The forecasts of snow were fairly accurate for once. We got about an inch starting late Friday night.
Along with the snow came the cold. We measured 16F this morning, and the temperature never exceeded freezing during the day. Now, as I write this on Saturday night, it’s 19F and headed down.
We didn’t have any place to go during the day, but we did have an errand to run later. By the time we left at around 7 pm, the sun had cleared most of the snow and ice from the roads. We made it to our destination (the mall) with no problem, but it was closed. Around here, a rumor of snow results in widespread closings, especially since 2014 when Atlanta turned into a frozen parking lot after a little snow fell.
We have not used our wood-burning stove much this season, but we’re using it now. It’s taking some getting used to. In our old house, we had a big stove in the basement. It took large pieces of wood and lots of them. The new stove has a very small firebox, so it takes short pieces of wood split much smaller than I am used to, and it needs to be fed more often.
But the stove is keeping the living room comfortable, and the forced-air duct I installed is helping to keep the bedroom warm, too.
Here’s the stove in action.
The two sheets of metal at the sides and the sheet of metal below the stove are my additions to help keep the walls and floor cooler. I hope to make them a little more finished at some point.
I had originally intended to paint the metal black, but I’m considering not doing it now because of a reason that I find really interesting but probably no one else would. As we all know, we see in visible light. The heat that we feel coming from a wood-burning stove is just like visible light, but it has a longer wavelength and we can’t actually see it. We call that infrared radiation. We also know that dark objects absorb visible light and light objects reflect it. It turns out, however, that most objects, whether they look dark or light to us, are “dark” in the longer wavelengths of heat. Even white paint that reflects visible light still absorbs long-wavelength radiation. If you could see in the infrared, white paint would look dark gray.
One of the few common materials that reflects heat is shiny metal. Those plates are made from shiny metal. They don’t absorb heat, they reflect it. So even when the stove is putting out lots of heat, the metal plates right next to it are barely warm. It’s contrary to our intuition, but that’s physics. I find that cool, too.