Oil-Free Baby

Today I am home alone, and Mt. Rainier is my only companion.

After two months of workers, noise, demo and negotiating around giant truck in our not so big driveway, the work is finally over. We’ve said goodbye to oil heat and the giant price tag that comes with it.

You see, those radiant heat floors and water radiators were all heated with water from an oil-run boiler. It’s a bit like going to the gas station and buying a tank of gas to heat your house for a week or a couple of gallons for the family to enjoy hot showers. Heating this place was a huge concern.

So just in time for fall, we’re all switched over to a heat pump for the girls’ upstairs wing. The heat pump will also heat the hot water for the radiant heat floors in the main area of the house. As an added bonus, the girls get to enjoy AC upstairs. We’re at something like 49 days without rain and temperatures reached 87-degrees yesterday. Around here that’s simply hot. So the air conditioning has come in handy.

Now I could show you pictures of heat pumps and the mechanical room and pretend I know what I’m talking about it, but it’s just a jumble of pipes and some sleek units that I know nothing about.  So that being said, each bedroom comes with a unit and a really cool remote control.

The hangout room also has it’s own heating/cooling unit placed above the refrigerator.

Now the bathroom is a whole other matter. It’s fairly small and wedged in between the girls’ rooms, so we opted for a heated towel bar as the only source of heat. Baby Girl was a smidge disappointed when she tried it out. Apparently, it won’t heat up unless the heating units are calling for hot water…. When it’s in the 80’s there’s not much need for heat.

This new way of heating is supposed to be both efficient and effective. The girls were freezing last winter; the heat pumps will keep them toasty warm without costing an arm and a leg. At least that’s the plan. For those of you wondering about the noise. It’s really very quiet. There are several settings for the fan, and we’ve set ours to the lowest. Sweet Miss did wake up the first night they were running and hear a strange and frightening sound, but she got over it.

Another benefit of this change is getting rid of the radiators. We had long radiators in both bedrooms, the bathroom, and two walls of the hangout room. Now we don’t have to take into account the radiators when arranging furniture.

One big downside is what’s left behind: holes in the carpet, stains, and missing molding.

Even Bogart is shocked.

This was a totally unexpected setback. If I’d looked, I would have noticed the missing baseboards, but the workers mentioned that cut outs in the carpet are unusual and the the wall is usually finished. Oh well, it is what it is. I suggested removing some of the molding from the garage to fill in the missing parts, but it’s simply not enough, and as the Mr pointed out, it’d be a whole lot of work. You can’t just run to Home Depot and pick up some more of this trim, but maybe a store that specializes in wood has more of a selection.

When the weather turns, the Mr says he’ll be ready for some inside jobs. Of course now that school has started, it’s volleyball season once more. Baby Girl and the JV squad decimated the opposition last night, and Varsity won in three. We’ll be out and about two nights a week following our favorite teams, so maybe those chores will have to wait. At least when the frost comes back, my toes will be warm.

Have you ever changed your heating system? How have you made your home more energy efficient? 

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4 thoughts on “Oil-Free Baby

  1. Yes, a few times. We reorganized our pipes and added more duct work with our heat pump. Then we added a free standing fireplace, and a 3 story chimney. That proved to be too dirty for my mister, so we took out the fireplace, and put in a pellet stove, which did not need a chimney, but just a newly drilled pipe going to the outside of the wall, right beside the now useless 3 story tall chimney. It did keep us toasty with lots less expense however, when the power was off, nothing worked.

    • One really nice thing. We still have the old oil-powered boiler. It’s pretty full, since we filled it after a weekend of icy showers. When the temp drops below 30 the boiler will act as a supplemental source of heating. And if the power goes out, the generator is set up to run the boiler rather than the heat pump, so we’ll be cozy with no bursting pipes. I’m hoping this new system is as good as it seems. I remember that pellet stove keeping us all toasty warm, and the Mr made a cute little patio out of the bricks from that old fireplace. 🙂

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