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Veteran Contributor

Central Heat ! HOORAY!

When we moved in here 7 winters ago, the house only had individual electric baseboard heaters in each room.  The first winter Ed installed our Vermont Castings woodburner in the dining room fireplace and we began to heat with wood.  I always have loved the warmth of wood heat...nothing compares to it.

 

The dining room is in the center of the house, we don't like the bedrooms heated at all and each bedroom has its own thermostat and electric baseboard so the sleeper can set it to suit themselves so the wood heat worked okay.  As empty nesters, our guestrooms are empty about 90 % of the time and we dont heat ours so the woodstove was doing the job although cutting and hauling wood is hard work and dirty.  We never minded as we felt it was good excercise for us.

 

Year two we installed the wood pellet stove which took the burden off feeding the Vermont Castings and the pellets were still reasonably priced.  The pellet stove heated the back half of the house which includes the kitchen so we were pretty happy with that system.  In fact the two systems together allowed us heat about 3300 square feet for about $500 a year.  Can't beat that.

 

Last year, Ed injured his arm and carrying all that wood and bags of pellets every day was making it worse.  We knew we needed to make some changes.  When we decided to install the central AC this summer it was a no-brainer to get a heat pump system that would serve as backup heat for the woodstove and pellet stove in the winter.  We loved it this fall as it took the chill out and as a backup when the wood fire went out in the middle of the night or when we were both gone during the day. 

 

We were thinking ahead and bought the heat pump with a propane backup but we had no plans to install a propane tank until we could bury it next spring.  Then the weather turned cold FAST and Ed's arm continued to act up so we decided to get the tank this fall and bury it next srping which would allow us to use the furnace when the temp fell below 25 and the heatpump just could not keep up on electric.  THey came today and installed the tank and filled it....the heating contractor just fired up the propane furnace and I am in heaven.  It is so very warm and such even heat.  Every room is comfortable and you can't feel a difference from room to room.  I love it!  We will still have our bedrooms on their electric baseboards but the main floor now has central heat. 

 

I cannot believe we got by for six winters without central heat.  We have been discussing on the other thread about how you know when you are getting older....I now know it is when you no longer want to rely on cutting, splitting, stacking and hauling firewood for your primary heat source. 

 

Central heat....HURRAY!  That is probably the best Christmas present I could imagine on this cold, cold night!

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6 Replies
Advisor

Enjoy!

There is nothing like good central heat.  I am stretched out in my chair in summer jammies right now, and it's fifteen degrees outside. 

It is interesting to see whcih direction people take in solving fuel and HVAC problems in older homes.  I took a special class in it about a year ago, thinking I'd learn something revolutionary.    Take it from me, there is NO easy way to stay warm in most older houses. 

Your progress has followed a lot along similar paths with ours in some respects...we moved from an initial one-room heat with gas log fireplace to a central gas pack furnace and ductwork.  It took another gas log set in a Vermont CAstings freestandign stove to make the family room liveable in cold, windy weather, and my skin stayed dried out badly from huddling so close to it for warmth on winter evenings.

Wehn we thinned the timber 3-4 winters ago, and Mike started cutting waste hardwood for our youngest daughter to heat his Mom's little farmhouse cost-0effectively, that led to my wood cookstove.  Once we got used to that level of warmth again, the boiler tie-in to the air handler in the house and the heat pump's ductwork in the office was a natural.  Closing in the wraparound porch every fall helps immensely, too. 

Mike favors wood cutting as his physical exercise.  So far, he's finally admitted that he should not split huge trees into small stove wood by hand.  Our family doc just ran over $1000 worth of tests on him in October, to rule out rheumatoid arthritis...I told him it was that humongous red oak he'd spent all of September splttting...but what do I know???

We have finally gotten the house totally comfortable after fifteen winters.  Slow learners...you guys got it right in half the time! 

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Central Heat ! HOORAY!

This tickled me........  reminded me of the email jokes we'd get talking about someone meeting up with snow for the first time. Oh what pretty snow, I get to go out and shovel off the driveway for the first time! By the end of the winter they were ready to head South again as the snowplow driver threw mountains of snow back up their driveway every day.  You started out thinking that splitting wood was good exercise and no big deal to going back to central heat and thinking HEAVEN!

Here in Iowa it is not unusual to hit -40 in the dead of winter and there is no way I would want to depend on wood, although we do have a big fireplace and we keep wood on hand. If the electric goes out, we are without a blower to actually get the heat out into the room. It would still get very cold in here. We have a kerosun heater as backup that we have never used. (Thankyou cyber scare circa 2000) We also have a pto generator that would go on the back of our tractor. I think we have maybe used it a few times in 20 years.  Power is pretty darned dependable here, but would be disasterous if it went off for extended periods of time.  Life threatening. We have a groundwater heat pump as well. It supposedly saves us money, but who knows, we've had it from the beginning so we have nothing to compare it to. 

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Central Heat ! HOORAY!

We have forced air and parts of our 10 year old ranch are so cool. We finally put in a gas fireplace about 5 years ago to take care of the shivers in the family room/ basement. pricey but oh so nice.

I am going to get my daughter a little space heater for her bedroom for Christmas.

I love going to my brothers home as they have an outdoor woodburner that they heat their home with and it is so warm in there. They fill it once or twice a day with 4 foot pieces of wood. They have a lp backup also.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Enjoy!

It costs a $1000 to find out you don't have arthur---what if it was bad news--health care cost are a run -away train--thought Mike would relate to that---

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Senior Contributor

Re: Central Heat ! HOORAY!

We live in a crackerbox compared to your house, but have enjoyed the hot water baseboards. I think your system of electric baseboards in the bedrooms is really a energy saving tip. LIke you said, why heat up a room when only 10%  used. Wish we could do the same here, or at the minimum, bypass heat to those rooms that we don't use regularly. Insulation is needed but other maintenance needs to be done first. Caulking can do wonders to keep out those drafts too.

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Advisor

Re: Enjoy!

That was just the labs, no doctor's fee.   We ended up owing about $219, I think, after the negotiated discount of Big Blue.  Goes to shwo that it doesn't HAVE to cost that much. 

I will share your humor with Mike when he comes in.  I am sure he will appreciate it almost as much as did finding out it wasnt't rheumatoid arthritis. 

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