I have seen the temperature-not wind chill, drop to –26F in 1983. This was a cold winter; I do not remember the wind chill factor, as I was too busy keeping us warm. There are some interesting facts concerning keeping warm. I want to address warmth for the younger readers; a wood stove ensconces older readers.
Let us start with basic warmth before technology entered our lives. Nothing beats the warmth of a big wood fired kitchen stove where you can open the oven and prop your feet up on the open door till your socks steam. Those days are largely gone. Wood stoves are now considered environmental hazards and the sale of wood stoves is doomed to failure. So if you inherit a wood stove-treasure it.
All heating stoves, be it wood, oil, propane or kerosene located in a house have some sort of chimney. I have written about building brick and tile chimneys inside the house (best) and chimneys outside on the wall (not so good). Winter wind will pull heat off the outside chimney and make it hard to draw the smoke up and out. Old time house chimneys for wood stoves were 2/3 inside the walls and the top 1/3 were outside and up. When you light your stove, fireplace, oil furnace, or propane boilers you need to gradually build up the heating of the lower part of the chimney and what is exposed to the outside will be cold and draw better. Sometimes this takes a couple of days.
Wind Chill is real. For every mile per hour wind speed striking a surface the air temperature drops ½ degree F. I cite this as an example: -10F air temperature and a 20 MPH wind; the chill is-20F. Sounds like Canada to me. You can lose your fingers in 10 minutes to frost bite, but in 6 minutes you will not feel anything anyway. Think frostbite. Autos are hard to start; children at the school bus stop freeze.
Frostbite is the freezing of your exposed body tissues. If you are not properly dressed for wind chill you can get frostbite just as well as if you are naked. Little children are at risk as their clothing is mostly poor “dress up buy me” clothing and not made for bitter winters. Let me add that fake fur, faux fur lines, or trimmed faux fur in a coat can become wet from your body giving off perspiration, or being rained on; maybe falling in the creek, and can become frozen. This further draws heat from the body. I did see one winter coat in Sportsmen Guide that had a zipper off faux fur trim on the hood. Good thinking. Old man winter cares not for style.
We live in good times! “Hot Hands”™, an orange colored packet, available in all outdoor departments of Wal*Mart, is inexpensive and offers a constant gentle heat source for toes, hands, and feet. Although not advertised the packet is an oxygen depletion packet for your survival jars and buckets to keep bugs out, or those bugs in the grains-dead. There exists at some cost battery operated heating for coats, gloves and boots. Check www. Amazon.com.
The cost of keeping warm this winter and any winter relates to your labors as well as money invested in an obsolete house heating system. I say obsolete heat system as the cost of delivered heating oil still ranges at $4.00 a gallon. An average house at 0F will burn 600 gallons a winter with an oil fired boiler with baseboard heating.
Wood seems to be the cheapest with the fireplace romance; cast iron wood stoves just require wood. Some may be extra heavy duty for coal. You can burn wood in a coal stove but not coal in a wood stove-too hot. Your wood stove once installed requires approval by your insurance company. Heed this. Well there are considerations. The most recent advance in wood heating is the outside wood stove providing either water baseboard heating or hot air. Hot air is the more inexpensive of the outdoor wood stove. The problem with the outdoor wood stove, as with all wood heating is that you have to buy wood to be delivered, or go cut wood yourself. Needless to say the distributor will deliver the outside stove to your pre-poured concrete slab, and you have to connect to the house.
My experience is that locals who are desperate for money seldom live up to their promises to deliver wood. Forestry woodcutting is very dangerous and hard work. Sometimes commercial interests can be had to deliver wood, but they are not reliable either.
So this leaves you to gather wood, and those big outdoor wood stoves EAT wood faster than you can cut it. You have to find a source to cut wood, hopefully for free as buying wood, even wood to cut yourself adds up. Figure about $100.00 a cord. Mostly wood is sold at a pickup truck load, un- stacked for about $65.00 a load.
The danger of anyone going into the brush and cutting wood is paramount. Most trees will fall-kickback, or fall down in a gully where you cannot drag them out. This requires a winch-more money- a cut logging road, a truck and young people to help. Also you need a chain saw and spare chains, maybe two saws.
Modern houses that list a fireplace are not real fireplaces but for gas logs. Real wood fireplaces are very expensive to build and inserts, such as a Heat-a-Later, if still available are costly. Always use a “Fire Back”, iron plate with a fireplace. Chimneys that have wood smoke develop creosote and require a chimney sweeping. If you buy an older home with a chimney you need to have it inspected for repairs before closing. Today repair is running a stainless steel pipe up the chimney. I prefer a chimney cap. Creosote if it catches fire, and it will, is like a rocket going off and will burn the house down. Some chimneys, such as those used for cooking stoves have CO2 built in extinguishers.
Needless to say you cannot burn pine in a wood stove or fireplace because of creosote build up. You can burn pine in a outside wood stove. For inside stoves and fireplaces that can burn wood, insist on oak. Apple smells good, Locust wood smells bad, but is hot. Cherry is a soft wood and makes a lot of ash.
While all this is going on, that wind chill factor is working on the side of your house. Plant trees to block the wind. Usually pines and other evergreens do well but not too close, and watch the root circumference because of septic tanks, leach lines and gas, water and electric lines underground.
Wind chill while working a snow thrower with your perspiration build up, or working in the greenhouse; and really working up a sweat will add to your wind chill quickly; even a chill in the drafty house. Old folks have to be aware of this and change into dry clothing when inside after being outside. Kids too.
Lastly I want to mention roofs collapse in heavy snows. Old houses had steep roofs, newer ranch styles have relatively big snow catchers, and snow is heavy. Stay off roofs. Use a long snow rake and next spring put in wood supports from joists to rafters in the attic. Consider metal roofs. Shingles when ice coated will slide off the roof. Wind chill builds up ice.
Good luck. Live long and prosper.
COPYRIGHT: Back2theLand.com, All rights reserved 2/28/2015.