Heat and wood smoke

We did not move to Turkey under the illusion that it would be warm all of the time.  Hilary has been obsessively tracking temperatures in several Turkish cities for just over five years now, we’ve been told how cold it gets in winter and we’ve read about the chilly winters on various blogs and fora.  When we were house hunting two things on our list of must-haves (or must be able to gets) were solar panels for water heating and a soba to keep us warm in winter.  This place has both.  What we didn’t really expect was for it to get this cold this quickly.  Looking back over Hilary’s carefully Excelled graphs, it doesn’t usually get this cold this quickly.  The thing that has surprised us most is how quickly the temperature drops after the sun goes down.

We have taken to lighting the soba as soon as the sun sets.

On the upside, we have still been able to use solar heated water most days.  It doesn’t come out of the shower very fast, so it’s best to get the house warm first.  We have to boil kettles for washing up but we’re pretty sure it costs less to boil a couple of kettles than it does to heat the water with the electric boiler.  It rained in early October but that is the only time it has seriously rained since we moved here.  This is very  bad for the farmers.

Up until a few days ago we were spending most of our time in the back house.  We were heating it with a calor gas heater but the heater ran out far sooner than we expected.  Either there is a fault on it or it is more expensive to run than we thought it would be.  We bought a refill then moved into the front house last week.  The front house is a couple of degrees warmer than the back house during the day and at night, we have the soba.  Which heats the entire house (it’s not a very big house) from sunset till about 3 in the morning (we haven’t actually stayed up to see how long It keeps warm after we have turned it low and gone to bed).  We have a metric ton of wood.  Ashley worked very hard to get most of it down to soba-size.  We hope it will see us through the winter.

Our neighbours are all burning sobas.  Some burning coal, some wood.  We are constantly breathing wood smoke.  At sunset there is a haze of wood smoke over the mountains, over the castle, turning the sky a wonderful colour.  And, as much of it is peach wood, it smells delicious.


4 responses to “Heat and wood smoke

  1. Alas, I think the solar panels might let you down for prolonged periods of overcast weather. We have a water heater as well. it was only yesterday I had to climb onto the roof to shut off the solar water so that the water heater will work (can’t run both – don’t know why!). One day I’m going to break my neck.

    • We can turn off the solar water and turn on the heater water from the safety of our bathroom floor.

      As to why you need to turn off the solar water…. If you have both running to your hot water tap and the tap is closed the mains water will flow back through your solar system and out over your roof.

  2. We have exactly the same soba as you, and it heats our huge front room nicely, and most of the smaller rooms too. Last year the pipe went straight up to the ceiling and then straight through a smallish chimney. We found we got downdrafts at times, and burned far too much fuel. This year we have a horizontal section of pipe, then going to a more substantial, taller chimney. No backdrafts, and the slower draw to the chimney means the pipes radiate more heat into the room. Hurray! We are experimenting with blue-bag coal, but I prefer peach & olive wood. Next year I hope to get a bigger soba with a window in the door, just for the romance of seeing the flames.
    Jack, I have been told that you can get an electric heating element installed in your main solar holding tank, just switch it on if clouds persist. Our tanks are new-ish, but systems become less efficient as minerals precipitate out and form a sludge in pipes and tanks.
    I just may stay in bed, warm and comfy. Wake me up about half past April!

    • Our soba has a small sideways piece of pipe. It seems reasonably efficient. I would like to be able to see the flames but, having just moved in, we’re taking the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ line – there are a few things here that need to be fixed. I think there is a lot of sludge in our solar system as the water pressure is very low.
      We have peach wood. Our supplier had run out of olive wood and the peach wood does smell good. I shan’t mention the ants…
      We also have a carbon monoxide alarm. We are told that the carbon monoxide level rose alarmingly when coal was burned banked down.

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