Monday, March 21, 2011

Efficient Heating

We had another major home improvement project a few months ago, and while it certainly isn't glamorous, it's saving us money, and we're hoping that it'll be a "plus" whenever we attempt to sell the house.

When we bought the house, we were told that it was built in 1979.  That means that this house is only a year younger than I am.  The furnace that was still being used to heat the house was original...also from 1979.  And it was electric. 

I really, really wish that I had a picture of that old furnace.  It was almost scary.  We knew when we bought the house that it would need to be replaced, and I was voting that it would be replaced fairly quickly.

In case you're not aware, electric heating is not efficient.  It just takes lots of power to heat a house this size.  What's more, this particular furnace was designed with four "burners."  We discovered at some point last year (when we called in a plumber, actually, who is also a heating guy and offered to look at our furnace for free while he was here) that only two of those four burners was even working.  So for a long time, our house was being heated by an electric furnace that was only working at 50% capacity.  I'd rather not think about how high our electric bills were last year.

So this fall, we decided it was time to replace the darn thing.  We quickly realized that it would be in our best interest to replace the furnace with a heat in December, that's what we did.  This now stands outside our house:
It's quite snazzy.  I'll be honest...I don't understand how it works, exactly.  But I do know that it's energy efficient, and it somehow takes the heat out of the surrounding air.  In the event that the temperatures get below 35 degrees (which does happen here on occasion, but it's not the norm), we do have an "air handler" in the spot where the old furnace was located, and it will turn on "emergency heating" to make sure the house doesn't get too cool.  Along with this new heat pump, we now have a programmable thermostat.  And, although it often isn't needed in this part of the country, we actually do now have air conditioning that will come in handy for those 3 or 4 days a year when it'll be nice to have.

We've already seen a sharp reduction in our electric bills, which is awesome.  And we qualified for a $1500 tax credit (which we've already gotten, since I submitted our taxes more than a month ago).  So between the tax credit and the electric bills, this baby will pay for itself in just a couple years.  Nice.

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