Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Decision Time

The time has come for us to make a decision about how to insulate and heat the barn, and needless to say, it isn’t easy. This decision is compounded by the fact that building any sort of living quarters requires vast sums of capital. Life would be so much easier if we just lived in caves. Things were so much simpler in caveman days.

Anyway, we had to come to a decision because in wiring the house, how it’s heated will affect where wiring occurs. Our options were fairly straightforward, if not a bit limited. For insulation, it boiled down to spray foam or fiberglass. Spray foam insulates the best, but it’s amazingly expensive, and this may sound like justifying my frugality, but we don’t necessarily want a house that is hermetically sealed up. A little breathing is nice.

The second issue was heating. Again, our options boiled down to a boiler and baseboard heating, a furnace and hot air, or individual propane air heaters. Our first thought was to go with the last option, which we had in Quechee. They work fine, and if you have a wood burning stove as well, keeps a house perfectly warm. The one issue you have to deal with, however, is hot water, which requires either a hot water heater, a boiler, or a tank less heater. A hot water heater is pretty straightforward, though maybe the least efficient. A boiler would be great but is too much to just heat water. If you had it for heat, as well, than it becomes an efficient option. The last one, a tank less heater, is what KB has, and he says it works fine.

We didn’t really know which to use, and of course my first instinct is to go cheap. After some thought, however, we think we’re leaning to getting a boiler and insulating with fiberglass.

Our logic went something like this. The cost of getting a few wall mount heaters (Rennai) plus a water heater and a stove would probably be about the same as getting a boiler, or at least you’re not saving that much money. A boiler and baseboard would give you a preferable form of heat, especially if we ever sold the place, and it also gives you hot water. The caveat with a boiler is that we were told we’d need to use spray foam, and that’s really expensive. The pipes would run inside the walls, and there they are more prone to freezing.

After much discussion with those in the know, we figured we could run the pipes inside of the fiberglass, and then put pipe insulation of the pipes. That seems like it would protect the pipes enough from freezing. At least that’s what we hope.

Whatever be the case, that’s where we stand. A boiler with fiberglass insulation. That’s our decision, and we’re sticking with it... at least until someone new talks us out of it.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to B0xR for the pic.

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