Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Thrifty Housekeeping - Heating

It is amazing how quickly attitudes changed. It was only three years ago when we started renovation work on the cottage. The workmen were horrified that    we wanted solid fuel and not oil or gas as our only heat source.
They assured us that we would regret it. It was inconvenient and old fashioned but we know that oil prices were going to keep rising, which in time would make solid fuel more attractive and popular again. We were correct.

The thing I love about solid fuel is the choice. We have the choice to burn so many different fuels, from turf, coal or timber. We can buy in small quantities or large. Produce our own or buy in.
When you burn oil, your only choice is oil.

In our cottage we have a stanley range in the kitchen. This heats the water and eight radiators. It will easily cook the dinner or boil the kettle or even bake the bread.
It uses a bag of turf a day during the milder months. It would be lit from afternoon onwards. 
During the couple of colder months, it uses two bags a day. It is lit first thing in the morning and the firebox filled up before bed. It would still be hot in the morning. With the embers still glowing, it is just a matter of adding a few more sods of turf and emptying the ash box.

It produces a very warm kitchen and we usually leave the doors open so the heat travels throughout the cottage. Sometimes I wonder if we needed the radiators at all! 

We have an open fire in our sitting room. We will put in a non-boiler stove during the winter to improve efficiency. We only use this when it is very cold to boost the heating. 
We are plumbed for hot water solar panels. But we have yet to have the panels installed. At the moment our hot water is heated by emersion during the summer but hopefully this will change soon. The panels will boost the cylinder temperatures during the winter meaning that the stanley range will not need to work so hard.

A plot of turf bog came with the cottage. It is located about six miles away. It gets cut by machine in May usually, depending on weather.
We then turn, foot and bag the turf to bring home. It is then dry and burns well. 
We also fell twenty mature trees a few years ago that we still have not cut and stacked yet. As I said before, hubby has a very long to do list.
We usually buy kindling to start the fire and a few bags of coal as it burns hotter during Dec/Jan when it is very cold.

Our heating costs for the year are a few hundred euro. To pay the machine cutter, some coal and kindling. 
And a few hot evenings spent in the bog turning turf to dry it before bringing it home. 


  1. i love your blogs. Your life is so different from ours in Australia but our dreams and aims are much the same.Good Luck

  2. Thanks. I guess the main difference is climate and opposite seasons

  3. We have a range also it heats the rads 5 in total as I have turned off the one in sitting room where the open fire is , but oh my it is so so costly to keep feeding it , we burn briquettes and coal as turf just doesnt seem to do the job maybe we need to insulate but our heating costs are about 40 euros a week and a constant bother as often we need at least spend a further 10 of 15 if it is very cold. This is one of our main outgoings and would really love to improve this , also the range is usually cold in the morning unless we are up very late ,and keep it topped up any suggestions would be welcome on how to improve our heating expenditure.


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