Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Here Comes the Cold

A major cold snap is heading to northeast Ohio and we are expecting temperatures near or below zero for about the next three days. This isn't the first time my Hardy has faced this type of cold and probably won't be the last.
I remember the first cold snap my OWB lived thru was in our first year of operation and we had zero degree weather for a week in early February. It was real cold. I worried about my house's demands for heat would overwhelm my Hardy H2 but, to be honest, I don't think my little Hardy even broke a sweat. Now, that's not to say it didn't burn thru a lot of wood...it did...a whole lot....but never did our house feel cold or needed supplemental heat. The Hardy passed its first test with flying colors. I remember one night during this cold spell how I stuffed my firebox as full as I could get it with round logs of cherry and maple. The next morning before I left for work, I opened the door to the firebox and my jaw dropped as I was looking at nothing but grates. My Hardy had burnt thru that entire filling of logs. Wow! I thought. It was amazing to see how all of those logs...probably about nine 8 inch logs had just disappeared to ash. But at least our house was warm. Our house is a 3000 sq foot two story but we shut down a bonus room in the winter since we never go in there except when visitors come.
My two friends have Central Boiler (CB) brand OWB's and despite our BTU outputs being almost similar...My H2 is rated a little lower than theirs...their furnaces dwarf mine in size. Theirs are about as tall as a porta-potty and twice as wide and deep. When I hang out at their place and watch them tinker with their OWB's I lose perspective of how much smaller my Hardy is compared to theirs. When I go back home and out to my Hardy, I am taken back at how small my H2 is compared to the CB. I believe my friends' both hold 250 gallons of water compared to mine which holds 100 gallons. I know the square footage of our houses are roughly the same but I just can't get over how much smaller the Hardy is in size compared to the Central Boiler...and it heats my house just fine. I have the feeling that my Hardy will use more wood than theirs this winter...but how much more I don't know. I don't think I will be way off compared to their usage.
One thing I know for sure...my Hardy was much cheaper than the CB's. When I was pricing OWB's prior to purchasing my Hardy, the CB's were about $5000 more than what I paid for my H2. I was told that the CB's are much more efficient than other OWB's but I don't see how that can be so. If I am honest, the OWB is not that efficient to begin with...a lot of heat is lost out your smoke stack, and into the ground as the hot water is pumped into the house. But I paid $5000 for my Hardy and I think that the $5000 savings would buy me a lot of firewood. If my Hardy is not as efficient as the others...I will take the savings on the front end and spend the savings...if I want to...on insulation, or Chainsaws...probably chainsaws...I love chainsaws.

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