Plan A: As soon as we get the house, get rid of the octopus in the basement: the really old gravity furnace. Get a really efficient new furnace.
Plan B: Get rid of the octopus (or not), but put in a new, better water heater and hook it up to a radiant heat system throughout the house, then later on we can get solar panels on the house to power the hot water heater and our heat will be provided by the sun!!
Wait. This plan is way too expensive and not very practical for us unfortunately. Back to plan A.
Wait! It turns out these old Octopuses (they don't make them like they used to) last forever and ours is probably fine.
Plan C: Get the octopus plugged into gas and we're good to go!
Plan C1: in addition to the octopus, lets get a pellet stove for the living room in the house. We can close off the heating to the living room and top floor and the pellet stove will heat those. That way we'll have redundant heating systems and at least one source of heat if the other fails. Perfect!
Slight problem with pilot light staying on in the octopus.
Plan C2: replace the octopus generator and if that doesn't work do a modification by replacing the machine bits that keep the pilot light going.
"Slight" problem there: This octopus is so old that it doesn't have some safety things so the gas company won't even work with the old beast (unless we had some special door made for it, for thousands of dollars). So, scratch that plan.
back to plan A.
Plan D: Let's just get rid of the octopus and put in a pellet stove on the main floor anyway. One guy we talked to said that it should heat the house fine. Super!
Wait. It may give off heat, but the basement is currently at 40 degrees and like 90% humidity. If there is no heat source down there, no amount of heating upstairs will help. The floor will be cold and the cold will travel up. Hmmm.
Plan E: Let's put a big pellet stove in the basement!!
Okay, that's kind of silly and defeats the purpose of having a lovely stove. We don't want to visit it in the basement.
Plan A: Get rid of the octopus in the basement: the really old gravity furnace. Get a really efficient new furnace.
That's it. That's the plan. (We're pretty sure...)