Why my fire is toast
IF I COULD offer you only one tip, investing in a quality fireplace would be it.
My little house has a floor space of 77m². Thanks to a double height ceiling the actual volume to heat is about half that size again, but it’s still pretty small.
I’m not going to tell you what kind of heating you need. Personally, I love wood burners. If, like me, you get to the end of your building budget and the last thing you have to buy is the woodburner, the one on sale (that was the cheapest in the store to begin with) may not be the right choice.
Things started well. I had some beautifully seasoned wood thanks to the Herculean efforts of my Dad and my brother who chopped down an old shelterbelt of casuarina (sheoak). This tree makes great firewood. It’s also a good shelterbelt, albeit one that loved the conditions on my parent’s block so much, it grew to insane heights and girths unheard of in its native Australia. It also had a terrible habit of dumping thick coatings of stinky, allergy-inducing pollen. That’s one tip for another day.
But after the first year, despite burning good wood, and getting the local chimney sweeper in (turns out, ask your local fire brigade, there’s always at least one who is a part-time chimney sweep), my fire just stopped having the ability to heat well. I had been hoping for nights where I could toast marshmallows but instead had to eat them au natural. It was pitiful.
I gave up using it. It must have taken that personally because one day – having not been used in months – there was a loud crash. A steel panel at the back had fallen off. You can’t see behind it, but some feeling around revealed large slivers of rusted steel that broke off in my hands. No leaks present. Just rust like a creeping mould.
I’m saving up for a good woodburner.
It must have taken that personally because one day... a steel panel just fell off.
Nadene Hall, Editor