Sunday, November 15, 2009

Let Burning Season Begin!

My wife paid me a compliment today. "You smell like smoke," she said. Of course that can only mean one thing. It's burning season!
Yes, that's right. I fired up the Hardy H2 this weekend signifying the start of a long awaited part of our year. Now I can put my summer's labor into action. All that wood in and around the wood shed is poised...ready to have its turn to provide heat to the house and family. Northeast Ohio has had unbelievable weather of late. We have been in the mid 60's (f) during the days and the high 40's at night. I don't ever remember the date being this close to Thanksgiving and being able to sit outside for a birthday we did on Saturday. Wow...I guess this is what people do in Memphis in November. The past three years I have averaged my first firing at Halloween but this year I almost made it to Thanksgiving. I was in shorts and a T-shirt when I lit the fire this weekend. The water temperature read 50 degrees when I struck the first match and it was up to operating temperature in about 1 hour...that's 170 degrees. So after I finished up outside I came in to tell my wife the good news. It turns out I didn't need to as she could tell by the distinctive odor of woodsmoke on me that free heat awaits!
The Hardy is designed to kick on the firebox blower when the water temp drops below 150 degrees. During this initial firing, I unplugged the blower and simply left the ash bin door open and let the natural draft feed the fire. Once the water temp got up to 150 degrees I plugged the blower in and let it do its thing. I wanted to be sure the Hardy was working properly after sitting dormant all summer. Once the temp got to 170 degrees, the blower shut off, the flap closed and all was well. Next, I went into the house and opened the valves that run the domestic water out to the Hardy. I keep the valves closed in the summer. Once I opened the valves, the feed to my domestic hot water heat was routed thru the heat exchanger inside the Hardy and then back into my domestic hot water tank. Voila, free hot water. You gotta love it. Last, I went upstairs and turned off the thermostat for my forced air (propane) furnace and turned on the Hardy's thermostat. I dialed up the heat until I heard the Hardy relay kick on and listened as my blower from the forced air furnace begin to run. I walked over to the closest furnace register and felt the hot air roaring out of it. Let their be heat! After being shut down and dormant since March, the Hardy awoke from its slumber and took off without missing a beat.
I fed the firebox with small rounds to help build up a nice ash level for this warm weather. I like to run with more ash in the ash bin when the weather is warm as this helps stoke the flames when the Hardy needs more heat. So all I did this weekend was heat my house for free, and entertain compliments from my wife.

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