Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Carbon Footprint

The wood stove stopped drawing a couple of days ago, smoking out into the living room and forcing us to shut the damper and put the fire out.  With more snow and cold weather on the way, David was up and onto the roof before he even had coffee this morning!  What dedication.
Here is what came out of the chimney, a giant bowl of black carbony soot.   A layer had built all the way across the pipe blocking the passage of smoke completely.  It really gave us pause and made us contemplate once again trading in our old stove for a newer cleaner burning one.  And the truth is, our chimney makes so much sooty creosote that we actually bang the stove pipe and take out about a gallon of stuff every couple of weeks of the winter.  Because we've been burning the stove almost continuously now for 3 months, soot is piling up even faster than normal.
It's a little easier for D to get up on the roof now that he's installed a catwalk system, but this picture doesn't really do the steepness and the height justice, I always get a little nervous when I see him way up there. We're not sure why our chimney builds up so much soot, maybe because its extremely long and the smoke cools down before leaving the chimney, or perhaps because we damp it down at night and it burns really slowly and not super hot? 

Not sure, but we had some long discussions today about changing this older stove out for one with a catalytic converter and I've also always wanted one with glass doors so I can see the fire, not quite the same as a fire place, but I really enjoy being able to see the flames.  We certainly don't want to give up having a stove, just being without a fire for 24 hours had me really missing that marvelous radiant heat.  Not to mention hearing the heat pump kicking on every 30 minutes, I can only imagine what our electric bill would look like if we didn't have the stove.

I'm hoping this latest cold rainy, wintery, snowy storm will be the last of the season for us.

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