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December 11th, 2005:

What is it with heating contractors?

So today I started to understand that among contractors, the greatest variation, at least thus far, seems to be in heating contractors. They all have vastly different opinions on what we should do with our oil-fired forced hot air furnace to make it more efficient and hopefully heat the office on the 2nd floor (which has no air duct) and the three bedrooms on the 3rd floor (which all share one air duct, which is in the floor in the hallway between the three). We’d also like to eventually get air conditioning installed, which at least two out of three agree is theoretically possible with our setup.

Last week’s heating guy basically threw his hands up and walked out. Well, that’s a tiny bit harsh – he said he didn’t work on oil, but then scared the crap out of us by telling us that we didn’t have the proper fresh air returns and, if it were him, he wouldn’t live in the house because it’s too full of potentially toxic air. Super.

This week’s two heating guys both seemed less concerned with the returns; one had an excellent solution to the problem (repurpose unused air ducts), and the other suggested maybe bringing in some fresh air from outside. Beyond that, their approaches differened dramatically – the first one said we should keep the furnace, zone it for two zones, add ducts where they’re missing on the 2nd and 3rd floors, and then we’d have a good system that is efficient and also ready for A/C down the road. The second guy originally said we should switch the 2nd and 3rd floors to baseboard electric heat, but later called me and said he’d changed his mind and we should do a separate gas furnace on the 3rd floor with forced air ducts run through the closets.

Let me tell you, at this point I’m very confused. I think we’re going to have to talk to another one or two heating guys before we can feel comfortable about making a decision on this.

I also learned today that there is a hole in the first floor leading to the basement that needs to be patched. Yeah, it’s a nice round hole, about 15″ diameter. Goes straight down from a floor vent to the basement. It was covered with cardboard so not too noticable until you take the floor vent out. Used to be a duct, but now it’s just a hole. So it goes on the list with the other repairs needed to be made to the first-floor floor (basement ceiling), including putting back the subfloor the previous owners took out when they added a shower stall to the half-bath, and propping up the main staircase from when they took out a section of the first floor to add a set of stairs to the basement. It’s a wonder the house is still standing.

Our House Listing

So this is the listing to our house…. (MLS # blurred for our protection)

[EDIT: Photo removed – if you want to know why, email us!]

Of course, as it turns out the house was built pre-1900, not 1950, has closer to 2300 sq. feet (than 3500), and (although we haven’t measured it yet) I’m pretty sure it sits on more than 0.0 acres. And although it does have 6 bedrooms, three of them are on the third floor of the converted attic.

Nevertheless, it’s a very big house, with a LOT of work that needs to be done. I am very excited about it, and a little bit nervous. I haven’t lived in a house since… oh, a VERY long time. I’ve been a condo/loft dweller for over 15 years. I believe I’m in for a whole new lesson in swinging a hammer, shoveling the walk, and fixing leaks…

The Mayor of Yonkers

By the way, the Mayor of Yonkers is Philip Amicone

I found out quite a bit about him and about Yonkers on the City of Yonkers website

For example, Yonkers is the fourth largest city in New York State! And Amicone is very well qualified as Mayor– he spent 8 years as Deputy Mayor before becoming the mayor.

I’m guessing that I’m going to be getting a lot of use of that website.

Welcome to Yonked!

Welcome! Adam and I are building this blog to bring you into our world – that which involves the recent purchase and upcoming renovation of our 100+ year old Victorian home in Yonkers, New York.

The fact that we’ve bought the house is significant for a number of reasons:
1) It means Adam and I are moving in together.
2) It means Adam is moving to New York from Providence.
3) It means we’re both moving to Yonkers. Yeah, Yonkers.

Admittedly, we didn’t know too much about Yonkers when we started looking for houses, only that it was close to Riverdale (part of the Bronx, in New York City), which is where I’m living now, and that we’d heard there were still pretty good house deals to be had there. Admittedly, we’ve owned the house for over three weeks, and I’m still not sure who the mayor is.

(The closing date on the house, just to officially get the date in this blog, was November 18.)

We’re deep in interviews and discussions with contractors; more on that, and the house itself, soon.

Yonkers tidbit: they don’t plow the streets as fast (nor, apparently, as well), as NYC. Guess there’s less at stake for their mayor (whomever he is).