Pat posted on November 13, 2009 01:03

Tis the season ... to be sure we'll all be warm and cozy through the winter.

Buy Energy Star appliances Heaven Scent has been a seasonal operation up till this year; every winter I packed up and headed south, and left the house in the hands of good friends. This year I'm staying put, for the first time since 2003/2004 when I was still redoing the house, my first year of ownership. I found then that the living room's gas log fireplace is useless for heat; the living room has a chill, the office and sunroom are quite cold, and of course the warm upstairs is the place to be. But Mom and Dad are living with me, they can't move upstairs, and they are very sensitive to cold. So it was time to look into fixing the HVAC.

What flex duct exists here long ago lost all insulation, so I think we've never felt what the furnace or the A/C might actually be capable of. But we've decided to change everything out. Seems good timing, here in Virginia, where there's state funding to reimburse part of the costs of improving your home or business's energy efficiency: the Virginia Energy Efficiency Rebate Program. You need to reserve funding for your project as soon as it's planned. Instructions are at http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DE/ARRA-Public/SEPRebate.shtml and the form is at https://epm.virginiainteractive.org/eerebate/.

After getting several quotes (and getting quite confused), we've decided on a Westinghouse installation by Atlantic Heating and Air, and signed the contract today! Westinghouse's 10-year warranty that was upgradable at modest cost to include labor was a big factor. The equipment sounds good: the variable-speed gas furnace and the new heat pump. Of course, having had the company recommended by a trusted friend was also important; Raynell of Nauti Nell's in Deltaville had given us Russell's name so we could find Atlantic in the first place. And I like the idea of the round ducts they'll use in replacing the basement lines.

Most exiting to us is getting a zoned system. Dampers built into the new duct, along with new programmable thermostats and a computerized control system will let us choose separate settings for the upstairs, the main floor guest areas, and my parents' unit. We are so looking forward to being able to supply upstairs guests with more forceful and effective A/C in summer (and are stepping up the system tonnage to be sure). Mom and Dad look forward to having all the heat they want without making everyone else want to open windows. Lastly, even though the new unit is to be ultra-quiet, we're moving the compressor away from the guest rooms.

The work will be done the week after Thanksgiving, so we have blocked those nights off of online booking. Wish us luck with a smooth installation; and then come feel the results!


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