This past week we've been using our new digital indoor/outdoor thermometer. Generally we've been keeping the indoor station in the centre of the tipi (about 3.5' away from the RMH barrel), and sometimes we'll tour it to different areas of interest in the space; and the outdoor probe stays behind the tipi, inside a can (protected from the elements) in the shade.
This past week we experienced a cold snap (see our frost photos in previous post). The OUTDOOR temperature by night was an average of 15 degrees F (-9C). The INDOOR temperature (in the centre of the room) by night would start at about 50-60F (10-15C), and by morning it'd cool off to about 32 (0C). Our bed, despite the temperature of the air, was always consistently warm, right through to morning. We have down sleeping bags rated 15F (-9C), and the heated mass that continues to warm us through the buckwheat tick mattress
We have also now experienced the highs and lows of temperature control by the RMH. We find that the mass and atmosphere in the tipi is uncomfortable enough that taking a few days away from the tipi is something we try to avoid now. It's not a big nuisance to get the place warm again, but for two people who like reading and playing music (two activities that involve the extremities being exposed), it's been ideal to keep the tipi consistently warm. Regular firing of the RMH also results in a more efficiently burning system, making it easier to burn each batch, and we think
we burn less wood (rather than needing to feed a good, hot fire to the system just to get the mass warm and air temperature heightened).
We also went through the inverse situation- getting the RMH too warm for comfort (again, not uncomfortable by much, but just enough to not want to over-do the warmth factor). Cooking 3 meals inside the tipi on a warm day, or feeding the RMH with many small pieces of wood for a hot burn can cause the place to exceed normal comfort levels. We've had two instances where half of the indoor tipi area was as high as 104F (40C), as the barrel was scorching hot (see photo of the purple-hot barrel top). And on both those occasions I woke up in the night from being too hot to sleep (which is so rare for me, a heavy sleeper!).
So, we now practice some pretty simple, maybe obvious, but important intuitive habits in order to balance the temperature in the tipi. We fire it at regular intervals based on convenience (when we're about to cook a meal) and outdoor temperature situation (if it's a cold day, we fire it more). It's an intuitive, rewarding process to be so in-touch with our home's heat source. And aside from that, now that we live in a canvas home we are more aware (especially me, a city
gal) of how our daily life activities effect our warmth. For example, I had a little llifestyle habit reminder over the weekend. I was doing some desk work in the tipi, when my fingers were getting cold and I was losing my dexterity, and yet I knew that stoking the RMH with tiny pieces of wood to get the place hot was not the answer. Movement. I can solve my heat issues by simply taking a break from a sedentary task and move around a bit, take a walk, chop some wood, get the life back in me.
And that is it for this temperature post. More later!