Using the Floor Furnace

Laura’s little house on the prairie has two sources of heat.

Our primary source of heat is our woodburning stove.  Kevin and his father installed it for our first winter here.  We aim to use the woodburning stove most of the time.  It is mostly free heat.  Since our land is full of trees in various stages of dying, our wood is free.  My husband cuts the wood with his chainsaw.  We also sometimes borrow my father-in-law’s log splitter.  I (try to) stack all the wood when my husband cuts it.  Due to my uncoordination, I am not capable of operating the chainsaw, so I stack. The costs associated with the woodburning stove amount to around $100 per year at the most, including chainsaw fuel, matches, an annual new chainsaw chain, starter log, etc.  I’ll write more about that one of these days.

2010… We annually hang the stockings by the piano with care since we’reworried that if they’re by the chimney with care they’ll burn the house down.  My baby is four now.

Our backup heat source (which was the primary one for a long time in this house’s history) is our floor furnace.  Since some may be unfamiliar with those, I’ll try to explain.  The furnace itself is actually located in our basement.  It has a stamp on it that says it was made in 1940-something.  The furnace is suspended under our livingroom floor.  Our livingroom has a big grate in the floor.  The heat comes out of there.  It is adjustable, however there is no thermostat.  (It’s interesting to note that some insurance companies have refused to insure our house because of that furnace.)  The furnace burns heating oil and does not need electricity to run.  Although it keeps the house toasty, like all heating oil furnaces, it is expensive to run. We try to avoid running it and cover it with an area rug when not in use.

2012… Here is Baby3 putting a soft tape measure on the tree.We think he thought it was garland.

The floor furnace is under that rug that’s under the tree.



2008, here is the grate on the floor…It’s actually an awesome furnace because it doesn’t even require electric to work.

A view of the floor furnace in our creepy basement…

Tuesday 4/9/13 was the day of the blizzard that never was.  What we did get was wind and wind and lots more wind.  It was also really really cold.  I hate wind.  I know, living on the prairie is not the right place to live when I hate wind.  It got so bitterly cold, too.  Plus I had to dig the wood out for the stove.  I kept having to gather the wood.  We were going through the wood so fast, making sure the stove was giving out a lot of heat.  We gave up and Kevin rearranged our livingroom and lit our actual furnace.  Lighting the floor furnace is actually a process, a process which I’m actually unable to complete myself.  But, I have old pictures from 2008…

2008, the lighting process…
2008, the lighting process…
2008, the lighting process…
2008, lit..


2008, with the grate up.I know this is an old picture, but the furnace looks the

same now as it did then, as it also did in the 1940’s. Well,  we have a new carpet.

This year… We could be in one of those home magazines with

our oh-so-stylish safety gate surrounding the floor furnace,

a necessity in a house full of toddlers and preschoolers.

The first time that we used the floor furnace last season was when our glass door on the woodburning stove exploded.  My wonderful heroic neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Wonderful Neighbor, picked me up the new glass when they went to Colorado Springs. Good neighbors are such a blessing.



When the glass broke,I had to put that fire out with water to prevent the house from getting smoky.
Just starting a fire behind the new glass… hooray for no soot yet! 


You can watch a video of a new floor furnace here.  I was actually pretty surprised to learn that they still make them.

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