The Snow

It begins.

Looks a treat though.

The number of mild days left in the year are thin. As predicted, we did not move the rest of the mulch up to the front of the hoard, though we did use some for other gardening purposes elsewhere, depleting the stash a bit.

And, as predicted, we were not able to get the furnace up and running. Yet.

But, we have a plan.

The Plan

Generally, if we want to work in the hoard in the winter, we either have to bundle up or add heat. Bundling up inhibits working for long periods, and we would like to have electricity anyway so that we can wire up lights. The days are getting shorter and shorter, after all, and working strictly after work will give us oh, say, 15 minutes of light or so.

And, since the electric meter is currently disconnected, if we needed to perform upgrades between the meter and the breaker panel, now would be the time.

So our order of operations looks like this:

  • Optionally upgrade service panel from 100A to 200A
  • Label and disconnect all wiring from the panel
  • Investigate and reconnect key lighting and the panel plug
  • Call city for electrical panel inspection, if replaced
  • Call utility company to reconnect the meter and begin service

That’s just lights! Sounds like a lot, but I’m confident all of that could be done in a day if we wanted (outside of waiting for the inspector and utility).

Now for heat:

  • Call utility company to reconnect the meter and begin service
  • Clean out all heating ducts and returns
  • Optionally disconnect and clean ducting in the basement
  • Investigate the furnace’s potential for usability and replace if needed
  • Inspect gas line to the furnace and repipe if needed
  • Disconnect or shut off unnecessary gas appliances
  • Inspect wiring to furnace and rewire if needed
  • Call city for furnace installation inspection, if replaced

The meter should be connected first, so that all the piping can be tested. But, there is a per-month cost just for having the meter connected, even if you use no gas. This is why we haven’t called to have it installed just yet. We want to be ready to use it!

The Drawbacks

We are entering the holiday season, which has its pluses and minuses. As we know, days are getting shorter and colder, so working time is shortened. There are also family commitments, work parties, get-togethers, and so forth all planned throughout the next two months. It may also be difficult to locate any contractors if need be, since they too have their own commitments. Since the heating season has begun, they may be on call to perform tune ups and repairs rather than new installations, and as a result prices or time tables could fluctuate.

There are also projects ongoing at our own house and our other rentals which have demands on our time. These should be completed before said get-togethers, but anyone who has executed a large scale project knows that deadlines are just suggestions.

The Benefits

But, since I have to use up all my PTO at work before the end of the year, I’m planning to take some extended weekends and interspersed days off. So, there will be time when I have a full day of daylight for working without electricity in the hoard. We are also still fully committed to performing as much work on the hoard as possible ourselves, so we may not need any contractors at all (assuming the city’s blessing).

And, of course, we are lucky in that there is absolutely no timeline or rush on anything, since the building was paid for in full.

Additionally, our wasp problem should be mitigated by the cold, since they do not overwinter in unconditioned spaces. If we leave the heat off long enough, they will all die off. We can then seal off the cracks they were using to enter the siding. The longer we delay, the better our chances!

Our first steps therefore are to take a good look at what we have in the building so far in terms of electric and gas service, replacing the electric that needs replacing, and ordering a gas meter. I think the hardest part is probably going to be the duct cleanout, because of the narrow spaces and difficulty in ensuring that we cleaned everywhere thoroughly. But, it has to be done before the part I’m most excited about potentially doing: replacing the furnace ourselves.

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