Monday, November 2, 2009

Come on Baby Light My Fire

A thrilling title for a not so thrilling subject. (groan)

Remember junior and senior high science classes?  I always dreaded the chapters on heat and electricity.  I thought when I got out of high school I'd be through having to study about these two "horrid" subjects.  Oh, no.  They popped up in college - several times.  Now, as a home owner these subjects never go away.

Electricity.  What would we do with out it?  Sure, we CAN, but who really wants to? 

Heat.   This is what heats my mom's house:

Pellet Stove
(pic source:  Quadra Fire)
(I love the English language.  It is a stove that burns pellets.  It is not made of pellets.  lol)

They look kind of like miniature Presto Logs

This pellet stove gives off a wonderful warm heat like a wood fire, but it is controlled by a thermostat.  The stove turns on and off  like a furnace, so there are drafts.  It takes electricity to light the stove, control the thermostat, turn the auger, and run the fans.

The stove has to be fed the pellets.  One needs a large dry place to store the pellets, and they have to be hauled into the house.  The bags are heavy, and it takes about a bag a day to warm the house.  The stove has to be cleaned often - similar to a fireplace.  In other words, a pellet stove is pretty "high maintenance".  The advantage of pellets over wood is that they are fairly clean to store.  Also, there are no splinters, chopping, bugs, dirt.

UpdateAunt Amelia had some good questions.  Before my step-dad got too sick, he brought in the pellets as needed.  Then, Mom did, by the small bucket-full.  (My step-dad didn't want anyone to help - dementia.)  When my step-dad passed away, my brother would bring in a bag of pellets, but Mom still had to carry them from the back porch through the house to the stove.  Then I actually had a brilliant idea.  Doesn't happen often.  lol   My brother dug one of these out of the shed (only ours isn't so bright and shiny):

The wash boiler sits right next to the stove and holds two bags of pellets.  Mom didn't have to haul pellets anymore.  All she had to do is use a scoop to fill the hopper.

So far my husband has been packing in the bags and filling the boiler.  Bless him.  If I have to, I can go to the shed and get them by the bucket full.  I can lift a bag, but I'd rather not.

AND this:

 Wall heaters
(A heater that is installed in the wall.)

Baseboard heaters
(A heater that is installed instead of a baseboard.)
Only instead of pretty white ones, these are the old ugly tan ones.

My boring point is that all of these take electricity to work.  This area is notorious for the power going off.  The only thing in the whole house that is on a battery back up is the computer.  I don't think the computer will keep the pipes or inhabitants from freezing.

UPDATE 2:  In years past when the power went off, my step-dad would bring in the generator.  Mom couldn't do that, and I don't think I can, either.

On the bright side - at least there are heaters.  Some people aren't so lucky.

Now for your listening pleasure:
This is the short sweet version (about a 15 second commercial first, sorry).  The embedding is disabled on this.

Long live version - watch at your own risk:


Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

Now I know how a Pellet Stove works! And sad to say, it needs electricity. And is pretty high maintenance. Wondering how your mom managed all that...?

Wondering how long you will have to be managing all that? Especially lugging heavy pellet bags.

Adrienne said...

All the reasons you mentioned made us choose a wood stove over pellet.

And ---- we have the same old copper washer for our wood. Actually, we have two. One for wood, which is pretty awesome vintage shape, and a slightly less pretty one (with a LID which is hard to find), that holds our kindling.

This year I finally convinced my hubby to split all the wood and we stacked most of it in the barn instead of outside. He used to "split as we went" and it drove me crazy. In particular if I ran out when he was away and had to go out in the snow and split wood. Not nice!