Archive for the ‘hot water heaters’ Category

We’re wired!

March 11, 2007

The electrician, plumber, and HVAC contractors have all been busy at work on our home this past week. The results look like this:

And this

And this

(The above is a photo of the tub for the master bath, the Aquamarine model by Izzi Baths).

While they’ve been busy wiring, we’ve been busy shopping. As confirmed apartment dwellers, we have no real furniture. A futon with the arm chewed up by our dog, sure, we’ve got that. But not real house furniture.

We looked at several places, like Ethan Allen, Badcock, Broyhill, Wood You, and American Signature Furniture. Our favorite at first was Ethan Allen, before we realized that, even though we would be paying through the nose for their furniture, they 1. use particleboard in some pieces’ construction and 2. exhibit all the signs of fine, Chinese craftsmanship. The floor models had big mistakes, like lopsided doors that had misaligned hardware and armoire doors that scratched up the bottom of the armoire every time you closed them! For those prices, we were underwhelmed by the low level of quality. My husband read several reviews that corresponded the decline in quality with the exportation of pieces to China to be built. Yummy…

Badcock sketched us out, and Broyhill was far, far too large, heavy, and ornate for us. We were very excited, though to find Wood You and American Signature. Both those places only sold furniture made of actual, solid wood. American Signature’s pieces were still assembled in either China or Vietnam (some one, some the other), but they seemed to be of better quality.

We really liked their Plantation Cove line; it fit with our beachy theme. We purchased a sofa (the Sonja) in celery green. The cushions are so, so soft, and have a 5 year warranty. We purchased the additional Scotch Gard protection, as this will definitely pay us back in protection from doggie paws.

We also bought, for the living room, a cocktail table. We got the rectangular dining table and 6 chairs for our dining room (all in white). For the master bedroom, we got the king bed, Simmons Napa Super Pillowtop mattress, two end tables, a tall chest of drawers, and an armoire. The master bedroom furniture is all in black, and we plan on having a black/teal/white color combination in this room.

The nice thing about American Signature Furniture is that you can put down only a 10% deposit, and that will lock in the price for you. They will hold the furniture indefinitely, at no charge, for people like us who do not have the house completed yet.

We also liked the Wood You mission style, and are thinking that we will get some combination of this type of furniture for our guest bedroom. This is unfinished wood furniture, so we would have to paint or stain it ourselves, but the prices were very reasonable and the quality seemed to be pretty good, with all-wood construction.

Trials and tribulations of water heating

January 25, 2007

Just when we think we’ve made a decision, we find out some new information that upsets our thinking totally.

Because we’re out in the country, we don’t have natural gas service. Because my husband is interested in cooking, we will have a dual fuel stove, which necessitates a gas hookup. Our solution to this is propane, but this seemingly simple solution apparently has endless permutations that cause consternation to the average homebuyer.

We have decided that we want to rent, not buy, a propane tank. Apparently, of the three propane suppliers who service our area, only one will rent a propane tank to us. OK – that made our decision to choose our supplier that much easier.

We first asked about possibly having a gas tankless hot water heater, which would fit with our green building motif. However, after hearing about the additional cost (tankless costs $1550, as opposed to $369 for the gas tank heater, and drops to a tankless are an extra $150), we realized that we could not possibly recoup the $1331 difference between these two heaters in the time frame we’re expecting to be in this house.

Propane is more expensive than natural gas, and the propane & natural gas prices tend to fluctuate more than electricity prices. They are also projected to rise at a much higher rate than electricity prices, which prompted us to check out electric hot water heaters. We did so, and discovered that they have an energy factor of .94, as opposed to the gas tank hot water heater’s energy factor of .58. So, sounds good, we will go electric, right?

Wrong.

If we don’t buy the gas hot water heater, the propane supplier will not rent the tank to us. And we don’t want to shell out a few thousand extra to buy a tank, when we could rent one for $96/year. Without a gas hot water heater, our propane cost also rises $.20 per gallon. If we don’t buy the gas hot water heater from the propane supplier, they will not service it for us if it goes out.

Basically, not having natural gas service in your area means that the propane suppliers can have their way with you, as far as charging more for the heaters than if you bought them from someone else, and as far as forcing you to have more appliances that rely on propane.

Our other reason for wanting propane service, besides the stove, is that we plan on having a propane generator in case of hurricanes. They won’t happen more than once or twice a year (hopefully!), but if we do lose power for several days, that would really put us in a bind. We’re out in the country, so, again, have well water, not city water. No power = no water.

The moral of this story is: Try to build your home in a place with access to reasonable utilities. Otherwise, you will end up spending a lot more of your money trying to buy wells, buy propane, buy generators.

Questions? Comments? Post a comment on my blog – I would love to hear from you!