Homeowner: Central heating Systems

Our new house was heated by two wood-burning stoves. Clyde has athsma, and is allergic to wood smoke; in addition, wood smoke is highly toxic. It causes pollution, and saying that we should just get a sealed unit ignores the health of our neighbours as well as forgetting that we often go outside!

So we had to get a new heating system.

Because we are in the country, there is no piped gas. So our obvious choices are electric heat, oil and propane. In the end we bought an oil-fire hot water heating system (called hydronics in the heating industry) with a lennox furnace.

We asked for quotes from a number of people, but only three contractors gave us anything in writing. The first quoted us on a propane system, and was cheapest, but did not meet our needs. Perhaps we could have dealt with him, but he didn't answer our calls.

The second wanted almost twice as much money, including $2,000 for a hot water tank and $3,000 for installation of the hot water tank. Since a new hot water tank from Sears costs under $500, this seemed odd. When I called to ask why the price was high, he said the other contractors have not included hot water tanks. How would he know that? In fact, they had all included hot water. We don't want to deal with someone who said bad things about other people without even knowing who they were or who wanted to gouge us for our money. We might have had enough money for a mortgage but that does not make us rich!

The third, Service Experts (formerly D & K Heating) in Belleville, Ontario, came and gave us a detailed talk about our options, and we ended up choosing them.

We bought reconditioned old cast-iron radiators from Sunny Munce in Toronto (he has retired, but still takes on work because he loves it so much), and D&K installed them with copper piping on our request.

Hot water heating has a number of advantages over the forced air systems that are so popular in Canada.

I'll make a separate Web page about the details of the heating system!