The debate over the past year has been what to use to heat the farmhouse when we get to that point.  If you have been following the slow restoration, I have been telling you the cost of items, and how we have come across the materials.  We have a very unreal budget of $11,000 to restore this dilapidated farmhouse and we are sticking to it.  Call it a labor of love or insanity, we love and enjoy it.  I am not sure if we will make it, but it is fun to try, and of course we do most of the work.  For heating, we are not doing central air/forced heat which we have now in the Jersey home and it is very expensive (although not in this very mild winter).  It also wastes energy and we are always cold or too hot.  The debate has been between a wood stove and a pellet stove.  The wood stove is the most cost efficient option, however, I have asthma and smoke usually triggers it (in my case – it is different for everyone, for example, pets don’t bother me) so we decided to go with the next option, which is a pellet stove.  Pellet stoves are efficient and can heat an entire home providing nice heat.  You have to select a stove according to the square footage and if you get a reputable brand and burn nice quality pellets, you should be ok for many years.  We did some research on it and we liked what we read.  In addition, it doesn’t have to be hooked to a chimney, it can be vented straight out the wall, unlike a wood stove.  Wood stoves create a bit more pollution compared to the pellet stoves.  However, pellet stoves are not cheap.  A good model for a 1200 sf home can set you back $2,000-$3000+ depending on the brand, features, and the larger the stove the more it will cost.  The cheapest pellet stove costs around $1200 and heats from 900-1200 sf, but it is a cheap model and the reviews are not that great.

We are doing the restoration on a set budget, and we want to keep the farmhouse as original as it was over 100 years ago, so we will not change but replace or restore things.  We will also abide by the 4 R’s – reduce, recycle, reuse, repurpose and we will upcycle as well.  For us, a new pellet stove would range between $2000-$3000+ and that is not going to happen.  We decided to search for a used pellet stove.  The requirements were:

  • great price
  • driving distance for pick up
  • in working condition
  • good brand
  • fair aesthetics

We browsed online and everywhere else for some time, until we saw an ad in Craigslist.  The price was more than fair and it was functional.  It looked good in pictures and it was a great brand (Enviro EF3 FS), plus we only had to drive 57 miles.  I emailed the seller and the next day we went to see it.  We liked what we saw and we took it home – 250 pounds of metal, well filthy metal.  Thanks to my husband the genius, who is so handy and is always thinking about an easy way to transport things, it wasn’t hard at all to manage the 250 pounds between the two of us.  We got it for a 1/6 of the price that we would have paid for a brand new stove.  The guy was moving and didn’t want to take it with him.

Once at home, my husband started the cleanup process, inside and out, and tested a few things.  But even geniuses forget sometimes and he could not resist turning it on without the vent so we got all smoked out and there was black smoke residue all over the room and traveling as far as the kitchen area.  The cleanup was interesting, for the sake of omitting another word.  Here are the before and after pictures.




AFTER UNDERGOING EDDIE-ATION (a methodic process of inspection, decontamination, cleansing, and restoration).


Not bad; it shines again.  By the way, after learning a bit more about this particular model, we found out that the gold tone trimming area is in 24k gold overlay, a beautiful surprise, which only tells us that we got a great used model.  I can’t wait to see it placed at its new home, in a dignified corner.

The next day we went to the local hardware store to check some prices on some materials to plan our budget for the next trip, as we will be doing some work ourselves, and we came across an excellent opportunity – a brand new water heater, better that what we were considering under our budget, for only $100.  We asked the manager what was wrong with it, since it was brand new with all its parts, and he said that the only problem was that it didn’t have the box.  We drove the PT Cruiser, so we weren’t sure if it would fit, but after flipping the seats, there was more than enough room.  We went back home with another big tag item crossed off the list, another blessing.   Total cost for these items was $500 (pellet stove $400 and water heater $100), we saved a big chunk of our restoration budget.

Hope that you enjoyed this post and learned about some ways of saving on a project budget.