What is the best way to supplement my home heating? [Archive] - Team Camaro Tech

: What is the best way to supplement my home heating?

Apr 6th, 05, 10:34 PM
The way oil prices are going I might need an extra way to heat my house besides oil heat.
I have a oil burner in my cellar and I don't have a fireplace at all. I'm thinking maybe electric heater which isn't cheap to run but might be alot cheaper than oil soon. I also thought about coal or pellets but I only have the one chimney for burner.

My house is a 1-1/2 story cape cod. When my friends and I replaced the siding 15 years ago I blew insulation into the walls and put 1-1/2" foam panels all the way around with Tyvek tape on the seams and R25 in the attic. All new Andersen dp windows and Peachtree doors. Besides the floors I think my house is as insulated as it can get.

I just replaced my oil tank in January and everything else with it from the fill pipes to the filter and line. Also had my burner serviced. I used over 600 gals this past winter which I'm told is not bad (we had a cold winter) but I'm accustomed to paying $1 to $1.35 a gallon if it cost $2 or more. That is a huge hurting. Especially when you pay ahead like I do to hopefully get the lower price of the winter.

Something besides a wood stove. I have a bad back so that's not going to work. I'm considering a Heatpump but don't know much about them and what's the initial cost and pros and cons?


Apr 6th, 05, 11:00 PM
Ram, I know you mentioned about not a woodstove and not a pellet stove, but if you located a pellet freestanding stove in a central location near the stairs, with a side wall flue, that would be pretty effcient and easy to install, just out the wall and up the side of the house.. Pellets store better then wood and burn cleaner. Heat pumps also work pretty well, but use electricity, which, as you know can be expensive. as well. (remember it usually takes oil to make electricty for the utility company) I would think a heat pump would be more expensive to install then a pellet stove, which you can probably install yourself. The heatpump install might be a little tougher, you would have to intersect your existing ductwork, which limits you instalation locations. You alreadry invested into upgrading your oil burning system, with the pellet stove you will now have a choice with two...hope this helps...good luck...Mike

Apr 7th, 05, 01:50 AM
Ok Heatpump is all gonna depend on if you have Ductwork in the house now or not , If you have Hot water type heat os it worth the $10k oe more they are gonna charge you to run a duct system ?

Also depending on the average winter temps in your area with a Heatpump you may be running on your backup system more then the heatpump thus NOT saving you any money at all.

Their are alot of Pro's and Cons to heat pumps such as how well your whole house is insulated , Heat loss and gain within the home triple pane windows , things like that .

Personally i wouldnt install a heatpump in a dog house but your local electric co. will love you for it

Toby Keen
Apr 7th, 05, 02:47 AM
I couldn't recomend a heat pump in a cold climate. They are designed to extract heat from the outside air and there isn't any heat in air below 32 degrees F. At 32 degrees, a heat pump goes to an all electric back-up.

What's the price of propane in your area? You would have to replace the burner to use it so that will enter into the equasion.

Apr 7th, 05, 10:18 AM
Toby time to update on heatpumps :) the old outside air exchange heat pumps dont belong in cold climate for sure, but ground source heat pumps work great. There are 2 completely different heat pump systems.
I heat my home here in Minn. and my 3 car garage with a heatpump that runs off my well water. If you dont have well water, coils like big slinkys can be ditched into your yard for a recirculating system to the heatpump. The modern pumps also have boiler systems for hot water heat applications.
If you have a small yard in town then a heat pump wont work.
These ground source heatpumps can cut down heat bills alot and pay for their higher cost in about 5 years with savings.
Off my soapbox now ;)

Apr 7th, 05, 02:35 PM
My vote is for a pellet stove. Parents put one in their house and only burned one tank of oil as to the usual three.

Big money up front but will save alot in long run.

Apr 7th, 05, 04:02 PM
Have you considered a gas fireplace? They can be vented through a wall and I think they even make a ventless model. You'll have to check out the price of LP or LPG whichever you decide to use. They add class to your living space instead of taking up space in your basement. Best of all you don't have to fill it or empty ashes. The initial cost isn't that bad either.

Apr 7th, 05, 05:57 PM
I don't know a thing about oil burners, but if there is any waste heat going out the chimney, I'd look for a device to reclaim that lost heat.

Apr 7th, 05, 08:52 PM
Hey guys some good info here. Thought I should add this. Besides the burner heating water for baseboard heat it also heats my hot water for the house. I do have well water. I don't have a town house.

This house use to be a coal burner way before I owned it. So there is existing galv duct work although I ran some TV cable through some of it and removed one of the vent doors and covered with dry wall but I guess that is a quick fix.

I just found out about a reserve tank with a coil in it to keep more hot water hot so the burner doesn't have to run as much. Any of you heard of it and where I can get more info on it? My guess is this would use alot more electric though.

Zuma, Yeh, I know about oil to make most elec and I'm sure we will all see the increase in our bill soon. I'm going to check into pellets alot more.

Click, Can you give me an idea of the cost of the ground source heatpump?

Doug, Do you have any idea what your parents paid for the pellet setup?

