Thursday, 17 January 2013

A Fireplace For The Basement - Being Prepared for a Power Outage

    We are now the proud owners of a brand new gas fireplace.  I feel like I can now exhale.  My basement is still under renovation, there is some framing up, but I have a gas fireplace.  To some this may seem like utter stupidity, but to me it is relief.  Are you shaking your head yet?

The basement after it was water-proofed
     I live in Canada.  I live in the snow belt in rural Ontario.  There are times when we have ice storms or heavy snow and it knocks out our hydro.  That means that we are without heat, lights, anything.. that scares me.  We have actually been extremely lucky because when our hydro has been knocked out by storms it has returned relatively quickly i.e. we did not receive frost bite!  I worry about this.  One of these days we will get caught with our pants down.
    I remember the ice storm of 1998.  Kingston, Ontario was hit really badly.  I remember driving the 401 a few weeks after it, and everything was still encased in what looked like glass.  The beautiful big trees that lined the busy super highway, dead, collapsed on the ground, felled by mother nature.  It was horrendous.  At the time my little old Aunt and Uncle lived in Kingston.  Uncle Jim had an old wood stove out in his garage, it kept him warm while he puttered about at his hobbies.  That wood stove was their saviour.  They moved out to their garage, because Kingston was without power for days.  That has really stuck with me.  That is why I desperately wanted a heat source that would keep us warm in the event of a power outage. 

    Back in October we had the basement waterproofed.  That was the first step.  It was a step I was extremely grateful for recently when all of the snow melted and there was so much rain.  Our sump pump did not stop pumping out water, and yet my basement was bone dry... that made me very happy.

    My Dad and Christopher have been working their butts off down there.  They adhered styrofoam insolation to the wall. Then they framed the walls, concentrating on the area that the fireplace would go.

    Yesterday they guys from Service Experts came.  They were really nice.  There was no swearing (which is something that I really appreciate because I had Riley home sick).  They worked down there, occasionally we heard them singing along to the radio, which I really enjoyed.  I was amazed how quick and completely painless the whole thing was.
    When they were all done, we had an absolutely stunning fireplace.  More than a fireplace I now have peace of mind.  I have a heat source that will run if we do not have hydro.  We would all just go down stairs, shut the doors and camp.  It feels nice to have that.
    When the kids got home from school, Riley and Rowan could not wait to go down to see the fireplace.  The two of them took down little chairs and their tablets and sat there in front of fireplace for hours.  They were upset when I called them up for dinner.  I have to admit I contemplated sneaking down with a book and a glass of wine after dinner.  Then I thought about the unfinished basement, and I decided against it.  I am now really excited, watching this once crowded with useless stuff place, slowly becoming livable space.  It's pretty exciting.

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