Heat at last!

Today we had a warm house for the first time since we purchased it. It was sold to us with an oil burner that heated the building via radiators. However, the oil tank was empty and we opted not to fill it, since there were only a few weeks of winter remaining. We heated throughout the spring and the winter up to this point with electric space heaters, since there were already a bunch scattered throughout the house.

It certainly took a lot longer than we expected, but luckily we were blessed with crazy-warm weather throughout December and the temperature only dropped below freezing in the second week of January. Our decision was to convert from oil to municipal heat, which is delivered via hot-water pipes laid under the street. I think they heat the water by burning wood, which figures, since this is Finland.

After discussing it for a few weeks we signed the contract and the city came out and ran the pipes into our basement. We also decided to move the heating room from the center of the house towards the front, so we had the loop installed into this room directly from the street through our “front yard” (it’s only about 1 meter across).


After that we discovered we needed a heating plan in order to buy a pump that would transfer the heat into our radiator system. So we contracted with Esko Helin, who diagrammed the system so we could start taking offers for the pump and installation. We also got a lot of help from Margo Saxberg, a local contractor/ historical renovator/ renaissance man who is advising us on all sorts of things. He guided the plumbing company on how we essentially wanted a cheap patch job running from the new heating room to the old heating room just so the house was warm until we officially renovated the entire heating system and moved it en-masse to the new utility room.

We ended up buying a Gebwell pump, which I guess is a knock off of the more expensive, standard municipal heat exchangers from Högfors, but it seems like a really nice machine to us. The price was really nice at least. The plumbing company, Keski-Suomen LVI-Mestarit (Central-Finland HVAC-Masters), came nearly the day after it was delivered to mount it to the wall and hook it up to the municipal heat supply on the intake and our radiators on the other end.

Seven months of ownership and the house is finally toasty. Not only that but we got to smell it for the first time without the damp air, and boy does it smell nice. Like rich, old lumber. It was tempting to move over there on the spot, but then I remembered the only working shower is in the basement. Oh well, the day will come!

The new heating room. We had to use a copious amount of paint to cover up cigarette smoke staining the walls. The pipes in the wall are the municipal heating loop.

The new utility room

At the other end of these pipes lies a massive furnace. I like to think they are burning our bio-waste we so carefully recycle.

City heat!

The new heat exchanger arrives and is assembled on the kitchen floor to await installation.

The day has come! and right on cue the snow arrives.

This looks so much prettier than the old setup. I think it is the newness and the lack of a 700 gallon tank of flammable oil.

Eventually they will stick a meter here and we will actually have to pay for this heat

The old heater. After we take out the asbestos we can probably gut this room and sell off the oil burner, and the copper!