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Gas or electric? ( for home addition) Can electric be economical

Roland_13 Member Posts: 18
Hi Joe,
I'm just curious as I'm contemplating renovating my garage as a living space(Man Cave), how are you doing the isulation? Also what is your projected heat loss for this space? Thanks, Roland


  • Joe Fournier
    Joe Fournier Member Posts: 1
    Heating options

    In the process of a home addition the question arose as to whether it woud be more ecomical to heat the addition with the current gas fired forced air furnace or provide electric or electric/hydronic. The addition would require up sizing the furnace and possible long duct runs.
    Do affordable electric heating units exist??

    Thanks, Joe
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Unless you live

    where there's a lot of inexpensive hydro-electric power, forget using electricity. Its cost per BTU is considerably higher than other fuels.

    If you'd have to replace the existing furnace, consider using a hot-water duct coil ("hydro-air") for the main house and straight hydronic for the addition to avoid those long, inefficient duct runs. Or go full hydronic and use the ducts for A/C only, for maximum comfort and efficiency.

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  • BC_9
    BC_9 Member Posts: 2
    Not so much these days

    Very different by region as Steamhead said, but the difference is generally a lot less these days. Here, with oil at $4/gal, and electric at $0.12/kWh it's basically a wash. Throw maintenance into the equation and straight electric comes out ahead. Natural gas is cheaper than both but has limited availability. Propane is a little better than oil but going up.

    Going hydro-air or hydronic is a great suggestion since you can switch between fuels relatively easily down the road if prices change (as I'm sure they will).
  • Dale
    Dale Member Posts: 1,317
    do both

    I it were me I would do both, I would first do an accurate heat loss/gain on your current house, I will bet your furnace is already over sized, I would make the addition as energy efficient as possible and figure the heat loss/gain then I would run ducts to the addition. I would also put in some good quality elect baseboard in the addition on their own (each room) stats and I would put shut off dampers on the furnace duct runs so I could isolate if I chose. The Idea is to get what you can out of the furnace which you can get or go to 94% efficient on the gas side and DC motors on the elect. side. The electric baseboard can be set to below the furnace capability and you have nice control. If an older person needs to live in the addition the temp there can be kept higher with the gas furnace doing most of the work. If you live in a high AC load area putting in a minisplit in the addition. Nothing you do won't work if you really insulate the addition.
  • troy_8
    troy_8 Member Posts: 109
    elect. radiant

    I beg to differ. In many parts of the country-Electric is becoming very affordable. Electric radiant that is. It is cheaper and easier to install. It may be more per btu than some other fuel options but ask anybody who has been installing high efficient boilers and you must facter in reliability and maintenance cost. For an addition electric radiant can save a lot of dollars and cents. Yes I do sell it. But my history is hydronics.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688

    if you bury it in the floor, and it quits, how do you fix it without tearing up the floor?


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  • troy_8
    troy_8 Member Posts: 109
    Servicing electric radiant

    Great question. One I've heard from every customer that I ever proposed installing mile of tubes in their floor. Just like a hydronic system that is buried in the floor- if it breaks you must fix it. If it is in the floor you must access it. Ours and I assume other electric systems can be spliced at the break point. The difference with hydronics is don't flood the house. Electric systems won't freeze if the power goes out. Typically the electric systems are directly under the finish flooring not buried in the subfloor.
  • Ted_5
    Ted_5 Member Posts: 272
    True, but!

    How do you find a break in an electric loop? I have talk to a number of people who have had or do have electric radiant and they all have some loops that are not working. I think PEX tube do to natural failures is nonexistent compared to electric radiant.

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