Building a fan for a recessed log burner

The house we're currently renting has got a log burner which has been recessed into where open fire used to be - basically, into a hole in the wall. All well and good, except it acts like a giant oven and is massively heating up the chimney stack and only slightly radiating heat out into the living spaces, whereas it should be the other way around.

Now I might not be much of an engineer when it comes to things like log burners, but luckily for me - my husband is. Within two weeks of moving here he came up with quite an ingenious plan to get the heat moving.

The first thing we did was to get rid of the decorative front panel. Sure, the log burner is unsightly now it's gone, but it was trapping the heat in the wall and we didn't much like that.

The next thing we did - well, technically my husband did - was build a fan to blow air from the living spaces into that recess... and push the heat out.

It's a fiddly little job, that is. The fan is about 30x30 centimetres, whereas the space between the log burner and the wall is only 6 cm, so in order to really get the air in there, he made a funnel out of an old chimney pipe. ($1 from the recycling centre.)

The other thing he did was build a little wooden frame to keep the fan in place. We got it from recycling centre ($2) and by the looks of it, it used to sit in somebody's kitchen exhaust. With a little help from wood offcuts and a few screws, it now sits firmly on the floor and isn't going anywhere. (The picture is taken from outside the fire guard, so don't mind the net in front.)

Between the fan and the powerplug he set up a switch for turning the fan on and off...

... and a timer to keep the fan working in the morning hours.

Now it might not look like much on the pictures (which I had to take either at daytime when the light was good but fire wasn't on, or at nighttime when the fire was on but light was bad - I chose the latter), but let me tell you: this setup has been a difference between a toasty, livable old house and a cold, damp old house.

We load up the fire before we go to bed, nice and high, and set the timer so that it doesn't start working until it's well past midnight when it's cooled down a bit and then it simply ticks over until we get up in the morning and load up the fire again.

It's sort of like a really hot, really efficient heat pump, only loads cheaper than a heat pump, and uglier, but hotter =).

Dead ladybirds and half earwigs

He pointing to the little one: "He's been eating ladybugs today. Do you know how I know that?"

Me: "Because there was one on his tongue?"

He: "Because he scooped out a wing from his mouth and gave it to me. There's also several half-earwigs on the carpet in front of the fire. I don't know if he's been eating them also."

Yum. The beauty of a 1-year-old.


There's an exodus of earwigs in our living room. They are walking running from the woodbasket where the baby is - bashing sticks and pinecones - to where, well, the baby isn't. And tell me that bugs aren't smart.

Unsaid by Neil Abramson

This is the single most powerful book I've read in my life.

Look, a Saturday again!

This time, it'll be my very bestest-favorite-awesomeness place - Mount Brewster.

Actually, I dare say I won't make it anywhere near Mount Brewster - or at least what I consider Mount Brewster. You know, the mountaintop.

I will, however, walk to the Brewster Hut.

Correction: I will attempt to walk to the Brewster Hut. 

Given how little exercise I've been doing lately and how ridiculously steep the climb is, I will most likely labour my way 2/3 up and half-collapse on the way down. But you know what?

I'm going anyway. I frickin' LOVE that track.

Another Google Earth screenshot.