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When we use our wood stove to heat our small house, it is warm enough that I usually just wear t-shirts around the house. We keep the wood in our John Deere gator right at our back door so all I have to do is step out take two short steps and grab the logs. Well, since I have bare arms, it poses a problem; the logs are hard on them and I don't want to take the time to slip on a coat.
To save getting scratched, I keep the sleeve of an old sweatshirt beside the door, it is quick to slip over my arm as I step out to grab an armful of wood. We don't like to store more than a couple of extra logs inside because I am very allergic to bug bites. We have one of those carriers but with our small house we feel it works better for us to bring in a couple at a time.
Using the wood stove saves us right at $100 a month and using the dead wood helps clean old trees up, making room for new growth. The man we get our wood from is retired and what little he makes selling us wood helps him makes ends meet, so we are glad for that. What we can save on our nation's energy helps us all.
By Ann Winberg from Loup City, NE
To make your house smell great (fireplace needed) save all your citrus peels and dry them. They can be used for kindling in your fireplace. They contain flammable oils and they smell just great when used for kindling in your fire!
This is a great time of years to get your house smelling good and staying warm by your fireplace.
All my life, I have lived in a home where the heat was supplemented by a fireplace. Typically, fireplaces have a bad rap of letting more heat out than they produce, but there are a few ways to offset that.
First, safety. Make sure your fireplace has been recently cleaned and checked out by a chimney sweep. Each year, fireplaces are the cause of numerous house fires. Keep the area around your fireplace clear of papers, toys and such. Also make sure you have a screen in front of the fire.
Make sure your damper is open to the proper position. If it is not open, you will smoke up your room. If it is open too far, you may cause your fire to burn faster and use your wood faster. It will take a few fires for you to figure out when click of the damper handle is right for your fire. When your fire is finished and completely cooled off, remember to close your damper.
Burn good seasoned wood. Rotten wood burns quickly, and green wood either won't burn or sends out numerous sparks. A well seasoned wood is around a year old. Keep your wood dry. We keep ours in a barn stall, where it is off the ground, and always kept dry. From the barn it goes to the front porch, then from the porch into the house.
Every time you bring wood into the house, you lose some heat. Develop a system to get it in quickly and have a place where you can store wood inside so you are not going out each time you need to add another log. We keep wood on the porch right outside a window that is beside the fireplace.
Several years ago, I discovered that by removing the window screen for that window, we could turn it into a pass through for the wood during the winter. It works well, and we don't feel a chill like we used to when we went out the door each time for wood. We simply slide open the bottom pane about 12 inches and reach outside and get the wood. I bet if you check around, you could set up a similar set up in your home.
Toss dried orange, lemon, or lime rinds onto your fire for a fresh, pleasant smell in your house.
While logs are burning, throw salt on them from time to time. This reduces the soot, making clean-up that much easier.
If you run out of fireplace matches, long matches that are useful or starting fires or lighting pilot lights, use a long piece of spaghetti. Just light the spaghetti and use it as a match.
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Tips for using a fireplace to heat your home, safely. Post your ideas.
Do not burn colored newspaper or magazines in your fireplace! They contain lead and when burned will emit dangerous levels of the lead. This can be extremely harmful especially to children!
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