Heat is something I love. I would take a 110° day over any 20° day (unless there was a nice cozy fire to sit in front of). Enters Justin…
Even though it was summer, Justin was looking ahead as to what winter heat may look like for us. He is our certified Heat Master of Crow Farm! As a family, we are in the kitchen a lot and I am in the kitchen a large portion of each day so we wanted to make the kitchen as cozy as we could. We noticed we were using the expensive and non-efficient electric wall heater on the weekday mornings to take the bite out of the air. On weekends we splurged and made a fire in the kitchen fireplace. It rarely felt like it was worth putting the effort into a fire during the week when all of us were in and out so frequently; Justin goes to his office for work and the girls and I go to the schoolhouse for school. After lunch we are here and there with chores and then we are back for making dinner and eating.
We wanted to find a more efficient way of quickly heating the kitchen. This is where the mini-split comes in. We had mini-split units installed in our Portland home as well as our cottage in Portland so we knew we loved them and they worked well as both heating and cooling elements. This time, however, Justin was the installer. He found that he could order all the parts he needed through a couple online companies. In order to do the job properly he did have to invest in some single purpose tools, which we try hard not to buy, but in this case it outweighed paying someone labor costs to install it for us. We figured we probably saved about $4000 on each unit installing them “ourselves.” And by “ourselves” I mean Justin. 🙂
You may have noticed I said, “on each unit.” That’s because Justin went on a spree! This crazy Heat Master ended up installing not one but 4 units at Crow Farm and there is one more at our house waiting to be installed. He started in his office, then our kitchen, and next installed one in the Annex so that when family came to stay for Christmas it would be warm and cozy and energy efficient. The last of the 4 he has installed so far was at the schoolhouse which the girls and I reap the benefits of Monday through Friday. Not that we didn’t love having fires up there, because we did, but it meant Justin getting up pretty early and making a fire so it would be warm for us at school time. You might say he had a little extra motivation to install that one.
All the installations had their own quirks and tricks to get them right. Speaking as a helper I think the kitchen was the hardest to install. It involved going through the roofing above our deck, around a corner and then down the exterior of the siding. Blindly fishing everything through the outdoor ceiling and around a corner was less than ideal for sure. But, with patience it worked and we enjoy its heat every day.
Building the platforms for the outdoor units was also quite an interesting task. We have confirmed yet again that doing outdoor digging of any kind during the rainy season gets muddy mighty quickly! It’s hard to level concrete footings when you can’t see to the bottom of the muddy puddle you have just created. It was a lot of: toss (the footing), splash, jump up and down, check level…pry it out of the clay and repeat until we got it right.
I am very thankful for the heat we have and for all the work Justin has put into installing all these mini-splits.