We got a central heating system this weekend! It’s not hooked up yet of course, but it’s there – an amazingly compact unit rated 95 percent efficient.
With lots of single-paned windows, no insulation, and 11 and a half foot ceilings, the Schoolhouse is a challenge to heat.
Once upon a time there was a wood stove in the middle of the main room. We know this because the chimney’s still there, but the stove itself is long gone. Our neighbors heat mostly with a wood stove, but you can no longer get a permit to put in a wood burning apparatus in Sonoma County, so that’s not an option. (The day I found this out I was particularly disappointed because I had just found a danish modern floating fireplace on Craigslist for $200, but that’s another story.)
The Schoolhouse is now on a neighborhood propane tank, but the hot water heater is the only thing that currently runs on it. The stove hadn’t worked in years, and rather than use propane, Julie had a kerosene heater. Apparently a lot of people up here got them about 15 years ago because at the time kerosene was a lot cheaper than propane. We took it out, both because it was decrepit and smelly and because we didn’t like having a rusty barrel of kerosene right there on the deck next to the house. And, since the price of kerosene has gone way up, it’s pretty much equal to propane (depending on who you’re talking to, this price equalization is either a natural market development or a conspiracy on the part of oil companies).
Very early in the process, when we thought we’d be done in a couple of months, we bought two little fake woodburning stoves that can be converted from natural gas to propane. One’s in the Library, and the other will go in the Schoolhouse.
Last winter was particularly cold and wet. With no insulation and no heat source, the Schoolhouse was freezing – The Guys called it The Icebox. This winter? We’re hoping it’s cozy and dry.