Tuesday, April 17, 2012

We-Design-Day: Home Evaluation - Mechanics!

I'm back this week with another part of my study.... How is yours coming along?

Spring is coming up outside, assuming we can keep it from snowing again, and my mind is full of renovation ideas! Knowing that we have deferred maintenance to attend to does help me align my priorities but I can tell you I'd much rather be planning aesthetic components instead of thinking about the plumbing and furnace in my house!

This week, I want to take a look at laundry room, specifically, my big mechanical systems - my furnace, some ducting and our hot water tank are being looked at this week.

The first stop was the hot water tank. This is "new" to the home - we had to replace the hot water tank when it "tanked" in January, 2008. It is a moderately efficient, gas heated unit. We had it installed professionally and it is still in good condition and likely won't need to be addressed for 10 (or more) years.

New chimney and connections were installed as well. I did notice that the unit could really, really use a good dusting... One more thing to add to the housework schedule I've been working on!

Our furnace is original to the house and has been well maintained. It is now approaching 31 years of age and it is one of the things we must look at factoring in to our home study. I am a heat miser so I'd like to think my frugal and deliberate furnace programming has helped to extend the life of the unit but I know even minimal use still causes wear and at 30 years old, I can't expect miracles from the unit. It has a washable filter, thus saving general maintenance costs and the previous owners installed a humidifier when they installed the wood floors.

Again, look at all the stuff in that opening! Colour me surprised - I have no idea what it is (and I've yet to clean it up). Fortunately, our utilities companies do free evaluations of furnaces and check to ensure they are functioning properly. I will be calling late this summer to have ours evaluated and will be scheduling a duct cleaning too. Having the furnace maintenance and the ducts kept clean help the furnace work more efficiently and can work to extend the life of the unit. Furthermore, many government programs have been offering financial rebates for upgrading energy hogs like old furnaces.

In addition to looking at your furnace, you need to check the ducting too. Cold air intakes and the ducts can deteriorate and reduce efficiency (if there are penetrations or disruptions to the ducts or clogged intakes).  Our insulated ducts (the ones that bring cold air in from outside) aren't pretty, but they are functional and in decent shape.

A home evaluation is an involved and detailed process but the information gleaned is invaluable. Thanks for stopping by this week and see you again next week as we start looking at the miles of pipe that take water to and from all over the home!

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