Cold Weather Preps

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    I have learned a few things from this cold snap. A few months ago I purchased a small wood stove from Vogelzang, the Defender, to take the chill off my basement. I have a fireplace with both sides open but there isn’t enough draft in the flue to properly burn an open fire. So I decided to try this stove as a “poor mans” insert.

    My east basement end is 100% exposed with a double door and 1 window with 3/4″ insulation in a finished wall. The west wall is 100% under ground with a garage on the ground level. A stairs & walkway with one door goes from the garage to a hallway entering the main part of the basement. The north/south walls are 20% exposed with 3 basement windows on the south side. The basement is 10″ block with brick veneer above ground level.

    The stove does take the chill off with about a 3-5 degree uptick but it takes all day. AND, when the sun is shining I remove the interior window covers to get some solar warming. But I think about half that warmth is released with the single glass windows which are about 14″ x 31″. The basement area is about 1550 square feet.

    I moved back here from Florida (WHY?) about 7 years ago and this is the longest and coldest winter since being back. Lesson learned: when I finish the south basement wall this summer, put in insulation and get a bigger stove. The Defender would be okay for an area of less that 900 sq. feet. The downside to this stove is that the blower is very poor (I use an additional fan to blow hot air from the stove) the fire box is not high enough above the door, easily allows smoke to come out and the ash tray is about 50% too small. The firebox will only allow enough wood to burn for about 2-3 hours. Then you have to resupply the box. Oh yea, the design of the stove is that there is not adjustable draft. When starting a new fire the door must be left open a crack to get some draft going. After that the open draft is such that it keeps the fire supplied with just enough air.

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