Sunday, January 10, 2010

The hunt for a Wood Stove.....

Vermont Castings "Encore"

See that? That's the Wood Stove David and I wanted to put in our living room - right where the original fireplace would have been located....IF the previous owners hadn't taken it and the chimney out/down during their own time in residence here. In the interest of self-sustainability, I want one that I can cook on and we both want one that is EPA approved for its efficiency and emission levels. David and I began the day with a certain level of excitement and I must admit to visions of spending next Christmas around a beautiful and warm fire with a pot of hot chocolate or wassail bubbling away on the stove dancing in my head.....and so Monday morning, influenced by the weather predictions of at least 7 more days of this freezing weather (not to mention the thought of just how hard the rest of this winter would be), we got out the phone book and put on our long johns and ski jackets and dug out the gloves and then, headed to town to find us that stove. Only to find that all of the retailers here locally have gone out of business.

We stopped in at one business that operates without inventory and will put in the stoves for you, but ordering it? Well, he assured us that if we ordered it online he would install it for us and he also recommended the exact wood stove we'd been wishing we headed back to our cold home to see about ordering online.

Ordering a Wood Stove on line is not really an issue but waiting for it would be. While a lot of the online stores didn't charge you shipping, there would be a three week wait time to receive the thing and YOU are responsible for its three weeks we'll probably be back up in the 80's down here...and I needed heat asap. There is one dealer in the state of Florida that will sell you one of these beauties, but...they want almost a thousand dollars more then the suggested retail price of Vermont Castings....that left us with the option of ordering on line and waiting until almost spring...

So we set about looking at used stoves and smaller ones and less attractive ones and antique ones and......we realized that a lot of the stoves are actually illegal now. You have to check with your local and state authorities to be certain that you can purchase and install certain makes and models. Now, we could probably get away with installing one of these least for a time, but with Cap and Tax in the works (or increased regulation by the already far reaching EPA if Cap and Tax dies in the Congress), eventually we'd have to replace it or pay fines or go to jail or who the heck knows....And to be honest, the EPA threat doesn't weigh as much on our minds as the safety issues of installing a wood burning stove ourselves and well, despite our being Conservatives who don't believe Al Gore and his global warming hysteria (hey, are you cold right now?) we do subscribe to the idea that all of us should take steps to become less destructive of this planet God has blessed us with after an afternoon spent in my freezing office searching out our internet options, back to the discussion table we went.

Adding up the costs of ordering a wood stove online and then paying for someone to off load it and then install it, we realized that we could replace the downstairs heat pump/ac unit for just about the same amount of money.. and a whole lot faster. So, Tuesday morning we had a heating company out here....they thought they could probably fix our unit and they tried...we had heat for about an hour and then whamo, it fried the part they had added....! We placed a call to the company and the owner was at our house about two hours later and we'd agreed to put in a new system....on Wednesday morning, as we waited for the installers to arrive, the upstairs unit stopped blowing warm air. We turned it off and waited for it to unfreeze.....turned it back on and...nothing. We repeated that....and nothing. We now had no heat whatsoever in this house. The temperature plummeted to the high 40's downstairs and to about 55 upstairs....David and I bundled up and called the company to report that our second unit was now not working.....

To make a long story short...the downstairs system went in on Wednesday....but we had to call an electrician to bring the wiring up to code....but that also meant that we could add heat strips to the heat pump and bring our efficiency rating from a 7.5 to a 10.5% rating.....that's a good thing. Wednesday night and Thursday, the outside temps only allowed the new unit to warm the house to about 67 just couldn't get it any warmer..after they added the heat strips late on Thursday afternoon we had the house temp downstairs to 72 degrees....I opened those blinds and curtains and as I looked outside at the views I love, I was in long as I stayed downstairs!

To be continued.....

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