True confessions … or “Woodstoves for Dummies”

True confessions … or “Woodstoves for Dummies”

One of the best aspects of blogging is the opportunity to share with the world all the dumb things you do. And I have one for you.

My home has a small wood stove and it’s a great thing. You can stack as much as you want into it, heat up the place to 80 degrees, and keep your heating bill down all winter. (A cord of wood that can last a good part of the winter costs $160 or so.) Of course, since you’re dealing with fire, you have to take a few more precautions than if you had a regular furnace and there a few onerous tasks.

One of those tasks is shoveling out the ashes. It builds up fairly quickly so you have to do it a few times a week. Well, we haven’t gotten around to buying an actual metal ash bucket yet, so we’ve been using a plastic pail. Since the ashes can still be hot in the morning, you have to pour water over it to cool them off. You can see where this is going, right?

So this morning, I shoveled out the ashes, lit a new fire, and hopped in the shower. When I came out there was a cloud of smoke in the house and an acrid smell. I bolted into the den (wearing only a towel!) and found the plastic pail with two holes melted in it and hot coals melting the rug. I grabbed the pail and put it out the back door (losing my towel in the process; I apologize to any neighbors for the awful sight) and filled a container of water and poured it over it and the rug.

Thank God and my guardian angel I didn’t do much harm. I feel like an idiot, but I’m glad I can laugh about it now. For a second’s inattention, I could have burned the house down around my ears.

Now excuse me while I go buy a real ash bucket and new plastic pail.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli