Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Not a Fun Way to Spend Money (Impossible! Part 2)


When we bought the house, we realized there were major HVAC deficiencies that we would have to address. In my post entitled “Impossible!” I detailed the joys of finding an HVAC contractor to work on our project. A year later, having completed the HVAC work and having had the second portion of our Energy Audit completed, I wanted to follow up that post with some details on the system we went with and what it’s been like to live with for a year and a half, but before I get to the nitty gritty, let’s recap where we left off. When we moved in, the house did not have natural gas service and was heated with electric baseboards. Hot water was provided by a rental electric hot water tank. We had heard that this would be very expensive. I nearly soiled myself when i saw our first hydro bill. The previous owner claims their total energy cost for the previous year was $3,517.42, however I suspect for this to be true, they must have wore a lot of heavy sweaters in the winter and taken cold showers.

We chose Denise McCormick from Comfort Zone 21 Degrees to arrange to have our gas line installed and to install our new heating and cooling system with a few other goodies.

Here’s what we went with:
- Rinnai 1004 direct vent natural gas wall furnace to heat our main and the back half of our second floor.


- Fujitsu 18CL ductless A/C to cool our main floor


- Rinnai R75LS tankless water heater for household hot water

- Fujitsu 24 RLXQ mini-split A/C heat pump to heat and cool our second and third floor
- Gas line run to the back of the house for a BBQ

Some of the lessons we learned:
1. Enbridge offers through HVAC contractors, a no interest for 3 months loan, which covers the cost of installing any new gas appliances. In our case this cost was quite substantial. Initially we didn’t actually want the loan, but were talked into it by Denise, plus we figured why not earn interest on the cash. After about 2 months of enjoying our sexy new appliances, we called Enbridge to arrange full payment of our outstanding principal. They told us our account had not been set up yet, and that they couldn’t take our money until the account was set up, and to call back later. We called them back about 7 or 8 times over the next month, and went through hours of holding and transferring and re-explaining our case. Until we finally found someone to take our cheque for the full balance and agree that there would be no interest on the amount. Even after taking our cheque, we weren’t receiving any Enbridge bills, so we continued to call to find out why our account had not been set up. After another 7 calls and a full year later, I finally found someone to get our account in order and to send me a bill for the gas we had been using about $900 for the whole year, and our hydro bills for the year are now in the $60 per month range.

2. If you are getting ductless A/C or heat pumps, it only qualifies as a central system, if there are outputs on each floor meeting a minimum BTU at each indoor unit. It probably would have made more financial sense to upsize the A/C heat pump and have it split 3 ways to all our floors, rather than getting an A/C for the main and a split system for the 2nd and 3rd. The difference in energy audit rebate would have been about $1400 and the initial cost would likely have been the same or less.

Unscientific HVAC math:
Unfortunately we only have the previous owners claim that total energy cost was $3,517.42 the year before. Our energy cost for the first year was about $1600. Our payback period will be about 7 years. We also expect to get about $1700 back in energy audit rebates, but this also includes money for changing toilets, windows and doors.

Unfortunately spending money on HVAC is never as much fun as getting a new kitchen or bathroom, but all in all we are quite happy with our new HVAC system. Our new system has proven to be quite comfortable, clean, efficient and very quiet.

12 comments:

Heating Ontario said...

There are several actions or ways to conserve electricity related to heating and cooling in your home that can also have a positive effect on your electricity bills. Using a programmable thermostat is one of the best ways how to save electricity and energy overall.

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John Terry said...
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Peter Carter said...
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John Terry said...
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Peter Carter said...
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Peter Carter said...
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John Terry said...





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Peter Carter said...
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