I know I have written this here at least once, but to refresh everyone’s memory…our little cabin in the woods was built basically a 1-season cabin. The only heat available until Tom and I moved here permanently was 1) the fireplace (which for some reason after the awesome stash of firewood under the house was used up no one ever thought to, you know, BUY MORE WOOD) and 2) electric in-wall heaters.
With those two antiquated systems and $800/month to pay the electric bill, you could maybe survive here in spring and fall.
But winter was definitely out.
There is no basement. No insulation in the walls. When we started there was a smattering of fiberglass mixed with lots of animal droppings in the attic.
Tom ended up with the plan to put radiant floor heating in so that we can live here year-round. We looked at inserts for the fireplace and even traditional furnaces, but pumping hot water through tubing was the cheapest, least invasive way we could keep ambient temps above freezing.
(We will, at some point, add a basement. We will add a bedroom down there and come winter, that will be a prized location because right now? Our crawlspace? IS A SAUNA OF AWESOMENESS. With only reflective sheeting between the tubes and the crawlspace, it is by far the warmest area of the house.)
The radiant floor heating was a great idea. The fact that Tom figured it out and installed it (all but hooking up the hot water heater to our new natural gas line) was amazing and astonishing and let’s all just agree that me snagging a man like that falls under “Life’s Not Fair” for all the other single ladies out there. So not worthy. And yet, here I sit with warm toes writing this blog!
One of the things Tom did in deciding to install it himself was pay for a professional to design our system and provide his expertise to our unique situation. In paying the professional, we received discount codes to major producers of radiant floor heating items. That paid for the fee itself. Let alone the advice.
For example, the professional gave Tom the advice to NOT install tubing in certain areas.
(The pink stuff on the walls is thermal insulation. We have that tacked all around our crawlspace with other insulated material to keep our heat, well, ours. Since there is no insulation in our walls, we put it up in the winter inside the house to make our heating more efficient.)
He also said to plan to not run tubing under your refrigerator. Tom extended that to the pantry so we can store food and drink with cooking/hot toddying them.
(IS SO A WORD SPELL CHECK)
So with this advice in mind and plans in hand, Tom crawled under the house for a few months. And we survived last winter – the Coldest Winter On Record in these parts – quite nice with an additional wood-burning stove insert into our fireplace and lots of nice wood which is an entirely different post.
This one is long enough, THANKYOUVERYMUCH.
Last winter we learned there were some things the “Radiant Floor Heating Expert” didn’t know.
Like, you don’t want to cook your cat litter boxes unless you REALLY LIKE the smell of cat poop all throughout the house.
That’s the same pink insulation you saw on the walls. Keeps heat AND poop smells in! What WON’T it do??
But mostly we learned about added benefits. Such as, having bed ruffles traps heat under beds and when a cat is missing during the winter you have a one and four (four being the current number of beds in the house) chance of knowing exactly where they are.
For the most part, I forget that we have radiant floor heating. It’s the small things like – why is this box warm? how did my shoes get dry? – that snap me back from regular life to radiant floor heating life.
And so, today, when I cleaned the cat water fountain (OF COURSE OUR CATS HAVE A WATER FOUNTAIN. Are you new here?) (Seriously, we have had urinary tract issues up the wazoo, which I suppose might be translated to urinary tract to some and therefore accurate without this aside BUT IT IS HERE ANYWAY DAMMIT. If you have peeing issues with your cat, consider a water fountain. Seriously) when I decided to swish a bit of vinegar in the reservoir to combat mold, and came across a pleasantly…warm..concoction.
Warm wishes this holiday season from the Jessica In Progress household. Especially under the sink.