Tuesday, January 22, 2008
After two winters in our new house with only one (electric) stove, we’re getting fed up with freezing up while we work on our computers, turning into giant ice cubes when we take a shower and waking up only to find that our blankets are covered in ripe. Two weeks ago we went to a building fair to look around for prices of different types of heating systems. We definitely want to get rid of our accumulators (we have two, but we only use one) because of the truck loads of money we have to ship each month to the electricity company. Accumulators are also notoriously difficult to use: either it’s too hot or it’s too cold every time the weather takes a turn and you didn’t see it coming or you simply forgot to crank the bloody thing up or down.
On the other hand, installing central heating in a house that you already use is not exactly a snitch. Installing the radiators and the heater is not so difficult, but then you have to link them with copper or plastic tubes. This will mean breaking open walls, floors and ceilings of rooms that are in use. And did I mention the baby and his allergy of loud noises during his frequent napping times? My initial optimism about this job has sunk to deep-sea levels.
But first there is the question of what type of heating we want. Gas prices are soaring at the moment. A super efficient condensation heater will save you 15%-20%, but that is exactly the amount that the gas prices are rising. We looked at wood pellets for an alternative, but although this is better for the environment in the end, this type of heater costs about ten times as much as a gas heater. If we’d have the money we’d do it, I guess, but even with subsidies this is way too expensive.
Meanwhile, I’ve been measuring up the whole house to calculate how powerful our heater must be, how many radiators we need and to plan how on earth we’re going to lay this tubing. Both Wolf and the cats are very surprised to see me crawl through the house on hands and knees, dragging a meter behind me. So far I’ve done the ground level floor, next weekend I can start on the first and second floors (or second and third floor for you American viewers).