By Trina Machacek
I try not to generalize because generally not everyone will fit into a generalization, uh, generally. However—you thought I was going to slip in a “but” here didn’t you? Well generally I would, but today I felt a bit however-ish. Let’s see how things heat up.
Generally everyone has a favorite heat source. Be it a forced air furnace fed by a pipe full of propane, natural gas or wired to electricity, baseboard heaters plugged in and warming tootsies in kitchens, dining rooms and bathrooms, electric space heaters tucked under a desk, a pellet driven stove in the family room, oil heater, coal furnace in the basement or my favorite, a wood stove. “Everyone” (there’s that pesky generalization) yes everyone has a favorite way of seeking heat.
And everyone, generally, will tell you that their method of warming up is the easiest, cheapest, most efficient and by far the most desirable way to keep frost from forming on the end of your nose during winter. How can that be, that everyone is right? Well let’s just take a look at some of the claims heard during winters past…
Right off I am going to attack pellet stoves. I know, I know they are good for the atmosphere, use a renewable resource to heat up feet, are pretty easy to obtain fuel for, kinda easy to install, look pretty in a room and yes I’ll admit they do heat feet. I know families that have not one but two pellet stoves in their homes. They are in restaurants too, showing off the fire glow. But still, right off the thing I don’t understand is why anyone would want one. You have to feed it 40 pound bags of fuel several times a day depending on how thin your blood is as compared to how warm you want to keep that blood. When the stove is lit and warming it has a constant fan blowing and I’m here to tell you that if your box starts to run out of pellets that comfy little wind storm gets cool faster than you can get to the stove to re-fuel. So no pellet stove for me.
Not many households have no furnace at all. Except maybe mine. We built our home when a new thing, heat in the ceiling, was all the rage. It’s pretty nice, but one thing it doesn’t do is move the air like a furnace does. Sucking up cold air, dust, lint and sneeze cast off particles, catching it all in a filter that you should change every six months like the batteries in your smoke detectors when the time changes in the spring and fall. That’s a mouthful…
I miss a furnace for that reason and the whoosh of it coming to life each morning and as you stand over your favorite vent to get warm air blowing up your—well let’s face it who doesn’t like warm air blowing up their jammie pant leg? But the tight wallet-ed side of me only hears cha-ching when I am within ear shot of a furnace exploding to life and throwing out hot air. That is one reason when I stay at a hotel I turn the heat/air on high—I want to hear that baby kick on so I can be sure I am getting my money’s worth in heating or cooling dollars. I feel I am not alone in this.
Space heaters, baseboard heaters, even what is called a toe heater tucked in under the cabinet under the kitchen sink all have their purposes but only heat small areas so they aren’t really a defendable heat source for this conversation. They have good and bad marks. I give them good marks because I have one by my computer, one in my bathroom and a couple of big old #1 diesel fueled space heaters in the shop that are nice to flip the switch on and get toasted by.
But far and away, to bring a smile on this face a wood fire cannot be beat. There is no waiting period for a wood fire to heat your backside. There’s no other sound like bubbling, cracklin’ pitch makes as it burns. Even though warm air flows up your jammies from a furnace there is nothing like backing up to a wood stove and then turning around and getting hit full in the face with an envelope of heat rising from a wood fire. Be it from your living room stove or at campfire, after the fire is lit the first thing you usually hear is, “Aaaahhh.”
Winter’s coming, choose your weapon—I mean heat source wisely.
Trina lives in Eureka. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org