What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oil Lamps

As the air turns cooler necessitating the need for the gas fireplace and/or furnace my candles and oil lamps are drawn into action.  I love my oil lamps!  Two oil lamps in my collection see regular use.  I've had them for years and they still bring a smile when I get them out to use during the fall months.  Don't get me wrong as I use them throughout the winter as well but the fall months when things are cooling off is when they see the most use.  I also love my homemade candles.  Now somewhere along my travels in the blogosphere I came across the suggestion to use candles to warm chilly windows and to use as a bit of supplemental heat.

flower based oil lamp
Using candles as a bit of supplementary heat does work but if you factor in the cost, it's cheaper to use electricity for the actual lighting.  Nine 11 W CFL bulbs will cost us 9¢ to run for 4 hours in comparison to 9 tea light candles that cost 35¢.  However the tea light candles are actually adding a bit of heat to the room, increasing the comfort level.  In comparison to tea light candles an oil lamps puts out a lot more light and heat.  Surprisingly the cost of lamp fuel per day is not a cost I have ever figured out so I should do that.  I run my lamps almost daily in the fall for 2 to 3 hours at a time.  The last time I bought lamp oil it was $4.99 and that's lasted me over 2 years so it is well under the price of candles per use.

One of my oil lamps has a lovely butter coloured base with a pretty spread of blue and pink flowers (pictured).  The lamp itself about 15 years old and it does have a replacement chimney.  I keep replacement parts for my lamps on hand including replacement wick.  Oil lamps are significantly more efficient at producing light.  It is a whiter light than the light from beeswax candles.  The light can be easily controlled.
crystal based oil lamp
My second oil lamp is about the same age.  It has a crystal bottom with the original chimney.  I think it is rather pretty.  Oil lamps are a inexpensive, practical way to add a bit of ambience and warmth to a room.  However, they do involve an open flame so should not be used without adult supervision when children or pets are in the room. 

Oil lamps require a bit of maintenance.  It is important to trim the wick so it burns properly without smoking.  I prefer a straight cut across the wick for a nice even flame but you can trim into a slightly rounded shape if desired.  The wick holder should not ever need replacing providing it is looked after properly but if using oil lamps as an emergency back-up lighting you should have a replacement holder just in case.  It is also prudent to keep at least one replacement chimney on hand since that is the part most likely to break and you can't use the lamp without it.   Just as in the olden days the lamp chimneys need to be cleaned.  I recommend cleaning daily but you can go two or three days without cleaning them.  I clean mine each morning so they are sparkly clean for that evening.  Whether or not they save a little on the lighting and heating they are a true treasure to enjoy!

Garden Gnome