Sunday, January 23, 2011
I had people over recently and they actually did remark, "Wow, it's so warm in here!" I replied, "That's because I have a Vermont Castings Defiant model parlor furnace." The stove has the date 1975 imprinted on an interior piece. Vermont Castings has since been bought by a foreign company (Scandinavian, I think). They still make a model called the Defiant, which looks superficially similar, but is completely different inside.
I don't know why they changed it -- this one works just fine. It is indeed defiant, of the cold. It heats my whole house, although tonight we will meet the biggest challenge yet, that serious arctic air and temperatures well below 0 Fahrenheit. I can't be here during the day tomorrow either, so I'll also see how well the house can hold on to heat while the fire is banked.
Most people out here burn wood because, well, why not, there's plenty of it. But wood heat is no answer to our bigger problems as a society. Where there are a lot of wood stoves in a concentrated area, the pollution is unacceptable. (They had big problems in Aspen, but they deserve it.) It obviously won't work for the vast majority of people, who live in cities. And it was the demand for fuel, not timber, that left New England deforested 100 years ago. For a sustainable yield, you need more than 10 acres per household, and that doesn't work for very many folks.
Also, it's a lot of work, which not everyone has the time or physical capacity to perform. Somebody has to be around much of the day.
It's a rewarding hobby for me, saves on what would otherwise be one or another form of fossil fuel and a gym membership, and let's me make use of dead fall and dying trees that would otherwise go to waste. But we need to find other ways to save the world.