A great turn-on

In February 2011, the furnace went out. I hadn’t expected it to last for much longer than a couple of years but I was a little surprised when it gave up the ghost after only a few months. A crack in the blower finished it off and it was pronounced DOA by my neighbor, Brent, owner of Expert Heating and Plumbing.

A new furnace wasn’t in the budget at that point and I had become adept at keeping the house warm by using the woodstove. I decided (and hoped) to get through to spring without needing a furnace. It was an interesting experiment for 7 months before I had a new furnace, water heater and filter system installed in October.

Since I worked from home, I could greet chilly mornings where the inside thermostat read 52 degrees and get the house up to about 80 degrees in an hour or so. It’s all in how you built a fire, keep it going and use the wood wisely. One of the most awful, sinking feelings is looking at a dismal woodpile and realizing you either couldn’t find enough dry wood under all that snow or that what you do have is too small to keep you warm or even toast a small marshmellow.

It was tough revolving life around how long the embers would last in the stove, how long I’d be gone or how cold it was outside. Being without a furnace is not something I recommend for long-term.

By the time summer arrived in mid-July, I was used to the lack of central heat along with its accompanying hum and dried-out air but as the summer months wore on (I’m talking about the rest of July and through August, the first snow of the 2011 season occured on Sept. 1) I realized I needed to get a furnace and ended up using my neighbor at Expert Heating and Plumbing.

An added pressure was a looming deadline for natural gas appliances to be installed, part of the deal for receiving a “free” natural gas line. Two delivery methods are required to receive free service and if you fail to get two gas-required apparatus, Colorado Natural Gas will charge you roughly $2,000 to install the line. I didn’t want a gas dryer, stove or any other indoor appliance so I settled for a new furnace and a line for an outside gas grill.

Brent did an outstanding job, removed the old furnace, water heater and filter system, installed all new appliances down in the tomb-like space under the house. The project was done in two days at cost about $3,500 for a new 86 percent efficient furnace, a new low-boy (read here hard to get) water heater and an additional filter system to help purify the awful water that is the bane of the Bar B.

With new batteries in the thermostat, the furnace started right up and hasn’t missed a beat since last year. Each month I TRY to get the furnace filters changed (I’m still not going down there) and keep the beast running.

It’s a true luxury to first have gotten rid of propane, had a new natural gas line dug and have a new, efficient furnace. Being warm is a good thing.

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