12run, I thought about gas but last I heard of them they were more of a looks thing. Meaning they don't give off enough heat compared to other setups. Is that still right or are they alot better now?

David, I'll do that.

Keep the ideas coming. Thanks

Apr 7th, 05, 10:58 PM
Ground water heat pump will run around $5000 give or take depending on size of the unit. It also does your air conditioning too as well as can provide a reserve source for hot water as well. Call someone that handles FHP Florida Heat Pumps , and talk to them about prices there. The montly cost to run these is MUCH lower than any gas or elec. system. Thats where the savings is to recoup the up front higher cost.

Toby Keen
Apr 8th, 05, 02:48 AM

You're right. I'm familiar with the water to air heat pumps, or water source or geo-thurmal units. I was just trying to keep his costs down a little. By the way, you would be amazed at how much less expensive it is to heat a house in Tennessee than it is in Michigan, where I moved from.

Apr 8th, 05, 05:38 AM
{quote}12run, I thought about gas but last I heard of them they were more of a looks thing. Meaning they don't give off enough heat compared to other setups. Is that still right or are they alot better now? {quote}

We have a direct vent gas fireplace in our bedroom. It's a slick unit. Vent runs straight out the wall, intake from there too. Outside hat is about a foot square. It has electronic ignition, could be used with a thermostat.

This thing makes a lot of heat. It's in a room that's 16 by 25 with a 16' cieling, and it will raise the temp from 68 to 80 in a couple hours.

A few houses ago, we had a cape with a woodstove at the bottom of the stairs. A good load would heat the house, including the upstairs br's, all night, and have enuf embers left in the morning to refire. This was a soapstone stove, burning logs, and without a catylitic converter. It had a simple thermostat to control the input air and slow the burn.

Apr 8th, 05, 09:15 PM
As silly as this sounds, here in the corn-growing Midwest, when the price of corn is at a certain $/bushel or lower, you can afford to burn clean shelled corn in a Pellet Stove cheaper then wood in a Wood Stove or wood pellets in the Pellet Stove!

I think there is a site somewhere that gives the break even point for fuel costs of the different fuels if you want to look on the web.

I have been into it before in the past.. Might try "corn stove" or "alternative heating fuel stoves"???

And even a used motor oil stove may work for you but I figure it would stink some.. OK in a garage but not a house......


Apr 9th, 05, 06:00 AM
Around $3600 installed. Cool thing is you can touch it and not get burnt, Vents right out the wall with a "hat" to keep birds out of the flu.The pipe was the kicker,triple wall stainless is outragiously priced.

Apr 9th, 05, 09:06 AM
How close are you to any coal mines or dealers? Several people I know put in pellet stoves and got rid of them because of the price of the wood pellets. Since the mines are close around here we use lump coal in the house and stoker coal in the garage. Being a disabled coal miner I get it free but it sells for around $40/ton. Just make sure you get a good stove, not Vermont Castings for sure, like a Harmon with the blower. I guess I am partial to coal as I worked 25+ years in the mining end of it.

Apr 9th, 05, 09:26 AM
He, He!!

An old antique Locke Stove Company "Warm Morning" coal stove with the "alligator" tiles in it that were made by AP Green refractories Company in Mexico, MO years ago!

I had to catalog all of Locke Stoves tile drawings once way back when I worked for AP Greens years ago.

Locke Stove Co., KCMO, is out of business, but their old coal stoves are dandies, imho if all the tile and grates are still good...

My Buddy in highschool had two or three of them in their old farm house. Only problem was that they would just barely hold a fire all night banked good and sometimes they would wake up and the water can on top of the stove in the kitchen would have ice on it!!

Their house only had a hand pump and water cistern and a path!! Plus a wood and coal pile.. I helped him pack drinking water from the windmill out across the road by the barn to the kitchen a couple of times...


Apr 9th, 05, 09:46 AM
When i lived in Pa I went thru this. Looked into pellet stoves but the pellets can get expensive and your still using electric for the fan and pellet feeder. I went with a vented propane insert.It worked good but propane is not exactly cheap either.In the dead of winter months i would spend $300 a month on propane alone.Plus the blower fan runs all the time(electric$$). I also supplemented with electric heat to keep the back rooms warm.The electric was a couple hundred a month too.OUCH! I ended up using a wood stove. in the basement.Wood was free although labor intensive to cut/stack/load. But i could get the basement 90 degrees and keep the upstairs 70 no problem. I had ducts running through the house off the stove with a blower. Another option is a monitor (sp?) stove that runs off kerosene.Supposed to be no smell. Now in the south my heating costs are less than $100 a month in the winter(natural gas furnace) but my electric bill is about $150 may thru oct running the a/c. I want to move back north but the heating cost and real estate market make it tough.

Apr 10th, 05, 01:05 AM
Doug, $3,600.00 doesn't sound too bad if it really benefits you. It sounds pretty good. I'll check into that Monday. I'm also going to look into the monitor more to. Any other ideas? Maybe by October I'll have something figured out. :) Thanks guys.

Apr 10th, 05, 08:02 AM

http://www.alsheating.com/2400.htm :(
Check the Toyo link