We bought our first house and moved in the summer of '03. That winter was the first time I had to deal with oil (not counting my parent's place .. but THEY paid for it then
), having lived in several apartments prior. We kept the house about 65° all winter, and that spring, I was astounded at how much it cost to heat my house! Oil was $1.70 a gallon.
Winter of '04 with oil hitting $2.20 a gallon, we cut the t-stat back big time. On the weekends we'd crank the TV room up to 65°, but during the week, the heat was OFF in the TV room, and the house was kept at 58°. That SUCKED, especially coming home soaking wet and freezing cold having worked outside in that crap for 12 hours - coming home to a cold house was NOT fun! At the end of that year of suffering, I STILL went through 4 tanks of oil! That spring I decided we were buying a stove of some kind. Wood crossed my mind briefly, but recalling how my parents heated with it for my entire life, I figured there had to be something better.
I visited a friend of mine at the end of that winter in '05. He had just bought a Saey to get rid of his $600/month electric bill for the winter. I was sold. I told my father about it, & he beat me to it and bought a Mark I for himself. After seeing how much he paid for it, I went that September and bought one myself without any research at all - just based on the one visit to my buddy's place. Fired the stove up that October, & for the first time in my life, I had a warm bedroom! That December, I discovered & joined the forum.
After a couple seasons of burning, and reading a few posts in between my 60 hour work week, I realized my Mark I wasn't really cutting it. Come January and February we'd begin to freeze again, and the oil burner was kicking on WAY too much for my liking - especially at $3.75 a gallon. In spring of '08, I went back to the same dealer and ordered a Harman SF250 - the biggest baddest handfired you can buy. That July, panic hit. Heating was in the newspaper. People were lining up at stove shops around MA, lines out the door, in panic mode. I inquired about my order ... and they said it wouldn't be in till that February, '09! I had just sold my Mark I for $1,000 to someone who came all the way from NY to pick it up, so I had a brief moment of panic ... until they told me since I already had money down, I was welcome to take the Mark III sitting on the showroom floor. I hopped in the truck that day, walked past 100 people lined up out into the parking lot while they scowled at me in disgust, and came home with the Mark III.
On the way home, I had to slam on the brakes and the 500 lb. stove went airborne into the back of my cab at about 20 mph. And the rest is history!
Bent the bed and the front of the box of my truck. The Harman suffered 2 broken firebricks, which I am still using right now.
If I had to do it all again, I would've went the girly man route and bought a stoker boiler.