We have definitely become solar nerds.
I’ve written before about timing and planning fires in the masonry stove based on the weather forecast. We’re definitely more skilled at this now than we were last year.
This year’s mild winter has created its own challenges. When it’s cold, it’s pretty clear what to do: light a fire. When it’s warm, it’s pretty clear what to do: don’t light a fire. But mild winters can be at the awkward place in the middle where we aren’t entirely sure whether a fire makes sense or not.
We’ve come up with a semi-calculus to determine whether a fire makes sense.
If it’s below 67 F when we get up in the morning in winter, we basically light the fire without thinking about it.
If it’s 67-68 F, we check the weather re: both temperature and sunshine. If the forecast is mostly sunny, we probably don’t need the fire. If it’s due to be mild both day and night, we probably don’t need the fire. But if it’s forecast to be cloudy and colder at night, time for the fire.
The good news is that we haven’t heated the house to 77 F and had to open the windows as much now that we’ve figured out how to regulate the inside temperature. The “bad” news is that it definitely takes a bit more work, thought, and planning than flipping a switch or rotating a thermostat.
But there is something really rewarding about, say, getting up this morning, the temperature was 68, and we looked at the forecast for the day: almost 50 F with some sun. No fire, it is. And sure enough, it’s now mid-afternoon, the sun is streaming in, and it’s plenty warm in the house sans fire.