Friday, December 16, 2011

The Great Wood Stove Experiment

When Gary said that we would turn off all electrical heat in the house and only rely on the wood stove for heating for a couple of weeks, I was skeptical to say the least.  A bit scared maybe, definitely reluctant.

But after about 24 hours of staring at the roaring beast, I simply put a pan on there and guessed it should be easy enough to cook something.  And it was....kinda.

On the Monday we had breakfast, lunch and diner, and did all dishes using only the woodstove (which has a water reservoir that heats up water nicely and rather quickly) and the whole experiment turned into a game.  I still can't be patient enough to wait for the kettle to have fresh coffee.  And I can't imagine using the oven for baking at 350F, it would strip us down to underwear.  It's just not that cold enough outside yet.

What I've learned so far....

The stove needs preheating, it's not electric, it won't get hot in 2 minutes, it needs some time.  I say about  20 minutes to half an hour.  And if I want to use a cast iron pan, I need to put it on there during the pre-heating process.  The oven thermometer is a good gauge of the overall temperature of the stove.  When it hits 275F, we're getting pretty close to cooking time.

The Ecofan is pretty awesome.  We leave it on the stove all the time.  It shoots some heat down the hallway into the bedrooms and when its slows down, we know we need to add a log in there if we don't want the fire to die down.

But....we are now on a break.  The outside temperature shot up to 10 degrees celsius during the daytime, we don't have snow on the ground but an unusual amount of rain.  It's almost Christmas for Christ sake!  It was simply becoming uncomfortable in the house, especially if we crank up the heat of the stove to cooking temperature. But it is supposed to drop again and we'll put the stove back to work and hopefully, we'll try to learn how to keep the fire going through the night AND still keep a blanket on.

In the meantime, here are some pictures we took of our various meals prepared on the wood stove.
toasts on the stove are surprisingly tasty

re-heated leftovers

just starting diner...when I finished I was in a t-shirt with sweat on my brow


  1. We have electric heat too but have not used it very much in 30 years. We have a woodstove in our basement, not a nice cookstove like yours. It saves us a lot of money and when the power goes out we cook on it. It is a lot of work but we have enough free wood to last a lifetime all it takes is work. I am not afraid of work but am getting older and find it a little harder now. Love the meal on your stove makes me hungry. B

  2. I bought one of these from . I installed and it works fine. Heats my 2000
    square foot house. I have the pump connected to a UPS but I am not sure how long the pump will run if the electric goes out. I had it installed all winter and did not have to turn on my Electric heat once which saved me about 200 euro a month here in Romania.The Electric is not stable here so I had to rush to take out the fire a couple of times because the water pump had stopped and the pressure valves were going off. The UPS will solve that but I don't know how long a UPS will keep my central pump going. I will attach a pic of what chimney heaters are in case you are not familiar with them. The pump is a Grundfos and has three speeds.