As many people have realized, this winter look like it will be quite similar to the last: bouts of cold arctic air sweeping down across the country making all of our lives a little bit chilly. The farm is unfortunately located in an area that already gets much colder than most of the areas east of it, especially considering that it is in Massachusetts. Here is a quick graph(1)Chart computed by Wolfram Alpha, my go to science-data site. of the temperature history of the past month of both Warwick and Boston:
Now that is clearly New England weather! So yeah, Warwick tends to dip rapidly down below freezing and this is just from November. Heat is a necessity.
Since it is an 1880’s farmhouse, and since we’ll be renovating small parts at a time, we opted for the cheap, modular option since it made the most sense. Electric heat gets a bad rap for it’s high price (per BTU) compared with other options; but since the proportion of time we’re at the farm is directly proportional to the temperature, electric was a viable way to go.
Keeping it modular helps reduce the one-time expense and provides a guarantee that we can both size the system properly while also reducing the risk of having a large heater we can’t use if we ever switch away from electric heat. We have several faux fireplaces that we can move into rooms as needed and which are quite aesthetically pleasing. Since these are simple plug-and-play units their heat output is capped at 1500 watts, so the real heat comes from a dedicated wall unit I installed. It’s output is 4000 watts and can effectively heat much of the living area (in less than extreme weather). The unit’s placement is simply temporary, but it’s working well.