After my grandfather passed away, several family members reached out to me asking if I could help get his house ready to sell while they take care of the rest of the affairs of his estate. Although I work from home and can essentially live wherever my heart desires, this would involve moving up to the northernmost part of the country during the coldest time of the year. My grandfather had died of a heart attack that November and the estate needed the house ready to sell by early March. Despite my concerns, my empathy for my family was greater so I told them I would do it. But, what they all failed to tell me was that my grandfather still had a coal furnace in his basement as his primary source of heat. Although he had a forced air gas furnace in the house from when my grandmother was still alive, after she had died fifteen years ago he stopped using and maintaining it altogether. Finding heating repair at the cusp of the winter holiday season isn’t the easiest thing to do, so after unsuccessfully calling four to five different HVAC companies, I just decided to give the coal furnace a shot. If it was good enough for my grandfather in his old age, how hard could it be for someone as young as myself? After using the system for about a week I was already impressed. It works without electricity of any kind and all of the heat rises into the house above via a network of metal pipes that feed into the individual rooms. It’s strong, steady heat and leaves absolutely no dent on your electric bill. The only thing I hated was having to empty the ashes from the unit daily, which after a few weeks started to get tedious. But, it sure beats having to go outside and chop would for several hours a week in subarctic temperatures.