Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Looking for a stove

Hello All
We have been thinking about keeping warm and keeping the bills down this week. Getting the two to go hand in hand is a challenge and we think the time has come to invest in the future.
We have more than one source of heat and cooking. Half the house is centrally heated by gas. Three of the rooms have independent gas fires. The large lounge has an open fire with a back boiler for hot water. We cook on a range cooker with gas jets and electric oven and of course we use a microwave and two slow cookers. Three bedrooms have no heating and here we use oil-filled radiators if needed. We only have heat on in the rooms being used and not necessarily then as we use knee blankets and hot water bottles in bed. Outside in the workshop we have an old army field kitchen, where D. and the guys keep warm, make hot drinks and I fill with baking if it is lit for any length of time. (Shed bread!)
 I asked D. if he could make a trivet for the open fire so that we could make hot drinks or cook a casserole while the fire was lit (while heating a tank of water)
D tells me that he has been thinking that we need to be more efficient and safer and that the open fire is only 32 percent efficient, whereas a multi fuel stove is 70 percent efficient. It can also be left, rather than watched all the time and uses considerably less fuel. He installed a back boiler and double tank when he installed the fire over 30 years ago, which was extremely forward thinking at the time - the tank was specially made to his specifications. So we are now looking for a multi-fuel stove with back boiler. I should be able to use the top for keeping food warm too. Our eldest daughter who is a fire officer is delighted that we will have a fire that will be better regulated and safer to use. The unit will cost between £500 and £1,500 - ouch! Watch this space.
I have also started a campaign to have his field kitchen put in my kitchen, which has a hole of exactly the right size, but he is loathe to lose it from his workshop. I'm not at confident that I will get my way on this one!
 Before anybody suggests that the way to save money would to be downsize - we aren't ready to do this yet. We will know when the time is right for that, probably when we can't manage the smallholding.

 I was intending to start my tomatoes off this week. I have plenty of seed for my outdoor and "speciality" tomatoes, but needed "Shirley" seed for my main greenhouse. So I popped into town and couldn't get any ! I am at the hospital tomorrow, which is close to a garden centre, so I will pop in there to see if they have any. If not D. wants to go the B&Q tomorrow (wrinkly day) maybe they will have some.

We have quite a lot of Civic Society and Canal restoration stuff going on this week, so are quite busy outside of the holding, so we will be on catch-up next week I guess. At least I'm never bored!!

All for now. Bit of a boring (for you)  post - sorry!
Gillx


18 comments:

  1. Your posts are never boring!
    We heat a kettle on the woodburner in the living room, for our evening cuppa and then for my hot water bottle.
    Wood burners are very efficient and quick and easy to light and to keep alight. I will miss it when we get too old to cope with the woodcutting

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    1. Hope that's a few years away yet for you! Our eldest daughter bought us eight bags of coal this Christmas. it seemed almost decadent after all the pallets and logs we normally burn.
      Gill

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  2. I am longing for a woodburner, in fact it is what we are saving for mow

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    1. Worth saving for! The ones without the back burner are usually cheaper.
      Gill

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  3. My woodburner heats the whole of the house ... mind you it is a tiny cottage .. but its great ... I dont know what I would do without it.
    We use to have one with a backboiler .. but at the time we were forever having powercuts .. and we needed the electricity to run the pump to move the water. When we replaced the woodburner we opted for one without a back boiler and installed a basic imersion heater .. less hassel.
    x

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    1. I'm really looking forward to getting one now. I keep looking on ebay and other such sights. we are going around some of the stove showrooms soon the get a better idea
      Gill

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  4. I've just managed to persuade my Mum to change provider for her gas/electric. It costs her as much to heat/run her one bedroom flat as it does for us to heat/run a four bedroom one!

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    1. Good for you! it is so difficult to know which provider is best with all the different tariffs, I really struggle to understand them.
      Gill

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  5. In our kitchen we have a wood-fired 'poor man's Aga' (deVille). Of all our heating appliances, it is by far the most efficient. It has a smallish fire box, and because the whole top is heavy steel it heats like crazy; as well as cooking. It's only, minor, fault is temperature control, which is very hit-n-miss.

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    1. I can picture it.! I've always preferred the look of a Rayburn to an AGA and I suspect the stove you have is similar to the ones I saw when in France.
      Do you have any other method of cooking?
      Gill

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    2. Yes, we have a standard gas hob, electric oven, cooker. I was up at 5.30 am this morning (as usual), and I chucked a log into the still burning embers of the stove, and the whole house is warm.

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  6. If I were living your dream I would NEVER downsize - would live and die on my land !

    I buy all my seeds over the internet; much more selection and saves roaming around the shops for mediocre stuff. I buy Seeds of Change over here in the States - beautiful, beautiful seeds. The army field kitchen sounds very intriguing; post a picture if you can...........

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    1. I'll take a picture of "his" stove tomorrow and post it. I will also take a picture of the place in the kitchen that I sure it would fit into nicely!
      D. says he is only leaving this place in a box !
      Gill

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  8. Looking forward to seeing the field kitchen! How exciting about the new stove, good luck. Would never do for me as any wood we store becomes full of wildlife and I cannot bear to see them struggle and burn and husband gets fed up with the time it takes me to brush them all off before putting wood on the fire. Now I discover that our coal is home to lots of small snails, so another job to do before lighting a fire. Perhaps I was a Buddhist in a previous life;)

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    1. I thought "Buddhist" when I read your comment !
      As we are not short of space we have several wood piles around the place for the wildlife. However, as we grow organically, whenever we gather our crops we have lots of little critters to deal with I'm trying to work out why you have snails in your coal!
      Gill

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  9. it doesn't have a back boiler but I would love one of these

    http://www.nectre.com/index.php?page=baker-s-oven

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