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Unusual Wood-Burning Insert Installation

November/December 2010
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2010 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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November 07, 2010
Energy expert continues to learn from a deep energy retrofit of his Montana Home. This time he's installing a wood-burning stove to save money, add ambiance, and provide security during emergencies - like when runaway trains knock out a town's power.
As part of a low-energy retrofit of my 123-year-old home, I installed a wood-burning insert into the enameled cast-iron fireplace on the north exterior wall of my living room. I wanted to save money, create ambience, and provide security during disasters or extreme weather. Back in 1987, a rail car filled with explosives broke loose from its train up on McDonald Pass and came rolling down into Helena. The tanker car derailed and exploded, breaking all the windows at Carroll College and badly damaging the P.E. Center. The explosion knocked out Helena’s power for about six hours. Oh, yeah—the temperature at the time was minus 30°F with a 15 mph wind, creating a wind chill of minus 70°F. Frozen pipes in my kitchen turned my ground floor into a skating rink. This minor disaster would have caused me no problem if I'd had a woodstove.

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