Start of the house project

By aaron.axvig, 2 February, 2021
Electric heater trying it's hardest in the utility room

Yesterday we closed on our new house on 6th Avenue in Mandan.  It was a HUD house, having been foreclosed on sometime in 2020.  A stream of thoughts:

  • It's an old house, built in 1890.  So there is a neat radiant heating system, high ceilings, large wooden trim, and a pretty traditional floor plan.  Overall it seems to have been kept up to date over the years.
  • Who knows what happens during foreclosures!?  Supposedly some things were winterized, but the heating water pipes are burst in two visible places and the potable water system doesn't hold pressure.  So the most interesting part of the next week or two will be seeing how we do in the frozen pipe lottery.  Hopefully not too much plaster repair is needed once we are through with that.
  • Today before work I stopped by and turned off all of the breakers.  This way nothing funny would happen when the power company came over and turned on the power while I was at work.  Then after work I went and dug through the pop-up camper at my parents' house to get my small electric heater, but could not find it.  $20 for a new one and I was on my way over to the house.  Some lights came on as I flipped the breakers, which was exciting.  I set up the heater in the utility room with the door halfways closed and left for the night.  It should get pretty warm in that room and at least take the edge off in the rest of the house.  At one point today I estimated that the heater (1500 watts running continuously) could heat the house to about 40 degrees above the exterior temperature but further though leads me to revise that down much further.  1500 watts = 5,000 BTU-hours and a typical furnace seems to be 60k-100k BTU, running at probably under 1/2 duty cycle unless it is super cold.  So maybe 30k BTU-hours to maintain about 60 degrees?  It's a pretty rough estimate.  I think it is probably not a linear scaling of BTU-hours per degree of temperature difference.  So I'll guess a 25 degree rise.
  • Tomorrow I will see about getting a couple different parties in to look at the pipes.  One is the (plumber friend of the?) husband of a neighbor that my mom knows, the other is a mechanic that my dad knows.
  • The house is in the Mandan Renaissance Zone and I confirmed with the city that the property has not previously participated in the program, which can only be done once ever.  So that will be a significant tax savings if everything works out well on that.