I’ve been thinking about home heating a lot lately. I suppose it’s something you do when you live in a house built in 1888 and insulated (well, sort of) with – wait for it – sawdust. And when the temperature outside is -27C when you get up in the morning (or more precisely, when your early-rising husband does). And when the accompanying wind can be felt coming in under and around the front door. And when you realize how cold the stuff that you’ve parked against an exterior wall is.
And most especially when you look at the cost of getting the tank for your oil-fired furnace filled up. All too frequently.
Now, one fairly quick fix for all this is to get a wood-burning stove to heat the most-lived-in sections of the Manse. That’s something I’ve written about in previous posts, like here, where I rambled on about whether an old-fashioned style or a sleek modern Euopean stove would be right for this house. Well over a year after I wrote that post I still haven’t decided, and it’s an academic question anyway because Raymond and I really can’t think about putting in a wood stove until we have a sense of what we want the final layout of the house to be, and hence where the wood stove should go. Given the building-code and fire-code and insurance requirements for installation of a wood-burning stove, you really want to put it in the right place the first time. Moving chimneys is no small matter.
But in the meantime, as I sit here in my rather drafty Manse, I have come to appreciate the beauty and efficiency of radiators. Yes, I do mean those old iron things – though these days they can be in much lighter metals. Why have I become such a fan of radiators? Well, several reasons; but first among them is the fact that they give off a constant gentle heat. Our Montreal home had a natural-gas-powered furnace that heats water that in turn heats the building through a series of radiators that must be original to the building. It’s old-fashioned technology that works absolutely perfectly in 2013. And I just took it for granted – until we acquired the Manse, which gets quite toasty when the oil-fired furnace kicks in, but then gets drafty again when the furnace kicks out. That constant gentle heat from a series of radiators is looking pretty good on this particular winter night in Queensborough.
Now, I don’t know too many people who’ve included installation of radiators as part of their home renovation, but I think it would be a cool thing to do. We could go for the old-fashioned look; see the photo of the Versailles model made by a U.K. company called Aestus at the top of this post – and here’s another view of that gorgeous model:
But that company also makes very modern radiators. Take a look at this one, called the Squeeze, artist-designed in stainless steel:
And then there’s something in-between, a radiator that looks not unlike the c. 1920 ones we had in Montreal but that is brand new:
So yeah, radiators: I think they’re the berries, to use a funky old phrase that I heard (for the first time in decades) the other day. The way I see it there’s only one down side to them: any wall space taken up with radiators is wall space that can’t be used for bookshelves. And have I mentioned that Raymond and I have (ahem) quite a few books?