Yurtlife & Winter Warmth: Wood stoves, Insulation, and more!
The past week has brought winter weather back to the Sierra Nevada foothills, home to the Living Intent shop and also where a great many of our customers call home. After such a dry and warm February, the rains are a well-received sign that a major drought is not in the immediate forecast. Along with this rain, and snow at higher elevations, however, comes the usual question.
Can you stay comfortable in a yurt in the winter?
The answer is, of course, yes! Whether you want to use your yurt as a vacation rental or plan to live in it yourself, the right setup can keep your yurt comfortable year-round. You need to look no further than Living Intent’s first-ever yurt, still standing the test of time in the snowy woods of northern Maine. Or, to the many people who live in our yurts in the foothills and mountains of the west coast, including our own CEO, Caleb! Our yurts are designed with four seasons in mind, and with the proper preparations, you can be comfy and cozy all year long.
There are a number of ways to increase the winter comfort of your yurt, ranging in price, effectiveness, and amount of work required. Let’s explore some of those options, starting with the one you may want to think about before you’ve even bought your yurt;
Where you choose to place your yurt on your property can have a great effect on how comfortable it is to live in from season to season. At the most general, the best place for your yurt will be on higher ground, in an area with good drainage where water does not pool during winter storms. At Living Intent, we always recommend placing your yurt on a raised platform unless you are only using it for a very short camping trip. This will not only keep you more comfortable but will keep your yurt in great shape for many years to come.
The next step in choosing a location is thinking about how you plan to use the yurt. Will you be living in it full-time? Seasonally? Is it just for short stays? Where you place your yurt can have a massive effect on it’s changing comfort throughout the seasons. A place that stays cool and shaded in the summer might be too wet and cold in the winter. On the other hand, a perfectly dry and sunny location throughout the winter might be unbearably hot in the summer heat.
Find a location that fits how you plan to use your yurt, and always keep the changing seasons in mind before finalizing your placement.
You might be thinking that insulation is just for the winter, but our insulation packages are actually designed for all-year-round comfort and use. With a solar reflective layer facing outside your yurt, the insulation panels will reflect a great deal of the sun’s heat away from your yurt’s interior. The insulation also not only keeps warm air inside throughout the winter; it will help keep hot air outside in the summer. If you’re looking to live in your yurt on a long-term basis, purchasing one of our insulation packages will go a long way towards bridging the gap between a short yurtcation and full-time yurtlife.
If you do decide to live in your yurt through the colder months, there are a couple of ways you can stay warm and dry no matter the weather outside. As with any home heating system, safety must be the top priority.
We get this question a lot, especially in the wet winter months of Northern California;
“Can I put a wood stove in my yurt?”
The simple answer is, yes, with certain safety considerations. Many of our customers, and some of our very own team members who live in our yurts, use wood stoves in their yurts for heating throughout the winter. The dry heat a wood stove gives off is perfect for wet winters, and can even help prolong the life of your yurt throughout many winters by keeping moisture out. There’s nothing that says the simple life quite like curling up in front of your yurt’s wood stove with a good book. For those of our customers living in the woodlands, a wood stove can also be the most affordable way to heat your yurt home.
That being said, there are several very important safety and legal considerations to keep in mind when installing and using a wood stove in your yurt. The advice given below is just that, advice, and should never be followed in lieu of doing your own research and looking into local regulations.
You must vent your wood stove through the sidewall of your yurt, never through any part of the roof or center rings.
You will need to replace a section of your wall covering with a high-temperature insert where you will be venting the wood stove. Venting your wood stove through our standard yurt coverings is extremely dangerous and should absolutely never be done.
You must install the wood stove on a raised platform that will shield the floor and platform of your yurt from the stove’s heat.
You may need to install a heat-resistant backboard behind your stove to reflect heat away from the walls.
It is always recommended to install a spark arrester on the exterior top of your chimney, and in many states, and/or counties it is required by law.
The types of wood you are allowed to burn, and any additional vents, filters, or safety features you may need will vary from area to area. Always check with your local fire regulations before installing a wood stove in your yurt.
All that aside, with the proper preparations and adherence to safety and legal guidelines, a wood stove can be the perfect way to keep you and your yurt warm and dry all winter long.
Small propane heaters, such as the ever-popular Mr.Buddy brand, can be another great way to heat your yurt throughout the winter months. While not as cozy as a wood stove, there are some reasons why you might choose propane as your heating option.
With a propane heater, there’s no need to start a fire each and every time you need some warmth. Simply turn on the heater, and your yurt will heat up to a comfortable level in a matter of minutes. For those yurt dwellers looking for more on-demand heating, propane heaters are a great option. One major downside of propane heaters is that they put off water vapor as a byproduct of burning the gas, which can accumulate on the interior of your yurt if used without proper ventilation.
If you choose to use a propane heater for your yurt, always be sure to thoroughly read over the safety guidelines and only choose heaters that are approved for indoor use.
Stay dry out there!