Andrew Bennett is giving his 1991 home in eastern Tennessee an efficiency upgrade, as time and budget permits. He has a long list of improvements he’d like to make—new windows, sealing and insulating the crawlspace, more air sealing around the house—but he’s also realistic enough to see it will not happen overnight. “As most normal people,” he says in a recent Q&A post, “I’m on a budget and it will take time.”
For now, he’s focused on the best way to replace an old gas water heater and his HVAC system. The 1900-square-foot house is currently served by a single-zone, 3.5-ton HVAC system with a gas furnace. Bennett has found a contractor who’s made some recommendations for new equipment.
“It took a while to find someone who actually knows how to size things and they are looking at a 2-ton unit with a variable speed blower,” Bennett writes. Plans call for a second thermostat upstairs, but budget constraints are forcing Bennett to reuse existing ducts even if they aren’t suited to the smaller HVAC system.
“My question on HVAC is should I go all electric or stay with gas heat?” Bennett asks. “I don’t have solar and have no plans or budget for going solar for electricity generation.”
Second, Bennett wonders what to do about his gas-fired water heater. Although it still gets water hot, it also “intermittently spews out a black, oily residue.” Should he simply replace it with another gas water heater? He’s not convinced that heat-pump water heaters will last 10 or more years without significant repairs along the way, and he’s leery of tankless heaters for the same reason.
That’s where this Q&A Spotlight get started.
Suggestions for a heat pump