There’s a lot that goes into providing shelter for your family. You need a roof and walls and insulation and water and plumbing and power and a source of heat. When we first moved into the apartment in the shop last year at Halloween, we initially turned the propane over on low and opened the door a bit for heat. Fortunately, the apartment is small and well insulated, so the oven kept the chill off. But we were still in heavy sweaters, and the new baby was always in a blanket.
Soon we installed a large propane heater that worked great. Sometimes, it worked too good and kept us too warm. But it guzzled the propane. We used this heater all through last winter and removed it early in the summer.
Now, we are watching the weather closely and prioritizing our list. Getting heat is top priority as it will really cool down soon, and when the rain really starts it will be a challenge to cut a hole in the roof to vent the furnace.
So this weekend my husband is doing as much as he can to get the furnace installed. It’s a propane furnace from Craigslist (no shock to those who know us best). We originally planned to put in in the small shop space next to the apartment, but it’s a down draft furnace so having it in the attic space is best. It fits perfectly in the attic space above the bathroom with access from our bedroom upstairs.
This is a $2-$3K job if we were to pay someone to do it. We are doing it for about $500. The furnace was $50 with an additional $150 for parts and new censers to get it working. The remaining $300 includes plumbing lines and parts, electrical wires, thermostat, ducting, vents, fresh air intake, and the plenum. “Plenum” is my new vocabulary word (taught to my husband by a contractor friend). It’s a metal box that the furnace sits on. All the ducts connect to it. Most of all the ducts and duct connectors came from Habitat for Humanity.
No, my husband is not a contractor, although I’m sure he could pass the test if he wanted to take it. He knows how to do this stuff from framing houses as a teenager, fixing copiers for more than 10 years, talking to contractor friends, reading tons, and just digging in. Most days out best friends are Craigslist and Google.
This is going to be legit heat with two vents to the main room (living room space), a vent to the laundry room where the stairs are, and a vent to the shop space where our oldest daughter does her school. The thermostat will be in the kitchen.
I do NEED to say that while I am so proud of my husband for getting this all figured out. Everything is flowing really well. The shop space worked perfectly for our apartment and the floor plan is working beautifully for setting up the furnace and running minimal ducts for the three vents. We know we have tons of work to do. But God is so gracious to structure things to work so smoothly.
My husband is insistent that with the skills he has already and is gaining everyday combined with the skills I have and the patience I’m gaining everyday, we will be primed for the mission field by the time ours kids are close to graduating. I guess we just need to pray about how the Lord will use us.
As the temperatures drop, thank God for whatever heat source you have and consider all the details that make it work.