Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Heat! Wonderful Heat!

There are two heating zones in this house. The living room and the West and Master Bedrooms form one zone; the rest of the house is the other. Even though the house is only about 950 sq. ft. and the living room heater is supposed to be able to heat that much space, it never quite makes it to the back side of the house. I'm sure it's all about lines of sight, the amount of insulation in the north walls and other esoteric factors.

Last winter we tried to heat the utility room and bathroom with electric space heaters the way my folks did for years. The folks also bundled up, wore layers, and endured more than Pat and I want to endure.

Dad did a lot of improvements on the house in the forty years they lived here. One of the biggest improvements was adding insulation. It started with tacked-on insulation before they added the siding in the late 1960s. Later they added blown in insulation in the walls. It definitely helped, but my old bedroom (the "west room" now) can still send you dancing for the heater on a chilly winter morning. (Pat insulated under the floor last year, but there is still a draft. He says it's the windows.)

The double pane windows Pat has been installing are making a big difference, too. This summer we had one new window on the west wall in the living room and one old, single pane window on the west wall in my old room. We walked from room to room placing our hands up to the windows. In my old room, the heat radiated from the window and was really hot on the back of a hand. In the living room, the window was cool and no heat penetrated. Nice! Imagine what this house will be like when we get all of the windows replaced!

We decided we would add a second HVAC wall like we have in the living room. Pat blocked off the north window in the utility room and added another wall heater. Come summer, he will cut a hole and install another window air conditioner above it. This unit is aimed directly toward the kitchen. When we remove the wall to the south bedroom, it will have a straight shot to heat the "cold side" of the house.

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