If you came here for a quick answer about heating and cooling, you won’t get one (sorry!) as the answer is dependent on a variety of factors. But, we have lots of personal stories to tell about heating and cooling, so read on!
We, as the Valley Roots Team, want you to feel supported throughout the process of buying or selling your home, and we also want to make sure you can count on us as a resource for all things home related. Lots of homeowners ask questions about heating and cooling, as it will always be one of the most expensive parts of owning a home. Jeremy has experience from his time as a salesman for HVAC. Derik recently upgraded his HVAC system by installing mini-splits in six areas of his mid-century modern home. Stay tuned to the blog to hear more from Derik. Michael is installing a gas line to upgrade the heating element of his HVAC system; you’ll hear about that process in this blog!
Now from Michael:
The decision to go to a gas boiler instead of our oil boiler was a difficult one. We had an oil boiler with a UNICO high velocity blower system which is designed to fit into homes where conventional heating and cooling units can’t. Unfortunately, the oil boiler was as older than Jeremy, so we’ve had to replace a number of parts totaling $2,000.00 over the past 4 years of ownership. On the day before Thanksgiving, we ran out of oil because (it’s a long story) the oil company missed their delivery. A week later, the circulating pump gave out. Oil company claims these two aren’t related, and I’m inclined not to believe them, but I digress. To fix the issue, we had the one option of patching the system temporarily for $600.00 while looking into alternatives, or another option of fixing our old boiler for $1,300 to try to survive another winter on oil heat.
The facts were clear to Rachael and I; it was time to replace the old furnace. Just look at it!
Now to narrow down the options (and there are so many options). We worked with our local salesman to rule out a number of options, which took several weeks. Ultimately, we didn’t want to be dependent on fossil fuels to heat our home, but we couldn’t justify the cost of solar electric with heat pumps on our current budget. Plus, a heat pump would require an all new blower system and duct work, so the price escalated to $20,000.00 pretty quickly. The geothermal option was ruled out based on the live rock in our basement— no need to go digging in our front yard to discover that our house sits on a giant rock bed. Next was a combination of mini-splits, but our house is too chopped up with too many additions, so we would have needed 6 mini-splits and two outdoor units—$$$$. We even looked into a Rinnai water heater to heat up the water and send it straight to our blower system, but there were too many red flags about unknown electric costs. So, what about a different boiler- a natural gas boiler?
Last time I checked about getting a gas line installed, the fee was over $3,000.00 and we only wanted to put in a stove. However, I heard a rumor from a neighbor about getting a new line installed for free! Rachael and I weighed the environmental impacts and considered our true options (a new oil burner or a gas boiler) and chose to go with gas. Not a perfect choice, but one that suited our budget and the limitations of our house. So, after a few calls to a 1-800 number, I got through to a new line representative and we started the process.
First, a local installer stopped by the property to identify a good location for the meter and pipe to enter the home. After determining that it met the requirements for FREE installation (under 150 ft. from line in street to meter, and in use within 180 days), we took the next step to get pricing on a gas boiler. After our salesman helped us narrow down the choices between an 80% and 90% efficiency gas boiler, we gave the green light to coordinate the installation of a new gas boiler. The plumber pulled permits for the installation and a week later the old oil boiler was out and the new gas boiler was on it’s way! We were without heat for one night, but thankfully the weather was warm enough that we didn’t notice not having heat for a night. The next day, the gas boiler was installed, tested, fired up and ready to go!
We’re looking forward to having fewer maintenance costs and not having to call the oil company for a delivery that may or may not make it on time! Now, for a pretty picture of our new unit!
Stay tuned to the blog for another HVAC story from Derik!