Ask This Old House: Heating the House
Richard shares how to warm the place up and not pay a fortune
As much of the country gets ready for colder temperatures, TOH plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey knows everyone’s two biggest concerns: how to make a house more comfortable and how to reduce heating bills.
“Whether it’s a new house or an old house, heating affordably is always an issue,” says Richard, who has decades of experience dealing with heating issues in New England. Several Ask This Old House TV segments address different techniques, devices, and tips that can help, particularly as Richard explains the technologies that are continually being developed.
A homeowner who is considering a geothermal heat pump to reduce heating costs gets a firsthand explanation from Richard (Season 9, Episode 22), when he takes her to visit a home where one has been installed. She learns that one of the biggest up-front costs with this method is digging a well that can tap into the year-round 50-degree earth temps, and the homeowner they visit reveals that he expects payback within a relatively short five years.
For another homeowner, who is trying to reduce costs while adding multiple zones in his house, Richard suggests a ductless system (Season 13, Episode 15), which involved installing units in the attic that can directly heat (and cool) problematic second-floor bedrooms. For a young homeowner in Pittsburgh, Richard shows just how simple it is to install a smart thermostat (Season 13, Episode 26), which helps save energy by ensuring the house is producing heat only when needed.
And for owners of Victorian-era homes with cast-iron radiators, Richard shows how to replace the air vent—a common repair that can quickly go wrong (Season 4, Episode 22). Jack Frost, take that!