Why my fire is toast

NZ Lifestyle Block - - From The Editor -

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

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