It's been a miserable autumn for weather - more wet and windy and cold days than I can remember in other autumns, but I'm getting old and my blood (and body) is thinning, so maybe it's just me.
As I write this, the wind is howling outside and rain is pelting relentlessly against my office windows. My office is set apart from the main part of the old farmhouse - it was converted from its early life as a mud-room/storage area by the previous owners of the house, who were welcoming her mother from Scotland and built her a "granny suite". So it's relatively new - well insulated, no drafts, a lovely big bank of windows looking out over the fields.
It's a big room; my desk is under the windows (a huge old teacher's desk converted for use as a computer desk - looks great, but required some cabinetry to make it practical and I still think I'd be better off with a desk designed for a damn computer instead of for lesson planners and apples). That part of the room that isn't dominated by the desk and assorted credenzas and filing cabinets is devoted to my pool table.
And in the corner, a honkin' great propane fireplace.
The fireplace has been a source of concern. It gives off a nice, gentle warmth, but it's a propane pig, and propane ain't getting any cheaper. Last winter it cost more than $1100 to heat this single frigging room. I'm not a penny-pincher, but I hate literally burning up money.
When my chimney guy was here to service the two woodstoves we have in the main house, I asked him about replacing the propane with a woodstove. Turns out it wouldn't be very expensive - evidently, there's a fair market for used propane fireplaces, because they're decorative and efficient - they're just not the best thing to use as a sole source of heat for a big room. A lovely thing for ambience, sure. But as a primary heat source - not so much.
Problem is, I've already laid in five cords of firewood for the winter, and the last thing I want to do is throw in another fireplace, then find myself in March looking around for someone to unload a truckload of sodden, unseasoned firewood on me.
So this weekend I went out and bought a space heater - an oil-filled electric radiator that seems to do the job nicely - a pleasant, gentle warmth that suffuses the room. A ceiling fan helps to keep the heat from just flowing up to the ceiling and out.
It's a 1500 watt heater ... if anybody has experience with these big boys, I'd love to hear about it. I have no idea whether I'm just picking the pocket of Superior Propane in order to make Maritime Electric richer. Not that I care who gets rich off me - I'd just like everybody to get a little less rich.
You know, except me.