Our Steamy Nights

There is nothing like the heat from a wood burning stove to completely warm the bones on a cold winter day.

There is also nothing like the dryness that permeates the air inside the home when heating with a wood stove.

When we built Our Little House, we were mainly using it during the summer as a lake house, but we often came down during Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations.

Knowing we would not be putting in central air, at least at first, we decided to choose a really good wood stove, just in case.

The mild Arkansas winters allowed us to keep our wood stove new for the first four years we did not live here full time.

When we moved here, however, we began using it when it gets very cold, typically in January and February. For the times it isn’t below 30 degrees outside, we continue to use a safe electric space heater, the type that looks like a radiator, which has some type of oil that heats inside.

This year, however, our red Dachshund, Molly, started experiencing pretty severe nose bleeds from the dry heat of the wood stove. She is on heart medications, which are meant to drain fluids from her body, so the dry heat was just too much.

Before my mother passed, she bought us the steamer (pictured above) to keep on the wood stove, which is meant to keep the air from drying all of us out.

We’ve used it before, but when Molly began having these severe nose bleeds, it became a necessity.

So far, so good. We’ve been using our bear humidifier for about three weeks and Molly has had only one nose bleed since, when we had to increase her medication one day.

Do you heat with a fireplace or wood stove? What do you use to keep your air moist? 

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24 Responses

  1. merr says:

    When we get the cold Santa Ana winds here, it’s very dry, but it’s episodic. To be dry and cold all the time – a challenge to the skin and lips!

    • Kerri says:

      Well, our cold weather is becoming more episodic as the climate changes. It was 75 here yesterday! But, we’ll be back to needing the wood stove by tomorrow afternoon.

  2. We keep our house pretty chilly so we’ve removed the fireplace logs and use it more as decor now–we’ve got candles there. As far as humidity, it’s pretty moist where we are so we just turn down the de-humidifier. Still my hands are raw from washing/wearing gloves.

  3. Alexandra says:

    We heat with oil and have radiators, but whenever its damp out, we light the wood stove. As I age, I have discovered that type of heat really makes my whole body feel better. Few people think about heating choices when they look for real estate. My daughter has forced hot air in her house and I really hate it.

    • Kerri says:

      Yep, I think you’re right about when people choose real estate that the heating/air system is the last thing on their mind. Forced air or central air systems or most common in this part of the country.

  4. Alisa Bowman says:

    This house is heated with hot water that runs through pipes in the floor. It was a HUGE selling point for me because the air here really isn’t dry at all.

  5. Sheryl says:

    Good idea – I would not have thought of that. Glad it’s working for you and Molly.

  6. Donna Hull says:

    I’m going to buy one of these for our wood stove. The air is very dry in the winter in Montana. It affects my allergy issues.

    • Kerri says:

      I can imagine, Donna, since your state is much colder than Arkansas. Look through this thread to find great places you can get these online.

  7. Maryann Spence says:

    I have seen cast iron steamers in Plow & Hearth’s catalog – lids have: train, dragon, dog, cat, pine cones, adirondack chair. They have a web site: plowandhearth,com We have a wood sotve, and I use an old blue Cornflower Corningware tea pot sitting on a cast iron trivet (have to refill it every couple of days).

  8. Olivia says:

    We heat with wood and our winters are long and cold . . . today it is minus 28 Celsius with windchill. Our woodstove is a cookstove and it has an open water jacket on the side. I keep it full . . . not sure what the capacity is but it goes through about 12-14 litres per day and, even at that, the humidity in the house is about 50. – 55 %. Like Molly, I get frequent nosebleeds and the skin on my fingers cracks and bleeds as well. Still, like you, I find that nothing warms me like wood heat plus we can cook all our food on it so that saves a lot on electricity. I don’t know why my ancestors settled in the Great White North when my body is so much more suited to tropical climes.

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, Olivia, I knew it was cold up there, I saw your weather! I hope you’re getting along ok, it is good hearing from you! I’m with you, I could be in the tropical climates, no problem! 🙂

  9. Jan Rhoades says:

    where do you find the steamer all we use for heat is a wood stove

  10. cindy says:

    We heat with wood also. I had a glass lid break on one of my large dutch ovens so hubby painted it flat black and we use it on top of the stove sitting on a cast iron trivet to prevent rust. It probably holds a gallon and a half of water and we refill it every couple of days.

    • Kerri says:

      That’s the bad thing about ours, it only holds about 16 cups of water and I usually have to fill it at least a couple of times a day!

  11. Nanci says:

    We are experiencing the VERY same thing. I have asthma and the dry air is dreadful. LOVE the bear humidifier and have never seen one like it. Do you know where I can purchase one?!!