I still haven’t worked out who I want to be or what I want to do when I grow up, so on this blog please join me while I try and work it out while keeping child-like creativity alive!  Find home and fashion inspiration; travel and days out; photography, writing and more. Have fun looking around 🙂

 

00

The practicalities of wood-fired heating & owning a Rayburn

Rayburn 345w advice

My posts about the Rayburn 345W are still some of my most popular as there is so little information about them. Now we’ve had ours for four years, I thought I’d put together a list of practicalities that should be considered if you’re thinking about heating your house with wood….

(I’ll refer to the Rayburn as that is what I have, but this applies to any wood-fired boiler type heating system.)

1. Is there someone at home all day? You bank down the fire box overnight, but it won’t bank down from 9-5 as well if you’re out at work. Even if you’re up early and get it roaring into life for a couple of hours before leaving the house, you may be able to get it bank down for the day, but tar deposits will soon build up in your chimney and cause problems. Also, I’d be surprised if your house would ever feel properly warm.

2. What sort of flooring do you have in your kitchen? It needs to be hardwearing enough to withstand a wheel-barrow loaded with logs going across it and ideally heat-proof as hot ash pans, partly burned logs and hot pokers will invariably end up on your floor. Whatever it is, give it a good layer of padding – perhaps an old thick carpet – when the oven is delivered – the weight of it being brought in will crack your tiles.

3. How much space do you have? We have about a 1m square log basket next to the oven. This can take 2 wheel-barrow loads of logs piled high, which lasts a day and night in really cold weather. (Most of the time 1 heaped wheel-barrow plus an armful is enough.)
Also, you will need space for a back-up cooker for when the fire won’t get going when you want it to, and for the summer as it is unlikely you’ll have it lit then. We have a counter-top halogen oven which does us fine most of the time, and a baby-Belling under the sink for cakes as the halogen oven is useless for cakes; and when I’m feeding more than the usual family. And a microwave.

4. Do you have a strong back? Mine gets stronger throughout the winter! However, bending over to collect the logs into the barrow, and then bending over again to get them from the barrow to the basket can be quite tough on the old back. My thighs also get stronger in winter from squatting and strange lunging positions I do to avoid back-ache.

5. Do you have a big/shabby driveway? We inherited from the previous owners a rough, patched up driveway with a concrete/rubbly surface. Not pretty, and therefore not a problem when the truck reverses along it and dumps a tonne and a half of logs onto it. Will you have somewhere else to park your car?

6.Where will you store your logs? The first year I immediately spent a day wheeling several barrow-loads of logs to the shed and stacked them neatly and tidily against the wall in rows. By the end of the second year we were chucking over a ground-sheet where they were unloaded. Last year though, in the torrential storms the country suffered from, water seeped through the groundsheet and the gales through it off several times despite many rocks holding it down. It rained constantly for weeks, which made it impossible to move them to the shed anyway. This year I have three layers of groundsheet and a system that whenever I bring one load into the kitchen, I take two to the shed so after a few days it’s all done. Ideally wherever you keep them won’t be too far from the kitchen! If you haven’t got a shed or secure log shelter think about how you’ll keep them safe – if they’re left on your front drive you could end up heating the neighbouring houses as well as your own!

7. How much time do you have? In one go it takes me about four hours to shift a tonne and half of logs to the shed. Of course, this depends on the distance from the dumped logs to your shelter. I treat it like a good free workout – lots of squatting and twisting and I usually lose a pound or two that day! Also, we’ve recently started to let the Rayburn go out on a fortnightly basis to completely sweep the chimney. Once a month we give the whole thing a thorough clean, which takes about forty-five minutes. In really cold January weather, the Rayburn needs checking on and another couple of logs added on an hourly basis.

8. How strong are you? In order to give the Rayburn a thorough clean, you have to lift the iron plate off the top so you can sweep through the soot. This is extremely heavy. I recommend going to a show-room and checking you can lift this off, (the whole thing – not just the small round bit) place it on the floor and lift it on again.

