Electric Baseboard alternative?? (long)
I am purchasing a new home in Connecticut. The basic stats of the home are as follows. Water heat is an electric water heater fed by an electric on demand tankless water heater. The home heating is supplied by electric baseboard heaters. The home is a 2 story colonial with roughly 1100 sq/ft on each level +600-800 sq ft of basement to be finished soon for a total of about 2800 sq/ft +/-. I would imagine this electric system is very inefficient. Outside of the inefficiency, my 200 amp service I would imagine is really pushing its limits as there are some 18, 20amp breakers for the baseboard heaters alone. If I add a subpanel for my basement remodel and more electric baseboards I would imagine I may have some issues. I am looking for the right balance between operational costs, equipment costs and difficulty of installation/retrofitting. I am a general contractor and with some help from subs where necessary I will be doing the majority of the installation myself.
As of now I have no fuel source other than electricity in the house. I plan on adding a LP cooking range and will need to have a tank installed regardless. So my two options for fuel will be electric or LP if possible (whether the LP tank is buried or above ground will be decided based on whether I use LP for just cooking or cooking/heating.) I prefer to NOT have to tear open a lot of walls in the home to do duct work. Based on the open access in the basement and attic I am leaning towards installing hydronic air handlers in both the basement and attic to9 feed the first and second floors respectively. My understanding is that these systems can be quite efficient, easy to retrofit and leave me with the option of adding air conditioning in the future. This leaves me with the big question. What heat source do I use for the hot water to power these things as well as my domestic potable hot water? Are the savings associated with installing a LP boiler / water heater and underground tank sufficient enough to make the investment? Or, are there high efficient electric water heaters that would be close to the efficiency of LP for this application?
Any suggestions would be helpful to point me in the right direction. If my solution is way off base, what other options do I have?
Electric is more efficient then LP.
The determining factor is, what rates do your pay for your electric and LP.
Look into mini-split heatpumps; keep the baseboards for backup.
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I hadn't thought of mini splits. Are they efficient enough and cost effective in a home with 9 rooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms and several large hallways? I always thought of them as cumbersome and expensive. Am I wrong? Also, would I really need to keep the electric baseboards as supplemental heat? I really would prefer to get rid of most of them for aesthetic reasons.
Originally Posted by amd
Put in the air handlers like you planned.
Then you can get rid of the baseboard.
Find out what LP sells for currently, and post your electric rate, all taxes and delivery fee's included.
I live in Vermont. I used to own a 2 story 1400 sqft townhome. The towhome originally had all electric baseboards but our electric rates are very high here. The previous owner had installed a monitor heater. I was very very hesistant about it but worked great for the entire time I lived in that place (5 years). Mine was Kerosene but you can get LP and NG versions. They work very very well. I only used the electric baseboard as backup when it was colder than 0 degrees (gets down to -20 for at least a few days each year). These heaters are very popular here. My bills were very reasonable the entire time I had one.
Natrually it won't heat as even as a ducted system but you don't have any duct loses either. Not a problem for me since I like my bedrooms colder. Even when -20 outside, and no electric heat, the upstairs never got below 65 degrees while downstairs was 72.
Might be an option if you don't care about AC or have high electric rates:
LP boiler would be a great choice
I would just be concerned about running piping into an attic to feed an air handler.
Since your gonna need to feed piping (probably PEX tubing ) up to the 2nd floor., I would look into running hydronic baseboard instead for the second floor.
What's the concern with running copper or pex to the attic air handler? Seems it would be less work than installing baseboards in all of the 2nd floor. Is there a concern about having water lines in the cold attic?
A catalytic wood stove would heat your home plenty while being clean and giving long burn cycles. Especially on those cold CT winter nights when comfort with electric is ho hum.
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