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There’s no sugar-coating it, winter is a tough season. From snow covered solar panels to frozen hot water bottles it’s a challenge to stay warm and comfortable and so this year we are prepared. Unlike last year when we had to survive in our van without heating, this year we have our very own narrowboat to help us stay comfortable through the winter, and more importantly our narrowboat has a wood burning stove to aid the cause. Over the last month we have been enjoying firing up the wood burner and sitting in the galley as the cold nights have begun to creep in. However we’ve discovered an small problem and that is the wood burner is a fantastic at heating our galley, getting that heat to the other end of the boat just doesn’t happen and so we end up going from a tropical heated living room to a freezing bedroom. This is where Valiant Fireside came in and sent us some of their products to not only solve the problem we were having but also to improve our wood burner use to make the most out of it as well as improve its efficiency.
Probably the most useful product we received was their Remora Flue Pipe Fan. The theory behind stove top fans is that the hot air being generated by the stove will only heat the area immediately surrounding the stove however with the use of a stove top fan the circulation created by the movement of the fan will push this hot air around the room and most importantly for us, down to the far end of the boat.
I won’t pretend to understand the magic that goes on behind the scenes with the fan that Valiant sent but the motor that turns the fan is powered by the heat generated by the stove meaning that it requires no power source for it to work (anyone who has lived in a van or a boat will appreciate just how great it is not to have to use precious power from your limited batteries!). The fan itself has 4 blades which really helps push the hot air around the space and importantly for us is silent so doesn’t interrupt our Netflix watching with the sound of whirring.
Since we’ve started using the Remora Flue Pipe Fan we’ve been amazed at just how well it works, not only is the bedroom now not an icy box when we come to go to bed, but the galley is not as hot as it was previously because that heat is now being spread down to the other end of the boat. The particular model we were sent is a fan which is magnetised to our flue pipe leaving the top of the stove free for us to heat mulled wine and keeping the fan safe from Olivia and her penchant for knocking things off of surfaces! I was worried when it arrived that the magnets would be able to hold the fan securely especially as it will be attached to the flue pipe as it was getting hotter however even though the magnets appeared small they held the fan without any issues.
Not only did Valiant Fireside send us the Remora Flue Pipe Fan but they also sent us the companion Stove Thermometer and the Colour Change Moisture Meter. While the stove fan solved a problem for us these two have improved the efficiency of our stove meaning that not only do we now spend less on wood we also create less smoke which is a welcome improvement for the boats moored around us. The Stove Thermometer magnetises onto our stove and highlights when we have our stove at the optimal temperature to ensure that we aren’t over feeding it and saving on those precious logs. It is a low profile piece which is at home as much on the flue as it is on the side of the stove. Thanks to the thermometer we have slowed our rate of burning without losing any of the heat we have been trying to get into the boat.
In addition to monitoring the temperature of the burn we have also been checking the moisture levels in the wood we use. By adding wood which has high moisture levels to a fire you immediately lower the temperature of the stove but not only that you produce an awful lot of smoke, all of which is losing your heat. We use the Moisture Meter to make sure the wood we are putting on the fire is as dry as can be, especially because we store our wood on our wet boat roof. Unfortunately for us we know nothing about optimum wood moisture levels but fortunately the Colour Change Moisture Meter displays red, amber and green to take the guess work out of it for us.
Since the introduction of the products Valiant sent to us we have been enjoying this winter much more than last year where we suffered through cold nights, snowy days and mornings struggling with condensation. They’ve been an essential addition to our boat and we look forward to a few more months of fireside board games and glasses of mulled wine.
To help you to get yourselves prepared for winter Valiant Fireside have given us a code for all of you to use which will give you 25% off of the products on their website. Simply enter the code MAT002 at checkout and you can get 25% off your order.