Retrofit heating system
We recently bought a second home in the Catskills, which was built in the 1930s. Current heat system is oil furnace forced air with a pretty new high end furnace. We had an energy audit done and found that the house was not well insulated at all and are in the process of takin advantage of energy efficiency programs to upgrade.
The big question is what to do about the heat. Our oil bills last year were astronomical — it was a colder-than-average year, plus as I mentioned, we had no/little insulation. Our energy improvement contractor recommended a air-source heat pump system with electric burner back-up. We initially said yes, until we realized that we would have to a) upgrade our electrical service to 200 amps (we have 100 amps, which is more than adequate for our other needs); and b) require a huge generator if we want a generator – which we do – especially since we aren’t there all the time and worry about pipes freezing). We then consideredd having the oil furnce be the back-up heat source, but that seems pointless, given the average winter temps and the fact that we’d probably need back-up a fair amount.
Now they are recommending a mini-split system with 4-5 heads. The house isn’t large (1,600 sq feet), but it is not an open plan and we need to be able to close bedroom doors. Main questions are: 1) will we have enough warmth in rooms like the bathroom that don’t have a head? 2) how will the cellar, where all the pipes live, stay warm enough to be asfe for said pipes without having any sort of heating mechanism down there? it’s a real cellar — damp and unconditioned, but also where the well pump, washer/rier, hot water heater live.
So, do we stick with what we have even though we hate the fossil fuel source and cost, go with the central heat pump with all the extra costs, or go with the mini-splits?
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