Friday, February 17, 2006

Self-Sustaining Exothermic Reaction

Also known as Fire.

Dad's house has an auxilliary propane furnace, but it's not very efficient. Mostly good for warming things up on slightly chilly days.

The workhorse source of heat is a wood-burning stove in the living room. NOT a fireplace - this is Ben Franklin's idea, carried forward about 200 years.

Cast iron firebox, surrounded by a thick sheetmetal shell, with a fan that blows air across the firebox, and out the vents in the shell.

And I'm here to tell ya, that thing can pump out some HEAT!

The kind of heat that will get your jeans so hot it hurts to move.

It's also very efficient. Since it's not a fireplace, it is possible to almost completely control the airflow into it. Get a good bed of coals, put in a couple of good heavy, dense logs, and starve it for air, and the thing will still be putting out heat 15 hours later.

We're dealing with low-30 degree temps tonight - that would run the propane furnace almost nonstop. And propane is now expensive!

So I spent a couple of hours at Dad's tonight, building and banking a good fire. The house got SO cozy... and while central heat keeps everything nice and comfy, there's nothing like getting up close to a woodstove when you're cold, and having it chase every chill out of your entire body.

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