Wood stoves are a crackling happening in Kasilof. About 1996, Darrel Misner of North Cohoe introduced friends to a Central Boiler outdoor wood furnace. It required electricity for a circulating pump, but being past the power grid, he installed it in conjunction with a generator that starts and stops automatically, according to the level of charge in his batteries.
To see an example of a Central Boiler, look in the yard at radio station KWJG. There, a small shed with a smokestack houses a wood-fired boiler. Hot water is pumped via insulated lines to conventional radiators, possibly, in plural buildings. By keeping the furnace remote, smoke, ash, and the danger of fire is removed from a main structure.
Terry Cowart, off Kalifornsky Beach Road, uses one of these systems to heat a large home, greenhouse and racquetball court. Terry has his unit plumbed into an oil-fired boiler via a heat exchanger plate. If the temperature drops low enough, his oil-burner kicks on, allowing him to leave without concern about freezing his house.
Years ago, Bill Duncan pioneered a similar homemade heating unit near Coal Creek. His creation was topped with copper tubes buried in dirt. The dirt worked as a reservoir and his firebox was capable of consuming even non-organic material.
Ron Begin has a homemade, wood-fired, indoor boiler on South Cohoe. He took a large diameter pipe and then added the water jacket, door, controls and black paint. His boiler connects to hoses in the concrete slab of his shop with results of exuberant satisfaction.
Far more common are stoves designed to heat air. They are located inside homes and are also effective heaters. Some of them have an intake pipe, as well as a smokestack. An intake pipe allows the stove to boost efficiency by burning outside air. Stoves that burn inside air vacuum cold air through cracks into a house.
While wood stoves may thumb their nose at lethal-priced diesel, caution is required to operate them safely. Metal on the
floor under a stove is a wise precaution. In fact, the more concrete or metal around any stove and chimney, the better. Dry wood can ignite at temperatures around 500 degrees Fahrenheit, whether in a stove or on a wall.
Stoves should be cheery, not cherry. Red metal is both dangerous and damaging to the integrity of a stove. Gasoline should never go in a wood stove. A fire can and will bite the hand that feeds it flammable liquids. Smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and a ready source of water are all good companions to a wood stove. Special attention should be paid to air quality, both inside and outside your home. Neighbors savor clean air.
When your stove is radiating an aura of comfort, gather 'round with hot chocolate and tell the kids the horrors of hiking to the bus before global warming.
The Kasilof Historical Association gratefully thanks the numerous people who participated in their annual auction on Nov.15. It raised $5,000.
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