Ready for winter?

We recently upgraded our wood burner to this Invicta Modena, the difference in efficiency between the and the previous one is huge. It burns less wood to generate the same heat and creates less ash in the process. Apparently it is 72% efficient. Over the past few months we've also been insulating the roof which now has 40cm of Rockwool to keep our heat from escaping.

The wood burner is our sole form of heating, we've just finished stacking 8 cubic meters of wood to feed it and we are looking forward to a warm winter.

How do you heat your home?

Interesting this as we have just moved into the Correze from the Jura, where it gets REALLY cold; Oil-fired radiators and large wood burner meant HUGE heating bills that we as pensioners were battling to meet. Big rooms didn't help and cathedral ceiling in the lounge was beautiful and warmed the mezzanine a treat!

Now we have a far older house with no double-glazing, but smaller rooms and a loft conversion. We were lucky that the upstairs has reversible heating/cooling which is great. Heating is supposed to be far cheaper with this system than anything, although the cooling has been a blessing as well. However the downstairs is equipped with the old iron radiators which previously have been oil-fired.

Our heating guy has done an analysis on the place, and as we have a small open fire in the small lounge, has suggested a 'pompe a Chaleur' (I think that's how you spell it). This is also apparently an economical system to run BUT expensive to install, at about €10,000 (ouch!). However it then converts the oil-fired heating system to a water one, and obviates the need to buy fuel. Again apparently it is cheap to run on electricity, but we have yet to see any bills so won't know for sure until next year.

However one thing we DO know is that spending €2000 a year in fuel oil - with every sign of it getting even more expensive, the investment seems practical ultimately - and is a permanent asset to the house if at any stage we want to sell again. Still decimates the old savings though.

Now that looks inviting. Maybe we should start a Woodburners Appreciation Guild - new version of the WAGs.

Thought I would post pictures of my wood burners too.

We have a well insulated house here in the Dordogne and find that either the Godin insert or the cuisiniere will keep us toasty all year round, about 7cuM (stère) pa. Being an idol SOB I tend to use the insert because then I only need to cut the wood into 50cm lengths :-), leccy provides the hot water on off peak and we have convector heaters as a back up. We tried lighting both wood burners once and ended up having to open the porte fenêtres!

We have a multi-fuel approach. There is the oil-fired boiler and radiators, underfloor heating from the geothermal and a wood runner. We have solar panels.
The whole house is well insulated and double-glazed.
We were toasty warm last year, even during the big freeze!!

I imported an Rayburn

It heats our water when the solar does not, does our central heating, we cook in it and the kitchen becomes the heart of the house. Right now we have a flue repair to do. By some kind of fluke a beer can got in and was lodged in the flue, so a collar was undone, now it needs rejoining, proper sweeping and the few bricks in the external wall replaced. By next weekend it will ready for when it is needed. It is a bit grubby from dogs rubbing up against it, but a quick spray with stove paint and she is ready for go. For now the solar is still making lots of hot water and the big open fire would do if really necessary.

We also have 21 steres of wood recently delivered and about five left over that are cut for the stove and open fire respectively cut and ready to go.

As is my way, I'm going a little overboard but that's primarily due to the fact our house is wide and I'm not sure heat will be radiated far enough. At the moment, the house is 100% electric which worries the heck out of me in case we lose power for any extended period of time. The only heating is 3 plug in oil rads. So, in tour main room will be this:

which should be installed during October. I chose a flat top model in case of an electrical shut down so that I can at least heat up water, food etc. As a back up (see, told you I go overboard) a friend of mine donated an old wood burner to put in a room at the far end of the house which has a huge fireplace. The door of the burner is broken so it would be more of an 'open' fire but I managed to pick up this fire guard at the depot vente for €10. This fire can give a little heat boost to the house in case temperatures plummet.

At the same time the fires are installed, my lovely handyman will also be insulating the roof which currently has nothing, the underside of the tiles is completely visible.

If anyone has a recommendation for the best roof insulation to use (as long as it's moderately priced) I'd love to hear it. It's a big outlay and I'd rather just have to do it once but effectively.

We have just installed a pellet central heating system which works like a dream. Like your wood burner there is very little ash. Far more efficient than the oil-fired central heating we had before and the tax people gave me 21 per cent of the cost back as a tax rebate this year. The system is Austrian -- Ökofen -- and it ain't cheap. But the running costs are about halved. Plus no smell of mazout!

On top of that we have solar panels which heat the water even in a Lozerien winter and a fireplace fitted with "un insert". Hot air from above the fireplace is blown into the upstairs rooms and this is enough to keep us warm in autumn and spring. It's not so efficient as modern wood burners so maybe one day we'll change it.

We also changed the insulation in the roof space from fibre glass to a very thick layer of cellulose (?) -- basically old newspapers converted into a fluffy substance that is then blown into every nook and cranny. The difference in insulation has been remarkable.