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How to heat in Madison WI

Hi all,

New to all this so could use some guidance. Renovating and adding a second story to a 750 sq ft home in Madison WI.

Natural gas furnace is needs to be replaced and duct work is all messed up, so we are thinking about getting off gas altogether and changing over to a hydronic system with electric HWH as we may add PV next year.

Concerned about the cost, potential problems with leaks, and whether it will be able to get us toasty warm on the real cold days in WIsconsin winter.

Could we just do baseboard radiators on the first floor and have heat vents and cold air returns to/from each room on the 2nd floors?

Lots of other possibilities for heating the home we're looking at too but hydronic is currently the leader so wondering about best design, potential pitfalls, and better alternatives for cost of install and efficiency over time.

Thanks for any thoughts.

Comments

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,552
    Sure, plenty of hydronic heat in Wisconsin. Also many savy hydronic contractors, it gets cold up there!

    You will want to do a room by room heat load calculation. It may be worth spending g money to have this, and a proper design done.

    You will need a heat emitter in most of the rooms, the downstairs will not heat the upstairs very well.

    Plus, having some zones will give you better control of comfort and fuel costs.

    Spend some time and $$ assuring the the home is well insulated and air sealed, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

    Electric is an option, perhaps you have access to off peak rates, if so a buffer tank could be part of the plan.

    Offsetting with PV is another good concept, there are many solar PV installations in Wisconsin.

    MREA is a good source for data and ideas. Most of the members have solar and or RE homes, and years of actual first hand experience.

    www.midwestrenew.org
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,338
    Too bad you can't tap into all the hot air coming from the state capitol >:)>:)>:)

    (couldn't resist)
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    ZmanRobG
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,452


    Natural gas furnace is needs to be replaced and duct work is all messed up, so we are thinking about getting off gas altogether and changing over to a hydronic system with electric HWH as we may add PV next year.

    Changing to a hydronic system is a fine idea.

    Eliminating natural gas is not.

    I would be very surprised if the price for electricity is less than 2X the cost of natural gas. If so, it would be a huge mistake on your part to switch from gas.

    Provide the electric rate per KWH (using the number at the bottom of the bill and dividing by the KWH).

    Provide the natural gas rate per therm (similar manner..........bottom number divided by the number of therms used).

    We can tell in a minute whether it's advisable or not.
    I agree. Check out his calculator from the DOE
    www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/heatcalc.xls
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • bio_guy
    bio_guy Member Posts: 69
    Versahydro solar
  • Spence
    Spence Member Posts: 316
    Follow Hot Rod's advice before doing anything; insulate and weatherseal, so you can heat your second floor with a hair dryer.
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