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Adding A Wood Stove To Your Homestead

Wood burning stove in homesteadWell, with October half over and Halloween approaching, the night are certainly getting much cooler here in Colorado.

Winter is just around the corner, and if you’re in the market for a wood or pellet stove, this is a good time to buy one and have it installed in your home.

In the previous blog post we talked about cast iron radiators, but many homesteads in the country aren’t set up for hot water heat, and a good quality wood stove is the best option.

Some folks who do have central heating still buy a wood stove to supplement the heating in their homes, especially in the rooms where the family spends the most time, like in the livingroom or kitchen.

And in fact if the temperature is above freezing outside, often a wood or pellet stove is all you need to keep the entire house warm enough to live in, and much cheaper to operate than a central heating system.

Things to consider when purchasing a wood stove.

There are a wide variety of choices available in stoves, and not just wood or pellet burning models either. There are a number corn burning stoves on the market today, and oil burning models as well. Each has it’s pros and cons, depending on the type of fuel that works best for you, the efficiency of the stove, emissions, how it is constructed, heat output, safety, and of course your budget.

One consideration is whether to buy a cast iron or welded steel stove. The cast iron models are more attractive than welded models, but they cost more, and after a few years they need to be rebuild to seal the joints between the steel panels to keep them from leaking.

Stove efficiency is another important consideration. The newer, certified stoves tend to be more energy efficient than the older models, as combustion technology has improved. Just as newer cars are more efficient at using gasoline, newer wood burning stoves are about one-third more efficient than the older pot belly or box style stoves. This might not sound like much, but consider the fact that you’ll only have to cut and haul two-thirds the amount of wood, and you’ll spend one-third the money if you buy your firewood. Plus efficiency also translates into less emissions, which makes these newer stove better for the environment as well.

If you would like to read a more detailed buyers guide for buying wood or pellet stoves you can visit the site below.

Wood Heat.org website

 

Vintage Cast Iron Radiators Are Reliable And Energ...

cast iron radiator for home heatingIf you grew up in an older home or apartment, or attended an older school building as a child, you now doubt have memories of the cast iron radiators used for heat in these buildings.

I for one have fond memories of these ornate and functional radiators in the elementary school I attended, listening to them softly pop and hiss, and holding my hands up to them to chase away the chill of a brisk autumn day.

Until World War II, hot water heating using cast iron radiators was the most popular form of heating in homes and other buildings. But then, after the war, forced air furnace systems began to replace hot water as the preferred form of home heating.

But recently hot water heating has started to make a comeback, especially with the new radiant in-floor hydronic heating systems being installed in new homes, and retro-fitted into existing homes as well.

This return to hot water heating has also brought with it the return of the classic cast-iron radiators of the early 20th Century. People are re-discovering these sturdy, reliable, and classically styled iron masterpieces and are combining them with their new hot water heating systems.

What most people don’t know is how energy efficient these iron radiators really are. They assume since this is “old” technology that radiators must be inefficient at transferring heat into a room, but that’s not the case. In fact studies have shown that cast iron “rads” as they referred to are quite efficient and delivering heat with properly installed and maintained.

These antique cast iron units work especially well with wood burning or natural gas boilers, and can even be used in solar heating systems as well to give your energy efficiency an added boost.

While many people who decide to choose this method of home heating buy new, reproduction iron radiators, there is another option. Original, refurbished cast iron radiators are available in most areas of the country. After all, there’s nothing like the original, and many times radiators a hundred years old are still in very serviceable condition.

During the refurbishing process, the old paint is removed, revealing the original textures and patina of the metal. Then the interior flushed out and any corrosion removed, and the radiators are repainted and returned to like-new condition.

If you’re considering converting your home to hot water heat in the near future, or you’re buying a new home, you should take a look at antique cast iron radiators as a way to add character and functional elegance to every room.

Self-Reliance and Sustainable Living

Many rural residents use alternative energy sources for "off the grid" livingIf you’ve heard about sustainable living, and self-reliance, but you’re not sure what these terms really mean, you’re not alone.

People who live in the city are typically reliant on a whole host of urban services and resources, from grocery stores to gas stations, utility companies, mass transit, police and fire departments,  hospitals, and more. Things that most urbanites take for granted. And so the term self-reliance can be confusing or misunderstood.

Self-sufficiency, self-reliance, sustainable living, these are all versions of the same ideal in which individuals or communities seek to live and work free of the outside world to one degree or another. This also goes hand-in-hand with a rural lifestyle, as most folks who live in the country are self-sufficient to one degree or another.

Being self-reliant is more than just growing your own food. Sustainable living means being able to “live off the grid” so to speak, and this can include generating your own renewable energy, making your own clothing and other textiles, repairing or even constructing your own home and other buildings, being able to hunt and fish for food, being able to handle medical or dental emergencies when then arise, and more.

Self-reliance is a state of mind

Self-sufficiency is a mindset to some extent, a willingness to forgo traditional comforts and conformities. It usually takes a strong-minded individual to go without the security of knowing there’s a grocery store nearby, or an emergency clinic around the corner. It harkens back to an earlier time in our history when just about everyone had to “live off the land” and fend for themselves in one way or another.

It goes without saying that this can be a big adjustment for city folk who’ve never had to be independent in his way. If you’re an urban dweller who’s considering a move to the country and a more self-reliant life, make sure you have some training and you know what you’re getting into first. It’s not for everyone, and you don’t want to find out the hard way that it’s not for you when you’re living on your own in a rural environment.

Self-reliance is important no matter where you live.

For many people, being self-sufficient and self-reliant is more about being ready to handle anything that might come their way, no matter where they live. With these uncertain economic times, and with climate change and the severe weather that we’re seeing around the country, being able to take care of yourself and your family in an emergency is important.

Some of the topics related to self-reliance include emergency preparedness, survival skills, proper food storage, building an emergency shelter in or near your home, hunting and firearms training, emergency power generation, water filtration, investing in precious metals, self-defense and martial arts, and more.