Monday, September 10, 2007

CO2 Emission

Please forgive us; here's another of our domestic mess.

This is our wood burner, which is a fireplace with a lid, and the main method of heating our house in the winter. As of last month, homes in our section of Nelson can apply for an interest-free loan to replace old fire places and wood burners. Our is old enough, and we qualify for the loan, and we have three choices: gas heating, electric heating, or a newer, more environmentally safe wood burners.

I am terrified of gas, so that's automatically out. Electric heating, including something called "heat pumps" have been popular here, but one heat pump guy told us the layout of our house wasn't suitable for a heat pump. Besides, in NZ, electricity supply can get iffy at times, so I'm not sure if we want to rely on electricity.

I love the ambiance of burning wood; our wood burner is what is called a "wet back"; it is connected to our hot water tank. Our hot water is normally heated electrically, but when the fire is going, some heat is sent to the hot water tank as well, producing nice, soft hot water. And sometimes that little screen on the wood burner is far more entertaining than the TV.

But with wood, we must buy them before or during the summer and let them dry completely. We must lug them all the way from outside the garage to the living room, or at least stack them outside the kitchen at some point. Burning wood slowly mark the walls and everything else in the room, and leaves a lot of dust and soot all over.

And the worst problem is, what's on offer is an interest-free LOAN, so we have to fork out the money one way or another.

In Central Nelson, open fire places will be banned very shortly. So this interest-free loan means sooner or later outdated wood burners will be banned in this section of town also.

Oh, the wine boxes? I carry the log in those, because right now the logs are downstairs, outside the garage door, where we get quite a lot of wind. We bought a bit additional wood mid-winter, and they need some more drying.

Post Script: I just heard on the radio, 9AM Tuesday, that there is to be no "old" fire places in Nelson by 2013. They proceed neighborhood by neighborhood, so I'm not sure if we're given that much time, however.


  1. It sounds like you have a dilemma about what to do. I certainly don't know what would be best for you in Nelson. We have central heating with a fireplace thats more decorative than useful. Haven't been through winter in our new place yet so we will see.

  2. If you have a problem with gas, maybe you should change your diet.

    I see.

    You mean gas as a FUEL....!

    My aim is to be as independent of external energy sources as possible. We're stuck here in Europe at the mercy of the ratbag Russians (who cut supplies by 50% last week because....?) and the ratbag Saudis.

    Woodburner for me and solar panels for hotwater

  3. Sue, this is just one big headache for me!

    JB, got out the wrong side of the bed, did you?

  4. We'd be lost without our gas central heating which rarely goes off. Most of the UK went smokeless about the 60s so we're well past the teething-trouble stages.

    we changed the boiler to a more-efficient one a few years back but our bills are still pretty expensive.

    I wouldn't go all-electric as then you've no back-up if one goes off.

    Good luck with the change-over whichever way you decide to go.

  5. Exactly, Gerald. No backup. Even though Nelson doesn't get too cold even on the coldest days, (it never snows on the flat part where we live), chilly mornings are tough on the old bones, so I'm thinking, the fancy wood burners... Besides, logs are still pretty inexpensive here.

    But our house, when we moved in in 1997, still had these two concrete "boxes" in the garage for coal storage. The house was built in '61, I think, so at least they used coal heating in the 60's around here.

    I can't believe that the 60's are so far away from where we are now; it was a long time ago in terms of my life, but in lifestyle and technology, it doesn't feel that drastically different.


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