Sunday, November 27
Wood Stove Update
Our wood stove was inspected by the town the other day, which slightly annoyed me in that we needed approval from someone else, and that we had to pay money for it. But I can understand that you just can't have people doing anything to their homes and then having those homes burn down from unsafe installations.
We passed, and we didn't need to put that tile down 16" out from the hearth, which was a very nice turn of events. I was dreading that since I hate installing ceramic tile and it would have damaged even more of my hardwoods. We were able to instead use a black fireproof mat of sorts and they said that was fine. It does double duty in that it keeps stray sparks from landing on the wood and gives Roy a place to make a little bit of a mess with the wood debris and ash that cleans up easy.
Our first fire last week was exciting, and smelly. Very, very smelly. I remember when we first got the pellet stove the first few fires were also stinky from the paint, treatments, and probably other things burning off. This was a little worse, especially when it reached operating temperature. We opened all the windows and put in fans and had the kids upstairs with the doors closed. That fire did not last long. The second attempt the next day resulted in setting off the downstairs smoke detector which did not bother the kids since they were sleeping upstairs, but it did send all three cats stampeding through the kitchen and into the basement.
Having both grown up with wood heat, we should have known all this but by the time we came along, our parents had already long since taken care of the breaking in of the stove.
We read that cast iron stoves need to be broken in with a series of fires starting with some twigs and ending with a full load of wood. So, we decided that we needed to have a day when Roy could stay home and build a series of fires, ending with a big, hot fire that could last about 6 hours or longer to burn off all the smells. Yesterday was the day.
The weather was slightly mild so the windows could be open and I took the little man and the new girl to the mall to meet Grandma. Let me just say that Grandma's are the best invention ever.
She took little man for the night and the little girl and I stayed out browsing at the local thrift stores for a few more hours. She is a great shopping partner - she just sleeps and looks cute.
About 7 hours after the burn-off began, I arrived home to a house that did not smell nearly as bad as I thought it would. A nice fire was roaring in the stove and there was some smell, but nothing compared to the eye-burning fiasco of the previous week.
I do believe that we will be having many comforting wood fires heating our home for many years to come.