Solid Fuel

FTLComm - Tisdale - January 12, 2001
The chances of natural gas prices going down are low as the reserves of this precious commodity seem to be depleted and the demand is very high. It will be several years before a pipeline is constructed to draw the huge Arctic reserves down to the market place and by then the conventional supplies will be even further down and the prices will be more than most of us will want to spend.

Five years ago we moved into our house in Tisdale and it came equipped with a wood stove. However, the stove, though an excellent one has no markings and was not eligible for insurance. As a result it has sat unused for these past five years. But, with the price of gas having risen 23% it is time to reconsider. This little legal stove was bought from Sears, we pay 10% more for insurance and the heat is on.

As a kid getting in the wood or coal was part of my childhood chores, but in time the wood stove in the kitchen and Booker coal stove that heated the home were replaced with an electric stove and an oil fired space heater then a furnace. Though I had the experience of hauling in the fuel maintaining the fire was not my chore and it is proving to be a real challenge for me with this wood stove.
I doubt of this sort of appliance was really designed to provide more than decorative heat but I am determined to see how it turns out. The lighting of the think continues to be a problem as the cold air accumulates in the chimney and even with a hair drier I have to eat smoke at each lighting and it looks like the ceiling is going to need a real clean up come spring.

Once running the stove uses about three armfuls of wood a day and with it running the gas furnace rests completely during times of moderate temperatures like today.

As for economy, that is going to remain to be seen. A chord of fir firewood delivered will cost $90. The pile at the top of the page is a pickup full and was $45, plus tax and $20 for delivery. The good part of this process is that the fuel is not coming out of the ground and once burned will never be replaced. This is a renewable resource, this firewood came from a forest fire more than five years ago in the Gronlid area. It is waste material and is now doing its duty warming up the office and house.

The fire wood dealers in the area are noting a sharp increase in consumption this winter as I am not the only one to realise that this is a sensible means of heating one's home but it was interesting to note that the fellow who brought me this wood said that sales were up considerably last year as there has been a steady trend each year for people to move toward this supplementary form of heat. Using a wood fired furnace an average home can be heated with eight to nine chords of fire wood for the year, a mere $720.

With the cost of the stove, wood and added insurance I expect to see it paid for with the savings in natural gas consumption. We will let you know how this project turns out. In the mean time you will find me sitting by the fire smiling.