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Old 02-14-14, 08:40 AM   #1
cobra2411
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Default Hello from PA

Just wanted to say a quick hello.

I recently bought a fixer-upper outside Parksburg Pa on a little over 2 acres. Sure, it's not the 25+ acres I hope to have one day, but it is a nice step up from 1/2 an acre.

Anyway, my main reason for coming here is ideas on how to heat the house efficiently. The insulation has already been improved, but at around 2k sf in these frigid temps it's taking 5 gal/day and that's only set at 60. I think the thermostat is off because it feels warmer than 60...

Being an HVAC contractor my first thought was propane with a heat pump, which I still may do, but now I'm looking at wood furnaces. So the new plan is to run an inexpensive wood furnace with separate ducting to heat the house with the oil furnace as a backup. Basically I'm going to set the thermostat at a minimum temp and if the wood furnace can't keep up the oil furnace will come on.

I'm also looking at solar collectors with a storage tank and in wall radiant panels. I figure I could add a hot water loop to the wood furnace to help augment that system. In the end a wood boiler will probably be better, but I'm hesitant do to the fact that I've been spoiled by cheap NG furnaces... Also, I have a lot to do so budget is always an issue. I'm looking at a DAKA 521 right now and with the added ductwork and chimney it's still going to be a lot cheaper than doing the full propane/heat pump conversion which will free up money for other improvements...

I guess that's it for now.

David

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Old 02-14-14, 08:54 AM   #2
Daox
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Welcome to the site David!

When you say the insulation has been upgraded, what do you mean? Have you gone through the house and done air sealing?

Something seems quite wrong. 5 gallons a day seems a LOT of heating, even for 2000 square feet. That is 700,000 btu per day. Your location is around 1100 heating degree days.

To compare, my average for this January was 430,000 btu per day. My house is 1600 sq/ft. That was with 1750 heating degree days. I have no insulation in my upstairs walls at all (downstairs is a mix of good and traditional insulation methods), and my house is fairly leaky air wise. I do have a ~93% efficient furnace. I keep the temp at 50F when I'm gone and 70F when I am at home. So, my average temp probably is a little lower than yours, but my ambient temp is a fair amount lower than yours.
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Old 02-14-14, 09:14 AM   #3
cobra2411
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Walls are supposed to be R19 and the ceiling R30, but I haven't confirmed. I do have some air leaks and I've been trying to get them under control. This weather is killing me... Every time I get caught up with work and have time to go to the house it's snowing and I fall behind on work... I live an hour away.

There are some stupid things, like an open shelf in the wall that's the stairwell to the basement, so the insulation on the floor is useless. There was a wood stove in the basement that's been removed leaving an open hole in the wall which I just sealed temporarily and the walkout basement doors had a 1" gap under them. Also the windows aren't sealed either...

The unit hasn't been serviced since installed 12 years ago and when I got there the strainer was plugged solid. I replaced the nozzle and strainer but have yet to get a combustion analyzer on it. I also have to add a filter in the line from the tank... So there may be improvements to be had in the efficiency, but it's listed as an 80% furnace. Nozzle a 0.50 running at 150psi (It's a Beckett AFII 85 burner).

The ductwork is horrible and the house heats very unevenly, so the unit has to run much longer to warm it up. From when I fixed the heater I didn't check back on it for 9 days. We had a power outage for 2 days, so there was 7 days running with two days of having to heat the house back up. Going by the gauge I used about 35 gallons. So not the best for anything but a ballpark estimate and as I said I think the thermostat is off. It's one of the old round mercury switch types. When set to 60f it feels much warmer.

Oh, and I should also mention this was at a time when the weather here had highs in the mid 20's, lows in the single digits... Polar vortex and all... Based on my back of the napkin calculations for 5 gal/day at 80% efficient I'm at 22-23k btu/hr heat loss... Not bad considering how cold it was outside.

Last edited by cobra2411; 02-14-14 at 09:22 AM..
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Old 08-18-14, 11:10 PM   #4
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Hi & welcome !
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Old 10-22-14, 10:48 AM   #5
dion90
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Hi And Nice too meet you..

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