9. How pernickety are you about dirt and dust? If you love cleaning or are one of these strange people who find it therapeutic, then great – you’ll love it because you’ll need to clean your kitchen three times more often than you used to. If you like a spotless kitchen, but hate cleaning, then a wood-fired oven is not for you. We don’t eat off our kitchen floor, so I don’t worry too much about it. I wipe off an inch of dust when my parents are due to visit.

10. Do you get your fingernails done? If so, save your money when you’ve got the Rayburn lit – it isn’t worth trying to keep them nice! My nails are frankly embarrassing in winter – thank god for gloves! After cleaning tar from the flue chamber, they are black for a week no matter how long you soak them. They will also break and chip below the base of the nails regularly just from picking up the logs slightly wrong.

11. Do you have patience? I read a message board somewhere with someone complaining about the lack of instructions and lack of help from Rayburn customer services. This is true – from the sounds of it, no-one at customer services actually owns a wood-fired Rayburn themselves. You are given basic instructions when you buy one – how to bank it down; and that’s pretty much it. You are really left to figure it out for yourselves. The knack of how to control it is definitely only learned by experience. Please type in ‘Rayburn’ in the search bar on my page for other pieces of advice. I’ll be writing more about this over the winter season, so please come back to have a look.

I’m sure there are more things to add – I’ll edit this post as and when I think of them. Please leave a comment if you’re a wood-fired oven owner and can think of something I’ve forgotten and together we can save the world from unprepared Rayburn owners!

Home,
00no comment

Other posts you may like:

Beauty blogger
Looking for the perfect base – Review of Boots No 7 day cream; Rimmel mattifying primer & Bare Minerals matt powder foundation
October 12, 2017
I’m sure I could be psycho-analysed about this; but I cannot run out of something unless I’ve already bought the thing I’m going to use next – even if I know that’s not for some time! During our recent trip to America, I planned on buying a few products that I regularly use so that I have them all set to go when I ‘hit pan’ on my current ones! The first of these is the No7 Protect and Perfect Day Cream. I stood in my local Boots a couple of months ago and couldn’t bring myself to spend £25 on the next one, so I thought I’d wait until I could get it slightly cheaper across the pond. The second item was Maybelline mineral powder foundation, but as they didn’t have that any more, I was tempted into buying the Bare Minerals matte powder foundation instead. The primer was an impulse purchase as I was drawn in by the ‘mattifying’ bit on the label. Yes, there is a theme here. And yes, if a matte moisturising day cream existed, I would buy that too!….
Review of the Rose and Crown in Dunton Green
Review of the Rose and Crown restaurant in Dunton Green, Sevenoaks, Kent
February 9, 2018
There is a fundamental problem about going to visit my parents, and that is that the dog has to sleep in our bedroom. If he doesn’t he ends up scratching the door or waking everyone up whining, so instead I suffer with the noise he makes while he sleeps. Imagine something like a cross between an elephant and a sea-lion snoring whilst dreaming of mating, and you’ve almost got the level of noise our beloved Loki makes at night. (And day for that matter. Whenever he’s asleep basically.) So I admit, I was in somewhat of a tired daze the day we went to the Rose and Crown pub restaurant in Dunton Green to celebrate Dad’s birthday. However, I do remember the essentials well enough to write a little review….
review of things are what you make of them by adam j. kurtz
A review of ‘Things are what you make of them’ – Life advice for Creatives by Adam J. Kurtz
March 21, 2018
Rain kindly bought this book for me for Mothers’ Day, and I’ve since managed to fit in the odd five minutes here and there to read it. That’s one good thing about Things Are What You Make Of Them – it doesn’t take long to read! Oh that makes me sound like I don’t like it, which isn’t true. It’s a book for the current generation who take their entertainment and information in snippets; in bite-size chunks of Instagram stories. There are even perforated edges so you can choose your favourite little pages of words of wisdom to put up on your copper magnet board next to the foiled print that says Eat Sleep Create….

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.