Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dealing With the Cold

We don't usually have to deal with cold temperatures here, but for the past couple of days the nights have dropped down into the teens. The original cabin is not well insulated, but the new addition is insulated at about R19. The problem is that the new addition is more window than wall so we're not getting full advantage out of that insulation.

When the temperature fell to 15 degrees outside, the inside temperature was 35 degrees. That's NOT comfortable. We were all ok under big down comforters (and the kids piled on top of me like a bunch of puppies) but sooner or later you've got to get out of bed and get some work done. It didn't warm up much that day.

We have a woodstove from U.S. Stove company (a Magnolia) that is supposed to heat up to 2,400 square feet, but it doesn't. I think part of its problem is that it's poorly located. It's on the west wall of the cabin, 32 feet away from the western wall. When it's roaring, the upstairs directly above it is HOT but the living area (at the far end of the house) is chilly. There's no walls blocking the air flow between west and east but the heat just seems to go up and out as opposed to moving across the house.

Yesterday we went into town and bought a propane heater. One of the ventless ones. It supposedly will heat up to 1,000 square feet. We parked it in the new addition and turned it up to full blast. It's really warming up the whole house. The combination of propane heater and wood stove meant that last night we enjoyed a warm and comfortable sleep for the first time since this cold spell hit. I have no idea how much propane this thing is going through yet, but propane is still cheaper than wood.

I'm not sure how the pioneers in colder climes really did through the winter. Were their woodstoves more central to their cabins and their cabins better insulated then the big plywood box I live in? Or did they just suffer the cold better?

I hope you're staying warm and comfortable. I take comfort in the fact that these days are few here in my part of Texas.

1 comment:

OD from HT said...

How did they do it you ask? Easy, Dad got up early and got the fire going. Then he grabbed a shovel and shovel the snow off the wife and the kids' beds so they could get up and get dressed (fast!). Yes, the houses leaked so bad they would wake to inches of snow on the beds....or frost/frozen top blankets. They didn't know any it wasn't a "big deal".