Editor-in-Chief Caleb Regan shares lessons learned on home heating in an old house and why he prefers heating with a wood-burning stove, and talks about his love of cutting firewood and burning wood for heat.
I am a little ashamed to admit it, but my wife and I once lived more than a year in a house where winter energy bills were in the neighborhood of $700 per month. There were times we’d set the thermostat to 65 at night, and wake up to that same thermostat saying it was 56. We were paying out the nose to freeze, and that was a pretty frustrating feeling.
We were the very first tenants in that remodeled house, so seeing previous winter utility bills wasn’t an option. And we wouldn’t be the last tenants to face that crummy issue in that house. What a shame, too, because the location and ground it was on were awesome.
Whether it was the result of poor construction, poor insulation, inadequate furnace size, a combination of all, or some other reason, I’m glad we didn’t stick around to find out. Installing a pellet stove before the second winter gave us just enough hope to stick around another year, but after that, we couldn’t get out of that house soon enough.
So when I read the article “Cut Your Heating Bill,” in the Winter 2018 issue, it really hit home for me. One rental later, we heated with nothing except wood. It was a rock house, and man, was it efficient.
One of my prerequisites when we bought our first and current home was that I wanted a woodstove, and I wanted to see evidence of how much it costs in the cold months to keep us warm. So far, so good, and it’s extremely satisfying to walk outside, look at the chimney, and watch the smoke roll out.
Just last night, the temperature was somewhere around 37 on my drive home, and when I got home, right after we changed diapers and fed the babies, I started a fire and turned off the heat. About 30 minutes later, I had to turn off the blower.
I enjoy it all, cutting firewood and the entire process of heating with wood. I’m sure a psychologist would tell me I do it to feel closer to my father, and I think all of my brothers and I cut wood, split wood, and either burn wood or sell firewood to pay homage to the man who made us. It was such a huge part of growing up, and I love to continue the tradition as an adult.
It’s about as fulfilling as any work I’ve found, outside of volunteering for others, and I’ll continue doing it as long as I’m able – and I hope to pass the joy of the chore onto my sons.
I wish you all enough warmth for winter comfort this season.
Until next time,
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