Mak­ing the most of your fire

A large num­ber of New Zealand homes are heated in win­ter courtesy of a multi-fuel burner, wood burner or open fire.

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

Very few of th­ese, how­ever, are con­nected to the hot wa­ter cylin­der, which when used fre­quently dur­ing the colder months of the year con­sumes a large amount of elec­tric­ity to keep the tem­per­a­ture at a re­quired level. Through­out the months of May, June, July and Au­gust, tra­di­tion­ally the cold­est months of the year in south­ern re­gions, the mere thought of lim­it­ing ones shower time to three or four min­utes or only do­ing the wash­ing once a week to help keep the power bill at a man­age­able level is some­thing the ma­jor­ity of us would rather not con­tem­plate. Most peo­ple would rather face the bot­tom fig­ure of the house­hold bill in­stead and worry about pay­ing it at a later date. How­ever there may be an al­ter­na­tive. Look­ing to the past may pro­vide sim­ple so­lu­tions for present prob­lems. Work­ing on the same prin­ci­ple as a coal range - the heat­ing as well as cook­ing sys­tem found in thou­sands of homes in the early 1900s, pip­ing is con­nected from the main heat source to the cylin­der and when­ever the fire is in use the wa­ter is heated. Of course there are still some costs at­tached to this and you still have to pur­chase fuel for the fire whether that is wood, coal, wood pel­lets or a com­bi­na­tion of all three. And while you will have to con­tinue to empty the ash pan reg­u­larly, it’s a small price to pay when you con­sider the over­all amount you’ll save heat­ing wa­ter. The one thing to keep in mind though is to turn down the ther­mo­stat on your hot wa­ter cylin­der be­fore you em­ploy the ser­vices of your wet back. There’s lit­tle or no point in hav­ing the tem­per­a­ture set at 20 de­grees or above when the warm glow from the fire is enough. You don’t want the hot wa­ter cylin­der im­plod­ing be­cause the outer struc­ture can­not han­dle the con­stant boil­ing wa­ter in­side or the ma­jor­ity of that valu­able hot wa­ter is flow­ing forth from the roof vent.

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