In the Burn Zone
We heat with wood. That is our source of heat all winter. Because our cottage is so small and so thermally massive it takes only about three quarters of a cord of wood to keep it comfortable.
To keep it safe we burn full bore sending the needle up to the top of the burn zone. Hot fires then burn themselves down to coals which are mostly gone by the next morning. This daily hot fire cycle keeps the chimney clean of creosote and does a most excellent job of extracting the heat from the dry wood.
Dry wood is another key in safe wood fires. We dry the wood first in the wood shed post splitting and then it is further dried in a warm drying rack in the cottage in the days before it is needed. Even ‘dry’ several year old wood will bubble out a little vapor and fluid as it initially heats up but the extra drying time just before burning helps to eliminate even that which makes for a more efficient and safer fire.
The full bore fires release their heat via the long stove pipe into the massive 100,000 lbs of masonry that makes up our cottage, storing the energy for days. That thermal mass’s warmth plus some solar gain through the big windows means our cottage never freezes even without the warming fire. With a small fire in the tiny stove our cottage stays warm all winter.
Outdoors: 14°F/-4°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/560°F
Daily Spark: I had my wisdom teeth pulled to make room for silly things.