Fall is in the Air

Fall is definitely in the air.  A few trees are beginning to change colors, the first gallons of apple cider have arrived in the store and the evenings are getting colder.  This is one of my favorite times of year.  I love watching the changes to the trees, having warm sunny days but cool mornings and evenings that require getting out sweaters.  The only problem this year is the lack of a functioning heating system in our home.

Because the heat was left off last winter when the house was for sale we had all the heat exchangers on the first floor break.  Many of the pipes in the radiator system are also broken.  We have gone back and forth on our heating options.  You can’t replace the heat exchangers but they MIGHT be able to be rebuilt.  We could install gas forced air for the first floor (with the advantage of some day adding A/C) and maintain the boiler system for the second and third floors or replace the whole thing with gas forced air.  There are advantages and disadvantages to all three options.  None of the choices is inexpensive and all are much more costly than we had imagined.  We have decided to install two gas forced air units to heat the first floor and keep the second and third floors and the kitchen (if the radiator works) on the boiler system.  We have two boilers but only one is operational at this time.  The thought behind two furnaces for the first floor is due to higher efficiency from the smaller units rather than one very large one.  Which makes sense in a strange way.

The install will be a major project.  There is no duct work in our house.  Unlike an install on new construction, all our walls and floors are in place.  We don’t want to damage the beautiful hard woods or repair any additional plaster walls.  We haven’t finished those repairs that are already underway!  The first step was removing all the air exchangers from the basement.  In case you are unfamiliar with this, here is what little I now know.  Instead of radiators on the formal rooms of the first floor there are vents that brought heat up from the basement.  This vent system consists of  giant wooden boxes which cover the water pipes and the large metal heat exchangers. The vent system is all over the basement and encloses the piping as well as 115 years of dirt and dust.  There may or may not be lead paint.  It all had to go.  Matt had his brother and another friend offer to help and they spent three days removing everything and filled a dumpster in the process.

The wooden boxes and vents

The wooden boxes

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Heat exchanger

Heat exchanger

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The new furnaces have been ordered.  We are waiting for the work to begin.  The install should take about two weeks.  In the mean time I think we need to get the boiler going and get some heat on the second and third floors and unpack the sweaters and blankets.  I may even have to buy some socks!

Side note:  Since there was a little room left in the dumpster we decided now was the perfect time to gut the RV bathroom on the third floor and get all that mess out of here.  A friend of our son had come by one evening and helped with the basement demo.  He was a great help and was crazy enough to offer to do the bathroom demo for us.  Thanks D.J. for a job well done!

2 thoughts on “Fall is in the Air

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