Friday, March 03, 2006

Winter In NY.....

.......Heating the House

Taking the children out to the buses after school this afternoon, and standing for ten minutes, while waiting until all were on board was pure torture. The wind felt like it was blowing straight from the arctic. It was the kind of wind that blows right through you and freezes you to the bone. Brrrrr! We could hardly wait to get back inside the school building.
Our weather has been like that a lot lately. I guess you could say March came in like a lion….as opposed to a lamb.
It’s hard to keep your mind on something other than the frigid temperatures when you’re out in them. This prompted me to notice our outdoor furnace, and feel very thankful for it, as I walked quickly from the car toward the promised warmth of our house.

The furnace is about a hundred feet from the back of our house.

We’ve been very satisfied with the excellent job this furnace does of heating our house. We burn wood in ours, but it’s possible to change it to an oil-burning furnace if needed. A 5oo-gallon water tank surrounds the large firebox inside. The hot water is pumped through an underground pipe into our basement to a radiator, which is fastened to the side of our old hot-air furnace. A fan then blows air over the radiator and up through heat ducts into the house.
A thermostat controls the temperature just as it would an indoor oil furnace.

We use between 40 and 60 face cords of wood depending on the severity of the weather

Another water line runs from the furnace to the hot water heater in our basement, enabling us to use the hot water from the furnace too. This cuts our electricity bill dramatically. When we had the dairy cows we heated the water in the milk house with the furnace too. This produced an overall saving of approximately $90 each month.
My hubby feeds the fire with about 3 or 4 hundred pounds of wood (about 8 large blocks) morning and evening each day during the cold weather. When the temperature falls to zero or below, he’ll add more wood later in the evening. I know it sounds awful to have to go out into the cold and tend to the furnace, but he’s used to enduring cold temperatures, having been a farmer all these years. If I had to do it, I’d have an indoor furnace! I’m a wimp when it comes to cold weather.

This was taken after a heavy snowstorm in 2002 Posted by Picasa

We let the fire go out around the middle of April. There will still be some cold mornings and nights when we may start a fire just for a day or two, but spring will be in the air, with the promise of summer to come. The snowdrops will be blooming, with crocus to follow, then daffodils and tulips…..and oh boy, I can’t wait!!
But for now, I’ll have a cup of peppermint tea, curl up in a comfy chair with a soft blanket and a garden magazine, and dream of warmer temperatures……

Here's what our vegetable garden looks like in winter.
It's a prettier sight in summer :)


Val said...[Reply]

Wow, I've never seen anything like that, Kerri. So who gets to stoke the fire? Your post is such an interesting contrast to the previous one!

Val said...[Reply]

Ah, I refreshed the page and now I see more explanation. I have a feeling autumn would be my favorite season in upstate New York: not too cold, not too hot (and humid), and glorious autumnal colors!

Alice said...[Reply]

I'd never thought of it before, but that's fantastic and so much cheaper --- ready frozen homegrown vegies. Wow!

Val said...[Reply]

Your usual weather conditions make current little "cold snap" in UK seem like pleasant few days! We too have snowdrops out now, but the daffodils are definitely later this year. Today is my firstborn's birthday (29 years ago) and I was given daffodils picked from the garden. He would have trouble finding any this year! Would have had to go and buy some, perish the thought!

Motherkitty said...[Reply]

Your post made me cold just looking at the pictures and reading your description of stoking the fire out there. I assume that husband also cuts the firewood to stoke the fire with, otherwise you would go broke purchasing all that wood. At least you don't have a dry heat. We have to keep a pot of water going on the stove and a humidifier in the bedroom because gas heat can be very drying.

What happens to the box outside when the snow gets piled up around it? Does husband have to shovel it away or does it just melt?

Very interesting description of your winters and how you heat your house. Glad we live in a temperate climate and don't get that much snow.

Connie and Rob said...[Reply]

If I were you I would go up and give that big silver machine a big hug!!!! Sounds like it does a wonderful job keeping you warm. My I just got cold you describing your weather. I am so ready for spring also. My tulips are peeking out...

Stay under that blanket.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...[Reply]

Before I started blogging I just heard the weather reports on TV, but now I can actually see pictures and get a personal account of what it's like for you to cope with the cold winters of NY. It seems like a lot of work and a lot of wood that you burn on a daily basis. Give that husband of yours a great big hug...he deserves it for all he does to keep you warm.

I'm supposing that they don't call off school for a dusting of snow like they do here.

Thank you for sharing your story and those cold snowy pictures...The snow is beautiful.

Sue said...[Reply]

I'm glad to see the pictures of your snow and your furnace. Makes the picture I've posted of our little bit of snow in CA pale by comparison.
It's been cold here, but nothing like what you endure. We use about 1 cord of wood per winter to heat our home!

kylieps said...[Reply]

Hey Mum,
you explained how that furnace works better than most home inspectors could. Well done!

jellyhead said...[Reply]

This was really interesting to me, Kerri. You must need so much wood over the space of a winter. And your hubby deserves a medal for going out in the freezing cold to re-feed the furnace!!

Keep warm :)

Kali said...[Reply]

How fascinating (and cold) ~ it certainly has a beauty about it...
And we get told that where we live is too cold.
I enjoyed this post, and am fascinated about your furnace :)

Barbee' said...[Reply]

Thank you, Kerri, for answering my many questions. This is so neat! Interesting details. It would be my luck that the woodpile would freeze solid, but I guess your Super-Farmer Hubby just takes a sledgehammer to it if that happens :)

My 80+ year old neighbor once told me he wished he'd grown up on a farm, because farmers know how to do any and everything!