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Heating System

HELP! I am currently looking at purchasing a house, the areas in which we are looking do not seem the have Natural Gas so most of the houses have electric baseboard heat. I don't think that it is a very efficient way to go. I would like some knowledgable advice on the subject of whether to go with a heat pump, a propane system or a radiant floor system sold by Radiantec. Thanks!

Re: Heating System

Radiant is great but is designed not to be shut off, this is because of how long it takes to catch up or heat a space but once it gets to temp it's worth it. Heat pumps are good to but even though they've improved over the years there still only good down to say 30 degrees or so with the exception of the Hallowell Arcadia Heat Pump. When they first came out they were said to be the best on the market but soon had problems but will heat your home at well below the 30 degrees. Follow the link below and do some research on the Arcadia Heat Pumps and the fix. As for Electric, I'd stay away from it. Our last home had oil and that could be a consideration, also do your research on Oil Furnaces as you can get one that's very efficient. When it comes time to buy remember to get a min. of 3 quotes and a load calc.


Re: Heating System

A lot depends on where the home is located. Do you need AC? Does the normal winter low go below 30°F or 0°C? Are you buying an existing home or having one built?

If the normal winter low is below freezing and you don't need AC, then I would not be too quick to rule out electric baseboard. There are no circulating fan motors or pumps, no vent losses, etc. If the house is well insulated, then electric baseboard can be a reasonable option, and fairly inexpensive.

If you do need AC, then either a heat pump or propane is the best, but your local climate is critical here. If the temperature hardly ever goes below 45°F in winter, then I'd go for the heat pump. If it regularly goes below 45°F and especially if it regularly goes below freezing, then propane is the answer.

If you are in a zone that is normally between 30°F and 45°F, you might do well with both systems, but it will be more expensive to install in the first place. USDA zone 8 is where these systems often pay off.

Lastly, if you are buying new, look into the possibility of a geothermal heat pump. The initial cost is high, but the operating costs can be substantially lower than any other system.

Re: Heating System

IT depends on your propane and electric rates. One set-up is to use a heat pump with a propane furnace. The better heat pumps with variable speed air handers can reduce the airflow at colder temps and provide warm air down to around 25F. Below that, it can supplement with heat strips, but still produce some heat down to 0-10F.

You can also look at multizone minisplits. These inverter driven system can produce excellent heating down to I think -10F without heat strips. Mitsubishi is one of the better known brands.

Finally, if you want a premium system, is the Carrier Greenspeed systems. These are very, very efficient, around 26SEER I think and not that far off a geothermal system without the cost and hole digging. They produce excellent heat and can adjust from 40%-100% capacity so you get excellent dehumidification and very even temperatures because they run almost constantly. They are the cats meow.

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