Category Archives: HVAC

With a huff and a puff…

Wow, lots of time has gone by since our last house update, but luckily that means things have been so busy we haven’t had time to update y’all! It’s been difficult trying to find time to get over to the house, and at times when we do, we undoubtedly forget the camera or the battery is dead. Wah, wah.

So you know what appliances we’re getting since we shopped for those the weekend we celebrated good ol’ George and Abe. If you’re just tuning in or want a recap, read it here. We have since rescheduled delivery for May mainly because of our furnace and central air.  During our home inspection, we found that the furnace turned on but with no oil in the tank, there was no way to test the system for heat.  We hedged our bets and figured that once there was oil in the tank, we’d be good to go.  (Note: hedging bets is never a good idea.) We scheduled an oil delivery for a Saturday, 2 days after closing since they give you a delivery window of, oh, ALL DAY.  ‘Sometime between 6am and 5pm.’  (Really, thanks, that’s very helpful!).  Because the technician had to come inside to prime the system before turning it on, one of us had to actually be at the house at that time.  We also learned that 50 gallons is the lowest amount you can order (at least here in MD) and because it’s only a small amount, you pay top dollar per gallon.  I bet you can guess what happened… yup, oil delivered, furnace primed, switch turned on, and 10 minutes later, the furnace turned off.

Many phone calls and 2 separate company techs checking it out (with two different diagnoses) and the furnace was busted.  We could have taken the cheap route and just replaced the oil furnace with another one, but we figured if we were going to invest in a furnace, we might as well take the opportunity to upgrade to natural gas.  We brought in our contractor’s mechanical sub who took a look at our set up and made us realize that we could replace the furnace all we wanted, but that the original duct work in the house would not efficiently heat, and more importantly, cool, the house.  We found that we what we really needed was new duct work throughout the house and since the basement and first floor were essentially gutted, if we were ever to replace the lines, the time was now.  We wavered back and forth and decided to jump all in- full removal and replacement of the furnace, duct lines, and AC condenser.

Here’s what we started with in the basement:

A little hard to see, but this seems to be the best picture to show the clunker in the basement. Note the huge duct lines hanging from the ceiling.

And here’s what we have now:

Here’s our new York unit installed.

Since we replaced every bit of duct work throughout the house, we opted for the 95.5% high-efficiency furnace.  The ducts were able to be installed to provide the most efficient air flow for heating and cooling that will allow us to take advantage of the efficiency of the furnace.  All this forced the furnace to be relocated into the corner of the basement to stack the supply and returns vertically through the house.  Too much technical talk?  Here’s the quick low-down:

Efficient unit – awesome!

Added the whole house humidifier.

All the vents are now located along exterior walls where they are most useful.

Each bedroom has its own supply and returns for full air circulation.

OK, enough nerdiness. 😛 Know what else happened while the HVAC was being finalized?  We went from this:


To this:


Look at that new door!  Here’s a close up (imagine a deck here one day!):

We went with the Marvin Integrity french door in a size that fit within the previous window width in order to align with the brick soldier course and structural frame. A small detail, but we’re so glad we did it. We’ll paint out the coping to match the door color (pebble grey).

And from the inside, a world of difference:


To this (…not exactly the same angle, but you get the idea of how much more light comes in with the french doors):

Dining room with the new HVAC stacks in the corner. Not exactly where we had wanted them placed, but we had to make some compromises for efficiency as well as overall space planning.

Now from the living room there is a direct view from the front windows through to the back yard.  You can also start to see what the kitchen/dining room feels like here:

View from the dining room into the kitchen. The blue tape marks out the side walls for the 7′ x 3′ kitchen island.

Our mason also took the bricks that they cut out for the french doors and re-used them to brick in the old access door from the kitchen (and a few other holes that needed bricks to patch) so that as they weather, all the brick will match.  It’s a small detail but well worth it.  Looks so much better than if we had patched the door opening with siding of sorts.


The fresh mortar is still light, but after a few storms it will start blending in.  Still not 100% sure what we are going to do with this side porch now that the door is gone.  It has a nice little slate roof and brick piers, but the rest is shot.  Not high on the priority list now, so stay tuned so see what happens here.

This past week we had and PASSED all of our inspections, ordered our new kitchen windows (that will match the new french door), and they started drywalling.  It’s FINALLY starting to feel like a home that we might actually be able to live in.  Pictures to come!



April 6, 2013 · 1:09 am