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Thursday, January 22, 2009

2009 fireside chat

This is the science that I know that allows me to competantly heat this house with wood.

  • Fire requires oxygen and a combustible source.
  • Hot air rises; cool air falls.
  • Insulation keeps heat in.
  • A closed flue keeps a fire from starting in your stove pipe and chimney provided that your fire burns hot enough to prevent creosote build up.

So I have a log in the fire, it is sitting atop a deep bed of embers which did ignite the log. The dampers are open to feed the fire oxygen to keep it burning until the combustible source has expired. The flue is closed preventing the afore mentioned mishap.Yet, as I write this at 12:20 am, I can hear what sounds like a roaring fire in the chimney from my room. But here in front of the fire there is no roar. There wan't much of one when I increased the oxygen intake to get the dense log to burn hotter. There is no roar now that the flames are lower. I have stepped outside to determine wind direction and velocity as I have remembered that is part of the science that I know: the flue prevents smoke from entering the home but it allows some air flow to prevent a build up of gases thus also allowing airflow at the chimney pot to drag carbon dioxode away from the combustion thus forcing additional oxygen into the mix. There is no wind.Thus I cannot account for the roaring noise. There are also no flames leaping from the roof, nor are the upstairs walls adjacent to the chimney hot with excessive heat... barely warm to room temp. And there is a cold spot at the center level of the house. The upstairs should have the majority of the fire's heat flowing up the stairwell. In addition, I am still running a space heater, tempermental though it maybe, in my room and an oil heater in the bathroom. Yet, without any wind velocity outside, there is a decided chill upstairs that the 65 degrees downstairs cannot account for. And it isn't that cold outside. Its almost above freezing; balmy compared to last week. So what is the deal? Am I doomed to spend the rest of the Winter paranoid in my quiet moments where sleep should be overtaking me and the day's cares? Or is there something wrong in my logic? Something that I am not getting? I mean for cryin' out loud, when I started the fire at 8:15 tonight there were enough hot coals to turn up to start the fire without matches. I can't be doing this too wrong. I quit feeding the fire last night at 9:30... that's almost 24 hours later.

I could have a poor wood type in the stove. But it was a dense log, not smart at all. My other choice was a grainy poplar that would have gone up in five minutes and yielded little heat in return. I guess when I make my trip to the pole barn tomorrow for more stock I will have to recheck the quality of the logs out there. Dad was always so careful about what he bought for precisely this reason. Dad may not have had a Harvard degree but he certainly knew his wood types, if not by the grain then by the bark and often the smell of the resin within the wood. It isn't likely that he bought an inferior product. So I guess I continue to babysit the fire and hope that when I get to sleep it is a quality of sleep I have not had in many nights. I believe that I owe part of my illness's headaches to a lack of caffine. Cafinating myself earlier relieved a lot of the pressure I felt in the back left side of my head. But it is conspiring with my paranoia to keep me awake. Such are the trials of those who were not wise enough to see further than a few paychecks into the future.

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