Heating system for new house

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Joey Wahoo, Sep 20, 2004.

  1. Joey Wahoo

    Joey Wahoo Well-Known Member

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    We're building a new house and must decide what kind of heating system to put in. I've had bad experiences with heat pumps (not being able to keep the house warm enough) and we're leaning toward going with a propane gas system.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?

    thanks
     
  2. mysticokra

    mysticokra Well-Known Member

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    Given how often the electricity fails out here, we would freeze without propane and wood as backups.

    Cost per unit of heat is less on propane, too.
     

  3. painterswife

    painterswife Sock puppet reinstated Supporter

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    Propane heated radiant floor. There is nothing better than toasty floors on morning feet. We did all our floors of stained cement. Easy to clean, nice to look at and cool in summer, warm in winter.


    Jill
     
  4. Kris in MI

    Kris in MI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We went with the propane heated radiant floor heat too. Except ours is in the tubing that 'hangs' approx. 1" below your plywood subfloors in the joist bays. Our floor joists are actually open span trusses. Special order, but so much easier to work with for heating, plumbing, electrical, etc.

    We currently use a propane fueled boiler to heat the water for the floor heat and the domestic hot water (heat is closed system--boiler has separate chambers for the domestic water and the heating water). We designed the system to be able to hook it up to an outdoor wood fired boiler in the future.

    We love our heat. One thing we noticed though, is that we went overboard with the insulation in the house--it stays so toasty that we don't need the water temp to even be your normal 120 to 140 degrees in the water heater.
     
  5. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

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    WhisperGen
    When we build our house, off the grid, this is what we are hoping to install for both backup power and heat (to circulate water for radiant floors) There are a few dealers now in the USA.
     
  6. painterswife

    painterswife Sock puppet reinstated Supporter

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    That looks very intersesting! We are about to sell and build again.
    Right now our floor and hot water is heated with and on demand propane heater. This looks like the next step up.

    Jill
     
  7. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    We would have loved to have the the radiant floor heat, but our budget just wouldn't cover the expense. So, we went with propane radiant wall heaters by Rinnai (99% efficient) and a woodburning stove. One large Rinnai heater (cost is about $375 with tax) can heat our entire workshop (1600 sq ft) to a cozy temp and we put one large one in the living room of the house and a small one in the bath. Around here, we lose electric power all the time and during the ice storm in 2000, lots of people with central air and heat nearly froze to death. Rinnai is the only brand that I would recommend. We covered ours with a 5 year extended warranty for $5 and we have not had any problems with them at all. Around here, the plumbers and gas people say that Rinnai is the only brand they never gets calls to fix.
     
  8. featherbottom

    featherbottom Well-Known Member

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  9. Daddyof4

    Daddyof4 Well-Known Member

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    Stay away from heat pumps. They may be adequate in warm climates but even as far south as north Georgia where I live, they just don't cut it. If the lows outside are in the fifties, then sure they work okay and are efficient, but we find that when it gets into the forties and especially into the thirties, the emergency heat cuts on way too much. We've had repairmen out several times and they all tell me our heat pump is fine but heat pumps are not designed to cool more than 15 degrees below outside temps and I am not sure how well they heat. All I know is before we got our wood stove, our heat bill was ridiculous. The wood stove is great and when we had the ice storms we get and the power is knocked out, we cooked on the wood stove and camped out in the living room.

    Our pump is a Rheam so above all, stay away from that brand of anything.
     
  10. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    We have heat pumps all over Michigan and people seem to love them.

    mikell
     
  11. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Those would have to be earth heat pumps, suck/ circulate air or water from below the frost line? A simple cheaper outdoor air heat pump does not work in climates up here - that I am aware of?

    --->Paul
     
  12. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    We have natural gas not propane. There are several older discussions on this board about vented vs. non-vented wall units or fireplace inserts. Here's my 2 cents...

    Neither of our units is our main source of heat. The one in my office (10K BTU)sees a lot of use but the fireplace insert (30K BTU) on the third floor is used much less often. Neither are vented. I have had no problems with moisture because of the fact that A) we often have windows cracked anyhow cause we are freaks for circulated air B) this is an old house and is not hermetically sealed C) we don't use them on high as our only source of heat unless electric is out; we have forced air.

    If I were to use it constantly in cold weather as a main source of heat I would get a unit that is vented. There are some good comments from other posters on those previous threads...maybe they will surface here and talk more about them.
     
  13. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    iff average temp in the winter is around 15 degrees they work fine with elec. emergency backup
     
  14. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    Dbthomas,


    It is hard to say exactly how much just the heaters use----it is very little. We have a 325 gallon propane tank for the workshop and we have a 500 gallon tank for the house. We filled both up last November and as soon as we got the roof on the house last December, we got the heater hooked up. The tank for the shop also handles our travel trailer that we have been living in until this last June. We kept the heater going in the house during the day when we were working even though we didn't have insulation in for quite a while. We still don't have the floor insulated yet. We kept the heat on in the shop all the time. In the house, we also have a gas hot water heater and a gas dryer. In the trailer, we had gas heat and ran the fridge on gas as well as the hot water heater there.

    So, all that said, we just had both tanks topped off for winter coming. Took 100 gallons for both and that is pretty much how much we used in 10 months. The winter before, we used a lot of propane and when we had the heater replaced in the trailer in November, we discovered it had a bad leak, so I can't even give you a good idea from the winter before. Ours are the unvented, infrared model REH-300T-P. We live in Arkansas around Hot Springs. We are zone 7.

    Hope this helps.
     
  15. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    I guess if we were at home all of the time and did not want whole house air conditioning and didn't mind warmer night time temps, we would have gone with radiant in-floor heating.

    But since we:
    (1)spend 11 to 12 hours per day away from home, and
    (2) like cooler temps while we sleep
    we went with forced air.

    With forced air, we can save money by turning the heat down at night and during the day while we are away to work. Forced air will then quickly warm up the house when we get up in the morning or return in the evening from work. With in-floor radiant heating, you don't fuss with the thermostat. The house remains the same temp day and night.

    Also, the duct work for the forced air heating system can also be used for the air conditioning system. With in-floor heating, seperate duct work has to be installed for whole house AC.
     
  16. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

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    We heat primarily with wood with a propane back up. We do have an electric blanket for our bed which was purchased last year which I LOVE. We have heated primarily with wood for about 25 years....

    We do not have an air conditioning system. When the heat pump/AC went out on this house about six years ago we choose not to replace it because we already had the wood heater then.

    When we built a NEW house in 1983 (after our double wide burned from an ELECTRICAL short) we built in a tiled area for the wood heater and had one wall electric heater and that was it...

    We moved to a different house in 1987 or 88 and still heat with wood.
     
  17. farmerscotty

    farmerscotty Well-Known Member

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    check out www.outsidewoodheater.com


    Many people have a propane system and use something like this for primary heat.

    Scott
     
  18. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    You might want to do some serious study of the 'Peak Oil' issue before making any decisions.

    Kathleen in Oregon
     
  19. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    i agree with cabin fever i also am instaling a hot air system lp gas fired and latter iff i need to ill add the ac part