Two questions I hope someone can help me with...
Just bought a three family home-2nd and 3rd floor apartments appear to have had vent-free wall mount units at one time (have been vacant for awhile)-Are these units effective, safe, and effecient means of heating these days or should I be considering something else altogether?
I will be looking for a HVAC professional-what measures should I use, questions should I ask, etc. to make sure I find a competent professional company/individual?
A lot of depends on what your trying to achieve on the units, if these are multi bedroom apts then they may not work as well as some of the other options.
First thing to do would be to check your yellow pages or friends for a decent HVAC Contractor to come inspect the units and ensure that they are in fact safe to operate since they have been vacant for a while, if the units are good to go then its a personal call esp if your paying the utilities.
If you decide to go with new, then make sure they do a load calculation to determine what each unit needs, should not be that far off for each unit, get at least a couple of est. for total cost for Install and Removal, Check Ref., Licenses and BBB for pospective Installers, if your happy with their work find out about a service contract to maintain the units in the future, that should be in the works wether its new or old units just to be on the safe side.
Yrs ago I lived in a house that was converted to apts that had elec base board, My utility bill was not bad till they discovered that 2 of my units were connected to the guys downstairs Hmmmmm wonder why his elec bill was so high.
Gas is my personal choice for heating, it's clean & effective.
The heaters you describe need to be inspected & tested by a lic profesiional.
For some years now, all non vented heaters (I recall the max btu @ 35,000) are required to have ODS - Oxygen Depletion Sensors to prevent a tragedy. All other units are required to be professionally vented and combustion air provided.
My concern is always what happens when the sensor fails? Go with direct vent units. I wouldn't risk someones life with a vent free unit.
I live in CT. and I am a licensed contractor. Send me an E-mail, I would be happy to explore options.