My house is very old, extremely big and lacks conventional ductwork.
With a wide range of severe weather, heating is essential and cooling is helpful.
We manage temperature control with an assortment of different equipment. Upstairs, where the bedrooms are located, we have a gas heater that is more than 50 years old. The heater receives absolutely no maintenance, handles the demands of the entire second story and has never required a repair. Rather than a thermostat, there is a dial that is part of the burner assembly that allows us to adjust operation from low to high. In the summer, we rely on window air conditioners to keep the bedrooms cool. Although I am not happy about carrying the cooling units up and down the attic stairs every spring and fall, they are fairly compact and do a decent job of providing comfort. Each family member is able to customize the temperature of their bedroom to their personal preference. The window air conditioners were a much smaller investment than any type of centralized cooling and didn’t cost all that much to operate. In our living room, we have a gas fireplace. The fireplace is a focal point of the room and has the appearance of a wood-burning fire. Instead of chopping and hauling wood, we enjoy adjustment by way of a cordless remote. The tap of a button starts up the heater, raises or lowers room temperature and adjusts fan speed. Despite winter temperatures down to twenty below zero, the gas fireplace is able to keep the living room nice and warm. The kitchen has always been a challenge to heat and cool. We’ve tried a pellet stove and a ventless natural gas heater, but weren’t happy with either option. Just over a year ago, I invested into a ductless heat pump that runs on electricity and offers both heating and cooling capacity.