Sunday, March 28, 2010

Wood Burning Furnace

In spite of all outward appearances, this is not the paper mill at West Point, although when the wind is blowing just so it's impossible to tell the difference.

This is my father's wood burning furnace, which he installed several winters ago in the hopes he could reduce his fuel oil bill.

Since it replaces all other sources of heat in the house and is run entirely on wood, there's no doubt that he did achieve his goal of reducing his fuel oil costs. But the price that has been paid thus far to install and maintain this thing?

Let's see if we can tally up the bill, shall we?

1 wood burning furnace (the cost of which nobody knows except my father, but rest assured it was neither free nor cheap)

52 weekends per year, of which approximately 3/4 are spent searching for, acquiring, hauling, stacking and splitting wood.

4,698 hours spent walking back and forth from house to the woodpile to replenish the furnace. The reason the furnace is so far from the house is because my mother refused to have anything looking like this next to her house.

1 bruised foot which came from a disgruntled mother having to traipse out to the furnace to load more wood when my father was away. She dropped a log on her foot.(Note: The price of having a disgruntled mother is far higher than the price of a bruised foot. Just ask my father.)

1 pickup truck in need of extensive body work, including a front bumper and grille. Seems my father, who hauls seafood most weeknights, decided to load up the furnace with wood before leaving for work. So he drove over to the wood pile, got out, forgot to put the car in park or neutral, walked over to the wood pile, began loading wood into the furnace, and then watched in horror as his truck plowed into a wagon parked next to the whole operation.

So, in summary, the total cost of having a wood-burning furnace:

No fuel oil bill.

No free time thanks to the incessant search for and procurement of wood, including scouring daughter's yard for trees and not realizing that you've cut down one of her favorites, but that's OK, she has plenty others.

One bruised and disgruntled daughter who is donating no more trees to this project wife.

One truck that now needs body work.

Yep, sounds like a deal to me.


Grandma J said...

Oh good Lord! That's the biggest wood pile I've ever seen in my life. Of course that wood burning machine is quite worthy of it all.

I'm so jealous you're gonna see Bossy. Are you gonna talk her into coming to blogfest?

Kate said...

Oh, I remember when our house had a wood stove in the living room! My dad split many many logs... and having to dump the ashes, what a pain!

I recall one winter the older black lady we bought wood from (she ran that old two story green store past Port Haywood, Jacksons? I can't remember) managed to get her dump truck stuck in our yard for a few days until things dried up a bit!

Eventually Dad bought a oil furnace, which was nicer to deal with, except having to get it lit was a pain in the rear!

Mrs F with 4 said...

I do HAVE a furnace and a heat pump, but don't often use them. I confess that I am seldom happier than when feeding my wood-burning stove. It's called Bessie. And I love her dearly.... INCLUDING the searching, splitting and stacking.

But then, I'm odd like that. I am also now rather envious of your father's furnace. Hmmm, I wonder..... where could I put one?

Anonymous said...

You tell your dad I have five acres of woods and he is welcome to all that he can cut and haul!


nativedevil said...

My Dad had very low blood, and stayed cold in the winter. (My friends would come by sometimes when my parent were away, and they asked to open windows, it was so hot) When oil prices went crazy, we got a woodstove. Spent many a Saturday from Mathews to West Point cutting wood.
I still want to come sometime this summer and have luch with you and some other bloggers.

Pueblo girl said...

We're out in the hills these days, cutting wood for next winter. I wouldn't change my wood burner for the world, but admit they're a tad high maintenance...

Anonymous said...

Looks like the backyard where we use to live by the swamp. Who could forget the daily drill.... go get the frozen jeans off the clothes line... split the fire wood... start the wood stove. It was either 25 degrees or 160. I am not envious at all.


Anonymous said...

Looks like the backyard where we use to live by the swamp. Who could forget the daily drill.... go get the frozen jeans off the clothes line... split the fire wood... start the wood stove. It was either 25 degrees or 160. I am not envious at all.


Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

GJ-I will definitely try to talk her into it. I don't see her until Thursday the 8th so I have time to work on my pitch.

Kate-We had a wood stove growing up too, and those ashes were definitely a pain.

Mrs. F.-Bessie sounds lovely. I'll have my father tell you all about his furnace when you come for your visit after you find your visa. Oh, and I am very interested in this means of reviving daffodils that have been cut/mowed over too soon - can they really come back by fertilizing? Do share, because I have a patch in my front yard that are so sad looking, and I was always told they would not come back (the green leaves will but not the bloom).

AHR-I didn't see him today but will tell him next chance I get. Be careful what you ask for, though, before you know it there won't be a tree left standing in Hallieford.

ND-My parents kept our den so hot with that woodstove you couldn't breathe, there seriously was very low oxygen in there, and anyone who sat down for a minute was asleep in no time flat. Oh, and just let me know the next time you're in town and I'll gather up a bunch of folks for lunch. Also, keep me posted about that 1981/1982 reunion.

PG-Don't get lost in those woods.

B-Ha! That's so true about the temperature. The image of the frozen jeans on the line is hilarious.

It's Monday Eve again. Yay. (Grrr.)

Country Girl said...


I remember using a wood stove before we had children. Our house was much smaller than your folks' place here. And our stove was a tiny one. But we spent much time preparing the wood for that stove. And we were married to that stove. Couldn't go anywhere because we had to keep it tended.

It was worth it, back then. But now, I can't see it happening. Too much upkeep!