Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Economy vs Comfort

COLD weather coming, possibly below 0 temps and highs only in the teens, and once again we wrestle with economy vs comfort.  One of the quirks in this old house is the two furnaces.  The old section of the house (almost 100 years old) has a hot water boiler furnace with radiators, while the addition (about 25 years old) is heated with a forced air furnace, which was just replaced two years ago.  The thermostat for the new furnace is in the family room and the thermostat for the old furnace is only about 12 feet away in the dining room.

Until the weather gets really cold, we primarily use the forced air furnace for heat since it is more economical to run, and because we spend most of our time in the family room/kitchen.  The adjacent dining room stays comfortable, while the living room is cooler.  Upstairs the bedroom (with a radiator) stays cool, which is fine, but the bathroom is a bit chilly.  When the weather get COLD, we use the boiler furnace a bit more, but when the boiler warms up, the forced air furnace cuts back.   Because the patio door gets opened a lot as dogs come and go, the family room starts to feel a bit chilly, and the radiator in the bedroom makes that room too warm.  I do like my radiators, and the old boiler has certainly been reliable for many years, but it is not easy to keep the old house comfortable!

Lots of possible solutions, but all cost money  The new furnace was great investment, and I probably should have gotten a new thermostat for the old one, but that cost money.  Replacing the old boiler and radiators would have been great, but that was money I certainly didn't have.  Having the old section re-insulated would also be a good investment - of money I don't have.  With the increase in my property taxes, I'll be lucky if I can afford to stay here at all, so we'll spend another winter adjusting the thermostats, enduring the drafts, using lots of blankets on the bed and a small heater to warm up the bathroom in the morning. and wearing lots of sweatshirts.  But I will have a radiator to warm up my jacket and dry my mittens, and THAT is nice.   

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