We have been in the depths of dust and despair for the last 2+ years over here at the Cobblestone. There have been a lot of collective sighs of “what did we do, why did we do this.” These moments are heavy and more often than we’d like. On top of doing a full renovation 95% ourselves, life has just been hard the last two years. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel and man, we are so excited to see it! The Cobblestone has certainly been a place of respite to escape from the world, but also a source of worry and we are finally turning that corner into pure excitement.
To start things off, we finally have HOT water. Originally, the house had an electric water heater, and originally planned to switch to a propane fueled water tank - we were always advised this would be the better option in terms of cost. But then we did a deep dive into solar energy and geothermal heating and realized we were at the perfect spot in our renovation to make this switch. We had made up our mind and committed to installing solar and geothermal this last summer, 2021. Thankfully we did not have any supply chain issues for either install, and both went fairly smooth. Solar installed first, and began generating at the end of July/early August.
I’d like to say we thought of geothermal completely on our own, but it wasn’t until speaking with our solar contractor that geothermal was thrown into the mix. We had originally planned on installing new radiators and running them with an electric boiler. The solar team handed us off to their geothermal division and we went through the options Our geothermal lines were placed shortly after and boy was that day the highlight of Clark’s week! He got to see the big yellow digger, digging up the loop field in our north acre. He loved it! We didn’t stay to watch the whole thing, it was pretty repetitive after a while and naptime was calling. But later that day the ground was backfilled and we had two pipes ready to be run inside the house to connect to the actual geo equipment.
We have our solar producing every day and geothermal has been up and running for a week now. Doug is the definition of the jack of all trades. He watched some videos, read some instructions, and asked some questions and now he is plumbing ALL of the new water lines for the radiators and has successfully connected all our radiators to the manifold. It was definitely a confidence booster when our geothermal guy was more than helpful and ran us through all the connections, how to make them, and gave some tips.
This will be the first time in a many good years that this house has been heated efficiently. I should mention that we did not for the winter of '20/'21 because the house had an oil burning furnace - the cost of oil was insane and during the winter of ‘19/’20 we paid $3000 to keep the house at 45-50 degrees. So to say it was a wakeup call that something had to change was for sure. The house is post and beam so routing any ductwork up to the second floor was a challenge with the previous layout, so the poor second floor (~1,250 square feet) only had one tiny duct in the bathroom. We knew we needed to change this but we didn’t want to build out every single wall to accommodate a network of ducts.
I had my heart set on finding a radiator company that could make rads to the sizing our home needed and thankfully castrads exists! There was 6 months of back and forth making sure our sizing was correct, working with geothermal to make sure they would work with the radiators, and picking final colors. But boy was it all worth it. The radiators are huge and beautiful. We ended up doing mostly 71’’ tall radiators with varying columns depending on the heat loss of each room. The warmth they put out is unmatched. I have always really disliked the constant fluctuations of forced air but have always LOVED the feeling of radiant heat. We are so very happy with our decision and cannot wait to get the rest of the zones hooked up and running!
Needless to say the house finally has a solid set of mechanicals and will serve us very well. <3