Hello! I am moving to the mountains of western MD in a few weeks and am looking at a beautiful old farmhouse with 1 woodstove (a new Pacific Energy Summit) in the kitchen, 1 wood furnace in the basement (don't know what kind), and a coal stove in the basement (a Keystoker with a large stoker). I don't know anything about this type of heating, except that it sounds like a big time commitment, especially since I would live there alone and be gone to work all day. I was told by the person who showed the house that I would probably have to keep all three stoves going in the winter to keep the pipes from freezing. I'm not afraid of hard work, but I'm wondering if the amount of time spent heating the house is worth it. I really need to make a decision by Monday the 19th, and I'd love to hear your expert opinions! Thanks!
If the place is right and on your own then maybe keep it simple.
Is there a need to heat the whole place.
Can you live simply in one room say to begin with.
Then re-engineer the place to suit at your leisure.
As always it depends.
Lots of "depends" in this question.....
....is the property just what you want? If so, it may be worth the effort. But if it is not perfect, then you could come to hate the place.
....is the purchase price a bargain? You may have to resell if your experiment in learning to heat with wood and coal fails.
....do you have enough money and/or experience to make significant changes between now and winter, such as heavily insulating the house, insulating all the plumbing, installing central heating (even if its just a backup system)?
....do you know how to deal with frozen pipes, repair them, or are willing to learn? Willing to put up with the inconvenience during the learning process?
....are you considering adding a live in partner, tenant, employee who could tend the fires during the day?
....are you willing to get up at 3 a.m. to restoke the wood stoves?
....are you willing to come home or wake up to a cold house?
....do you have access to good firewood? Can you tell if the firewood for sale in your area is dried long enough or is of suitable tree species?
Many decades ago hubby and I purchased an old farm bungalow that had been empty two years and vandalized. Got it real cheap. We had little experience but lots of willingness to learn and work. The house had zero insulation, no functioning heat source, no functioning water source. We moved in in August. Both if us worked full time jobs, but we were dirt poor because of low pay and high debt. We never got the house insulated by winter, but we did get all the plumbing super insulated, got the well functional, installed glass in all the windows then covered them in plastic inside and out, closed off unused rooms that had no plumbing, stuffed newspaper into any holes around windows and doors, bought an inexpensive steel box stove and installed it, spent weekends cutting deadfall wood and wood pallets. We survived that first winter but it was cold. Had only one event of a frozen pipe...where it went through a cement basement wall. But the house was cold when we got home from work....45 degrees. We learned a lot real fast that winter. Looking back, the place was an excellent school for us for learning. We improved are skills every year.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
See posts above..... They know what they're talking about! Although I highly doubt you'd ever have occasion to run all 3 stoves at once, I did once, and it's the next thing to hell on earth. You get 2 fixed up, ashes hauled, fire tuned, the third needs something. It's a constant struggle. You being gone all day really wrecks the deal. I'd pass on this one, not that it's impossible, just that it's a heck of a lot of work for bare survival. Best, T
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