Well, the wind, rain, snow and cold is driving in on Dunedin today, and we're all thinking about heating. Here's my story so far...

Last week I ordered $100 of "dry, eucalyptus firewood". The fella came and tipped it on the lane in front of my house and served me the bill plus delivery fee. (I'm still getting used to the quality of service in these parts). As I was shifting the pile to a better place I couldn't help wondering how heavy and wet it felt. The delivery fella was long gone and anyway, I'm sure he would've palmed me off with some remark like "sweet as mate" or "nah, its as good as gold". On the first day we tried to use it we were bitterly disappointed. Hard to start, a log actually kills the fire if its not hot enough! This stuff is still wet and green!

So we went and picked up a few old packing pallets from the hardware stores that give them away. Pallets come in pine, oregon, and even eucalypt! After breaking them up we have good heat. I'm very reluctant to waste the expensive load of firewood on the flame if it is not properly seasoned, and there's no way in hell I'm going to drive our power bill up from a nice $40 per month to well over $250 per month just through electric heating! (our neighbours hit $420 last month!!!)

Enter the firelogs we found down at the warehouse. We discovered these things for the first time this week and we're liking them! Made from compressed sawdust and although the box says nothing added, I suspect they have paraffin wax in them. These things burn hot and long! I estimate that one firelog burns for about 1 hour. A box of 8 costs $6, and you could make a box go one night in a good firebox. So by my estimates it would cost $180 a month to burn firelogs. It costs about $120 a month on delivered firewood.

For $60 extra what do we get?

Ready to burn, cleaner to burn, better heat, excellent cooking coals, very tidy, no chop chop, easy storage, easy portability, feel good for using a waste product...

If we could find dry seasoned wood, we'd probably go for the cost savings over the firelog - unless we find a cheaper supplier. We really like having a fire, it is miles better heat and more reliable than our neighbour's air conditioner. And our firebox seems to cost about the same to run as an airconditioner. I think we'll be planting a few eucs down the front section this winter - they might come in handy a few years from now...


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