Pot-Bellied Stoves and the Huts of Kosciuzko

(Reproduced from my log of the Tharwa to Thredbo walk.)

Now follows a lecture about the 'Ultimate 500' the stove here, which I have send to KHA.

The Stove at Four Mile Hut.

The 'Ultimate 500' installed at Four Mile Hut is a wonderful design, offering terrific warmth from a handful of timber.

On cold nights, as the log book attests, many grateful walkers, skiers and riders huddle around it.

Yet they are still cold, as innumerable stories in the log book show.

Why is this?

Even the slightest knowledge of physics provides the answer: pot belly fires, as is this one, work most effectively in the middle of the space they are intended to heat.

To make matters worse, the one at Four Mile is placed in an open fireplace. So what's happening to theheat? It's going straight up the chimney, together with more cold air sucked in through the door and through the innumerable cracks.

But to move the stove to the middle of this tiny hut would ruin the place. So what is to be done?

The solution is so simple I'm surprised no-one has come up with it before, or if they have, that no action has been taken: a reflective, air-tight seal must be placed around the back of the stove, preferably some distance back from it.

Alternatively, move the stove forward one metre and seal the opening behind it... not such an attractive solution, given the dimensions of the hut.

A wonderful example of the perfect installation of these stoves is to be found at Derschkos Hut: slap bang in the middle of the hut, with no external chimney to suck away the heat.

But why do this? Why take any action at all. The existing set-up has been there for many years, and it has achieved its major aim, that of protecting the hut from accidental fire.

Three main reasons:

1. to warm the hut far more effectively.

2. to prevent people from having the stove goingfull-bore for the duration of their stay, which shortens the life of any cast-iron stove (I'm assuming it is cast iron, but I'm no engineer).

3. to lessen the amount of fuel burned to achieve a much better outcome.

End of rant re the stove.