes, I know that it’s our fault because the house is so leaky, but it still wouldn’t heat much anyhow.  So I have a grouping of candles in there & so it sits, unused & abandoned.  We’ve talked about changing it over to propane or having a REAL insert put in it’s place, but that’s for another day (or more likely, years from now).
We also have a forced-air heat pump & furnace, but we try to limit the use of it as we don’t care to spend any more than we have to on our electricity bills.
Water heating is another biggie during a power outage.  It is the largest power drain we have in the house (minus the stove / oven) and it would take one of the generators to run just that.  I try to turn the water heater off during the day as we normally take showers either very early in the morning or just before bed.  We still haven’t wrapped the tank in insulation or put on one of the automatic timers, but that’s in the works.   If for whatever reason we couldn’t get the water heater going, we’d have the wood stove to heat water with.  Which is what we did during the ice storm.  If it weren’t for having to wash my long hair, I could have survived a long time on just using the stove to heat up bathing water. 
Cooking / reheating food is pretty easy.  Once again, it’s done on the wood stove.  At least in the winter.  I suppose if a power outage happened in the summer months we’d just use the gas grill outside or the smaller two-burner Coleman camping stove.  You do have to mess around with recipes though as it’s not as easy to cook on a wood stove as it is an electric / gas stove or range.
Speaking of food, tomorrow’s planned blog is going to be on Power-Out-Meals.  My mouth is already watering!

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