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Buy wall furnace or use existing radiant heat?

mnhockeydude Member Posts: 1
I just purchased a split level duplex that was built in the early 1900s

that I am using as a rental. It was heated by a natural gas hot water

furnace. However, when the water heater went out the previous owner

decided to convert the house to electric baseboard heat. In Northern

Minnesota this can be quite costly. Before purchasing the house I looked

over his utility bills from the previous year and discovered that he

paid $900 just in electric for ONE MONTH (January). 

I am renting the house out with all utilities included and need a more

efficient and cost effective way to heat the house. I considered

re-utilizing the old hot water system by replacing the boiler, however,

the previous owner took out a few of the radiators and I am unsure of

whether or not the system is completely closed still. There is no

ductwork in the home at all, so putting in a natural gas central air

system would be quite costly. I am considering running the natural gas

line to each apartment and installing a direct vent wall furnace in each

apartment and supplement the bedrooms with the existing baseboard heat

integrated with a programmable thermostat. My concern is that there will

not be enough air circulation with a lone standing wall furnace (especially for the bedrooms).

 The immediate problem with re-establishing the new boiler and baseboard radiators

is that the main level radiators were removed and I would need to

purchase new ones. I would also need to install a zoning system for each of the units so that they are controlled separately. The pipes are still there in the floor but I have no idea if I am

missing piping of the closed system. I was thinking I could air

pressurize the system and go through the house until I have everything



of the apartments is approximately 1000 square ft. Would installing a

ceiling fan in each main room where the furnace is, suffice? If I was to go with a single wall furnace for each room, what type

of wall furnace would give me the best return on investment? Any other

suggestions that I may be unaware of?

I obviously want to get the most for my money and am willing to do some of the grunt work to get it done.


  • Jack
    Jack Member Posts: 1,047
    I'd suggest

    A Rinnai Energysaver, possibly 2 in each apt. I'd also look at Tjernlunds Airshare room to room fans. To get away with one unit positioning will be critical.

    My general disclaimer, I represented Rinnai in my business for many years and consult with them still, so bias noted. I do heat my home with them however;)
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    Find some good used radiators

    and put the hot-water system back in service. Your tenants will thank you. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
This discussion has been closed.