Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Nova Scotia Weather Update

Here we are on the 4th of October and the heat in our house is not on yet. We are finally getting some cooler evenings, down into the 6-10 degree celcius (43-50 f) range but it's warming up quickly, burning off any mist and we've had warm afternoons. We've just now pt the blanket on the bed instead of sleeping with a cotton sheet. It's like the perfect Autumn. The maples are all showing off their beautiful red leaves and the golden birch and alder leaves make a nice backdrop against the dark green of the pines and cedars. It's the most lovely time of the year. The smell of earth and apples hangs in the air and reminds me that Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, root veggies...all the delicious things I love about Fall.

I'm looking forward to having an extra day with the boys home to finish stocking some firewood into the garage in preparation for winter. Normally I'd have had it drying for a couple of years but there isn't room here so instead we found some lovely 2 year cut hardwood for $100 cord and we're loading it a half cord at a time into the little trailer to bring home. The farmer who is selling it has it all stacked in 8 foot logs and so the boys cut it to length for our firebox and then neatly stack it in the trailer. It's been outside getting nice and seasoned for 2 years so even though it got rained on during this past few days of rain due to hurricane Ophelia, it's still going to dry off again and burn well. Lots of heat, little smoke.

Our home has a wood furnace in the basement that blows warm air through a series of ducts throughout the house. But there are other types of heating too which use wood such as woodstoves, cookstoves and wood king's which heat water in a boiler and then transport it through radiators in the house. A properly functioning wood burning device is a wonderful thing, and will be one of the first things we look at when we buy our own place as I'd love a cook stove. New ones are incredibly expensive (See her for Lehman's stoves) so I'm looking at second hand.

Another reason we have not had the heat on yet is undoubtedly the insulation in this house. It acts both to keep heat inside the house and also too keep heat out. Providing a good even temperature year round is an important part of the comfort of a house. Keeping it cool in summer and warm in winter, the value of insulation cannot be understated. If you buy an older home it would be very wise to set aside some money to upgrade the insulation as this will pay for itself in a few years in fuel savings and comfort. Years ago people made do with drafty houses but we don't need to any more.

Insulation has changed over the years from newspaper and sawdust or no insulation, to membranes surrounding blown in fibre or fibreglass batts. And once you've got a good system in place it needs little to no maintenance and should last the life of the house provided it's not damaged by a leaky roof or poor ventilation. The CMHC has some good info here about vapour barriers, insulation and current building code requirements.

We'll post more about that once we have our house either ready to renovate or build. It's going to be fun!


  1. Arnt the waterford stanley's amazing cook stoves? I'll check my bookmarks and send you some links via email. I'mnot sure if its the stanley's but some model have the boilers built in to distribut to radiators. the canadian rep for one of the companies is in Mill Bay, and i have been meaning to stop and visit on my next trip through.


  2. I just remebered that i saw an old wood cook stove, along with a bunch of cast iron cook ware go for 300-400 dollars at the auction in nanaimo. Might be a good place to look for a used one. That and estate sales. The one i saw was is decent condition too. A steal of a deal. Also my uncle bought a wood/propane stove for his cabin from tye buy/sell/trade for 800.00 another great place to look.