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Old 03-11-11, 02:57 AM   #1
BrianAbington
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Default Thoughts on heating

As my wife and I start to plan a house I was considering some options for heating. With rising energy costs I had an idea and was wondering what you guys thought.

Our apartment currently has electronic base board heat. It can easily make our rooms to warm, and our utility bills are not that bad.

Something I was thinking of is if natural gas and electric prices trade places from year to year as which one will be more expensive, why not install base board heat and a forced air NG furnace so you can use which ever is most cost effective that year.

Of course this would be supplementing what ever solar heating I incorporate.

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Old 03-11-11, 04:43 AM   #2
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Welcome to ER, Brian

One of the upsides of the hybrid heating system you propose is that the NG system could keep the house at a minimal temperature, while the electric baseboards would kick in only in those rooms and only when extra heat is needed.

But since you are still in the planning phase, you can take into account more options. For example, one of the most efficient ways of heating (when passive solar isn't enough) is to use hydronic floor heating with a heat accumulator. The heat accumulator would be charged by solar panels and a heat pump. AC_Hacker has an excellent thread which shows how easy and cheap it is to make your own ground source heat pump.
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Old 03-11-11, 06:05 AM   #3
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You might want to use an air source heat pump if you are going to have NG also. A ground source unit could be pretty expensive to install and an air source unit will still give you decent efficiency. It's efficiency would actually be plain great when it's a little warmer. Imagine you have a 97% efficient gas furnace, but under the right conditions an ASHP would be more than 100% efficient.
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Old 03-11-11, 06:32 AM   #4
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In Buffalo at least, natural gas is currently a third the price of electricity. From a cost perspective, it's pretty clear that the right approach is to go with a furnace alone. Here, you'd be crazy to consider electric resistive heating.

If electric and gas were equally priced, with 30kWh costing the same as 1 Therm, I'd go with gas for environmental reasons. A bean counter would go for electric alone, to avoid having to spend thousands on having a furnace installed.

With your mild weather and expensive gas, a heat pump would be a great choice. It does the same job as an electric resistive heater, on half as much electricity. It also provides A/C functionality.
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Old 03-11-11, 11:26 AM   #5
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thanks for the input guys.

This isn't my first time here...I can't remember my old login because it has been along time since I last logged in.

I keep hearing about people in New England complaining about the cost of heating oil...heck convert to a NG furnace and it will pay for it self in savings over just one winter.

Seems like NG, heat pump, and radiant water system is the way to go.

I know its a good bit of money up front but it seems like all these things combined with DIY solar is the way to go to have option.
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Old 03-13-11, 12:32 PM   #6
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My furnace is LP which is very expensive, so I heat with wood...is that an option for you, is wood considered eco here?
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Old 03-13-11, 04:39 PM   #7
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I have an air source HP with electric furnace back up and a woodstove. I run the woodstove as much as is convenient and always when it gets so cold outside the electric furnace will be kicking on. Soon I hope to get solar hotwater heating going and would like to run a few loops of pex for radiant heating under the bedroom floors at night.

I hate your gas company so I wouldn't do it here but if you are already going to have gas I'd look for an air source heat pump with gas furnace backup.
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Old 03-13-11, 05:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianAbington View Post
thanks for the input guys.

This isn't my first time here...I can't remember my old login because it has been along time since I last logged in.

I keep hearing about people in New England complaining about the cost of heating oil...heck convert to a NG furnace and it will pay for it self in savings over just one winter.

Seems like NG, heat pump, and radiant water system is the way to go.

I know its a good bit of money up front but it seems like all these things combined with DIY solar is the way to go to have option.
My old HS Tarm boiler will take a gas burner. Plug-n-play.. (Or, I could toss in some wood or coal).


But, there is a problem.. No gas pipes on my street!!
My daughter has gas heat and it's not bad at all. I kinda like it.

We are using a Sanyo mini-split (Ductless) ASHP ($2,500) unit for most of our heating.(And all of our cooling).
The cost is peanuts compared to oil.. Even at the old prices.

Now it's heading for $4/gallon. Humm, $2,500 / $4 = 625 gallons..
That's only a few visits from the oil truck..

ASHPs pay for themselfs pretty fast these Gadhafi days..
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Old 09-07-11, 01:00 AM   #9
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I must apologize that I have not spent the time reading all the post on here as I'm so busy as well as on most extra little minutes of free time.
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Old 10-05-11, 02:29 PM   #10
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Default Radiant Heat

Radiant Heat seems like the way to go because I don't see water prices changing much and it is a very efficient system. Electric and gas prices vary widely around the nation so you have to consider local prices when choosing one. If nothing else get the opinion of local contractors and some free estimates and some local opinions. Also have you ever consulted a contractor on Angie's List for something like this?


Last edited by TileDude; 11-14-11 at 01:15 PM..
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