A major step forward for Project Warm – installing the Jotul F500.

After getting a couple of angle grinders on a special deal from Bernard Pagès, I was unblocked for installing Mr. Green in the library. Here an old steel gate is my straight edge for cutting up a piece of galvanized steel for the register.



Mark the Spark gave me a talking to about the flange I forgot to buy for the chimney. It didn’t hold us back. That’s a Kent Skinner original on the wall above the fireplace. Hey Kent, your work is international now.



We were so disorganized for firewood. There is a ton of wood around the farm (probably several tons) but I had been so focused on windows, doors, plumbing and electrics that I didn’t think to get some of it in the house ready for the fire. A quick search in the cellar found a little pallet I could hack up into kindling, and I found a few chunkier scraps to test out the fire.

Mr. Green is a big stove, a 200 kg (440 lb) Jotul F500, and it takes a while to get up to heat before it burns efficiently. I’m undecided whether to use another stove this big for the mess, or to use a smaller stove that gets to temperature faster. I do want one with a cooktop so I can cook my cassoulet/bourgignon/random stew on top.



Old French houses are built with massive walls. The internal walls for the library are about as big as the external ones, running to 90cm or about three feet thick. With all that stone the temperatures move slowly, and at this time of the year you get residual summer heat thrown off from the walls into the room. The temperature has been dropping over the last couple of months at a low rate. It was 12.8 Celsius before we started the fire, down from 16 a few weeks before.

When you run a fireplace with such massive walls, it counteracts the slow decrease. If you run it hot enough for long enough it increases the internal wall temperature, but it will take a while to show up in comfort levels.

When we first came to France it was February, and our rental place had not been heated at all during the cold months. It took a couple of weeks of constant heat before the walls started radiating some heat back. Those were the two coldest weeks I can remember. After that time it wasn’t exactly warm, but we weren’t panicking with cold at every move.

So last night we fired up Mr. Green, and he threw his radiation out to the thermal mass of the surrounding fireplace stones, room walls and floor. This is a giant leap for Project Warm. Quattro is going to sleep in our room for a while and that room is directly above the library, so Quattro will feel the benefit of the warmth of the new fire. [And it is only four days to Q-Day.]


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