Ted’s essays

feeling smug and toasty

stove heat shieldOur new woodstove is starting to earn its keep and has me feeling a bit clever with a couple of my installation innovations.

First off, it is definitely warm in my studio. Actually, as predicted, a bit over-warm, truth be told. Sitting a tad over three feet from the cabin’s heat source will do that.

Darn-near everyone is eager to explain to me that noisy fans are the answer.

I’m more inclined to dress for the occasion, rather than adding noise pollution and electrical consumption to my heating system.

Back to my innovations.

I have been dragging a couple sheet steel chunks around for over a decade. Unrelated to that or the woodstove in the then unforeseen future, I found a box of old-style electric fence insulators in a thrift store that were added to my hardware stores for no known reason.

Here they became related as my home-made heat shield. The room width dictated a stove installation closer to the wall than recommended without shielding. Costing me two rattle-cans of stove paint, I have a metal barrier to the heat with cool air rising behind it.

stove left ventA well-known issue with woodstove use is getting air for combustion and drawing the exhaust thereof up the chimney. It is widely known that you have to “crack a window” in houses that are tight and well-insulated.

That struck me as distinctly counter-productive when said outside air can be predicted to be well below freezing from time to time … and, in particular, really cold when you most want every bit of the heat you can get.

So I created an alternative to having Arctic air blowing in the window whilst I attempt to warm the cabin with a little wood burner.

Aimed directly at the bottom of the stove, where it INHALES for combustion, are two 1 1/2″ pieces of conduit scraps. Their outdoors ends wear hats I made of window screen material to keep spiders and tigers and bears out.

I ran them through the wall in such a fashion that they rest solidly on wall framing lumber, making a wonderfully sturdy pair of supports for the sheet metal that is spaced from the wall with ceramic fence-hot-wire insulators.stove vent close up

As the logs simmer away in the fireplace, my galvanized pipes conduct outside air directly at the place it is needed whereupon it is heated and sent up the chimney with lots and lots of residual heat radiating all over the place.

While not an innovation of mine, the woodstove itself has a cleverly-designed combustion chamber that swirls and burns cleanly without requiring a catalytic converter or any other built-in maintenance parts to meet current standards for wood fireplace output cleanliness.

Perhaps with the eyes of a proud mother,
I find the whole setup quite attractive.