Almost six years ago when we moved into our drafty house, and after only about a month of burning oil (a lot of it, hoo-boy) we put in a wood stove for heat. As much as we loved having the wood stove, we were never entirely happy. It’s a lot of work, the house wasn’t ever truly warm, and well, it’s dirty. We knew we could do better and we both dreamed of getting an outdoor wood boiler.
This spring our dreams came true when this big girl was delivered. Pretty, isn’t she?
In case you’re not familiar with OWBs, they’re basically huge wood stoves that sit outside of your house. The fire in the stove heats the water inside of it, and that water travels into the house and into a heat exchanger where (in my overly simplified explanation) the pipes from the boiler touch the pipes containing the water in our baseboard heating system. This allows the water from the boiler to heat the water in the house without the two waters mixing. Water, water, water… Is this making any sense?
Essentially this would make it so we could use the heat in the house again, have a warm house (oh the luxury!) and not burn oil. We’ve had the boiler installed for a few months now, Luke’s been collecting wood for it, and we’ve been nervously awaiting the first cold snap that would tell us it was time to light the boiler.
Last week I woke Luke up for work several nights in a row wearing a sweater and a scarf. It was time. Saturday afternoon the boiler was lit, a happy dance was danced, and the heat was turned on for the first time in six years. Since then I’ve spent my evenings working around the house in a t-shirt! With short sleeves! I’ve even been hot on a few occasions. Is this how most people live? I forget what it’s like to not have a cold nose while watching TV at night. I’m actually giddy.
What makes me even more giddy is the fact that I don’t have to touch the boiler at all. It used to be my job to light the wood stove in the morning and afternoon, but now the wood (and the spiders and the ashes and the dirt…) stays outside and Luke loads it once a day. Sunday he didn’t have to load it at all; the wood he put in Saturday night burned through to Monday morning. I am totally in love. And also turning into a wimp. The house used to stay around 62 degrees – now the thermostat is set at 70. Any lower than that and I get cold. I’m even thinking of raising it to 72. Then I might not have to put the flannel sheets and the down comforter on the bed this winter. Imagine that. Oh I’m imagining that, and it’s wonderfully cozy and warm.