We’ve been living with “central” heating in our home for three years now. By central, I mean that the wall-mounted, gas-fueled, radiator “things” are located in the center of the house. The work great in that they warm the air—but only within a range of about 3 feet. Otherwise, they are smelly (burnt dust, some gas smell), noisy (damn metal keeps expanding and contracting, making horrible clanging noises), inefficient (probably less than 60% of the gas burned actually heats the home), and dangerous (if they fail, gas will leak directly into our living space).

Suffice to say, their days are numbered. We’ve been getting estimates for a proper central heating system, starting with contractors found via ServiceMagic and Sears. As you may already know, Sears is generally 50% more expensive than the other reasonable bids. Not sure why, maybe because you get the benefit of having one point of contact. Good for the grannies of the world, I suppose, but not worth the cost if you have the wherewithal to make a few phone calls.

We still have two more contractors to speak with this week, but my mind is basically set on Haddon. They have the best rating, seem to be very competent, and offer one of the best furnaces for the price (Amana AMH95). They’ve also been around for a long time, which says a lot about their business.

I hope we’ll be able to get started before Christmas. Everyone has said that the job should take just 2 to 3 days, so I imagine everything can be done before our vacation. I’m really looking forward to it. We can finally close the door to the bedroom and not suffer the chilling effects caused by having two exterior walls, without having warm air make its way into the room.