It's that time of year again, where thoughts turn to heat. This is Canada, after all, where -20C isn't a curiosity but a reality. Although we're reveling in beautiful weather these days, the advent of colder days is inevitable.
Our wood stove is an EPA2 certified slow combustion stove. Our model is the Esprit, made in Austria by Austroflamm for Rika. Curiously, we bought this at a local wood stove dealer. It was the only one they had in stock, and so different from the more traditional Vermont Castings-style wood stoves common on the market-place, that we were immediately sold on it. It has a much more modern look, and is SOLID. Seriously, this is one well-made wood stove. We call him Wilfred. I'm in love with Wilfie. Wilfie is my BFF.
At some point in time, we're going to have to break down and polish the copper wall. I kind of like the patina it's developed over the years, but the fingerprints from people going, "ooooohhhh, is that copper?" as they smudge their greasy digits on the metal drove Eric nuts for many years. I kind of find it funny - it's like people mark their territory without meaning to. And it's a house, after all, things are going to get pinged, dented, smudged, scratched and tarnished. Or maybe Eric has an unhealthy obsession with the copper wall - I don't know - but I do know he ordered special polishing pads for our new Fein Multitool specifically to clean it. I plan on popping a batch of popcorn and sitting back and watching as Eric polishes the copper wall. I will revel in every last second of watching Eric clean. That was part of the deal when we installed it - ain't no way I was going to add "polishing of copper wall" to the already long list of menial home chores.
We don't count on our wood stove to heat the entire house, though. When we rebuilt the upstairs, we decided we wouldn't skimp on heating. We had had enough of paint cans freezing because it was so cold upstairs. Eric slept with a tuque on for the first few years (no, I'm not kidding!), and used a feather mattress TOPPER as a duvet. I'm a bit happier, because I enjoy sleeping in a freezing room, but still, there's the problem of my pillow freezing to the outside walls when it gets to -20C. There's got to be a happy medium.
Years ago, at a home show, we fell in love with Calorigen's Flex radiant heaters when we were looking at solutions for upstairs heating. Radiant heat is different from the heat of regular electric baseboards that most people have in Quebec. Radiant heat warms the objects in a room, and not the air, so it's not nearly as drying as regular baseboards. While doing the renovations upstairs, we wired everything in to accommodate Calorigen's heaters, and when we were ready to make the purchase, we came up empty. Calorigen was nowhere to be found. We called around - I mean - the company was there one month - and next month - poof! they were gone. Eric dug a bit deeper, and found a distributor that was liquidating Calorigen's stock. Cash 'n carry - at a substantial rebate. They even threw in extra temperature control probes for good measure, so we're good for the next 40 years, give or take. Calorigen is still in production, but they moved their manufacturing facility, hence the fire sale. Sometimes, taking time to make a purchase pays off.
Since I'm the chief cleaning-woman in our house, I appreciate the fact I don't need to dust the tops of the baseboards upstairs. They always collect so much dog and cat hair, which is not the case with the Calorigens. Regular baseboards also make this somewhat annoying tick-tick-tick sound as they heat-up. It's not prohibitive, but it is a bit annoying. The Calorigens don't do that - they're totally quiet. The are also slim and unobtrusive, unlike standard baseboards. They're also not the same price, in case you're wondering. They're way, way, way more expensive.
One day, we'll get around to making the window frames. Eric's in charge of that. For now, you'll have to be satisfied with the vapour barrier and a Glad garbage bag curtain that is happily out of sight in the photo. Our house probably looks like a grow-op from the outside with curtains as natty as that.
In case you need reminding, this is the blight we had in this room before:
So, with our renovations completed upstairs (give or take a bit of trim), R44 insulation tucked into every nook and cranny, Wilfie going full-bore downstairs, you think we need nice radiant heaters upstairs? We barely need to turn them on. I guess we did a better job insulating than we anticipated.