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Best heat source for me ?

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RobinMurray
RobinMurray Member Posts: 1
edited October 2018 in THE MAIN WALL
Im in southern Canada, 2000 ft house heated with electric baseboards. Due to the design of the house it will be best to use two smaller systems, one at each end with smaller ducting, rather than one large system and big ducts. No natural gas out here. I was thinking two propane furnaces or two electric water heaters and two hydro furnaces..
What are my cheaper options?

Comments

  • TomS
    TomS Member Posts: 62
    edited October 2018
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    First of all, I would forget the idea of using two electric water heaters to heat the house - this will not save you a penny. The kwhr to heat the house would be the same or greater using the water heaters due to losses. I think that you should contact a heating professional to access your situation. For example if you already have wires run to all your electric baseboards a heating professional may be able to install PEX tubing following the same route and only use one boiler instead of two.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    Why focus on cheap? You'll end up uncomfortable and waste energy.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • TomS
    TomS Member Posts: 62
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    In my above post I said it will not save you a penny - I should have said a nickel. I forgot that you do not have pennies anymore in Canada. :)
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,860
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    > @TomS said:
    > In my above post I said it will not save you a penny - I should have said a nickel. I forgot that you do not have pennies anymore in Canada. :)

    Than why do I keep getting them with my change at 7-11?
    Scoundrels.
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,327
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    Hello, Have you considered heat pump/s? ;)

    Yours, Larry
  • BennyV
    BennyV Member Posts: 49
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    Heat pumps. You have cheap electric, and that would reduce your heating cost by about 65%. If you don't have ducts now, don't add them, it's a waste of money to be taking your house apart and cutting holes in ceilings or floors for ducts when you can put in a ductless heat pump system and the keep the electric baseboard to supplement the heat pumps during the worst cold snaps every winter.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,074
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    You probably have room by room heat control now.
    A few minisplit heads would get the major areas.
    Definitely need the BB backup though.
    Heat pump air moving may feel lukewarm or cool on one's head.
    But as a bonus you get AC, probably not a priority in southern Canada.

    Can't see electric boiler being more efficient than electric BB heat. Maybe a little more comfort with higher temp water.
    A KW is still only a KW. Resistive elements are 100% efficient, whether stuck in water or air. IMO

    For your climate I personally doubt the 65% savings.
    33% for sure, maybe 50% depends upon how comfortable you are with the air delivery temp.

    Does any one else around you have heat pumps at all?
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    My first question would be why do you want to switch? Trading electric for electric plus ductwork seems counter intuitive to me.

    If electric is cheap which needs defined what is cheap electric. Then propane would be a volatile monetary move.

    Savings of 65% with a heat pump sounds a bit outrageous to me. Especially when it depends on what heatpump you get.
    JUGHNE
  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 930
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    Ductless HP in the main rooms. Maybe one at each end of the house. Keep the electric baseboard.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    Mini split Heat pumps COP drops drastically when the outdoor air temp drops. Something to think about.

    Ground source, and water to water have a more flat line COP since the source is a more steady temperature.
    ChrisJ
  • BennyV
    BennyV Member Posts: 49
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    The best modern mini splits are rated at a COP of around 3.2, meaning 70% energy savings. It will be a bit lower in colder climates, and depending on how much of the design load you meet with the heat pumps. Even with a system that's only rated for 70% of the design load, you'd still be saving 50%+ on electric for heating (not your entire bill).

    With a system rated for 85% of the design load, it would be closer to 65% savings assuming that you kept the baseboards off or set at 12 and let the heat pumps do what they do. Design load has some fudge factor in it (needed for the primary system, not needed for heat pumps), assumes no other electricity use in the house like lights, computers, TV, stove, etc, doesn't account for the thermal mass of the house itself, and assumes grandma has the heat blasting at 21, so it overestimates the heat actually needed by quite a bit. During normal weather, they will be very efficient on cruise control at 15 or 16, but during cold snaps, you can set the thermostat at, say, 20, and the baseboards at 12, and if the house drifts down to 15 overnight, you're fine, and the heat pumps will catch up the next day when it's warmer out.

    If you have small rooms like bathrooms with mostly interior walls, it's probably not worth putting a mini split head in each one. If you leave the electric BB at 12, and turn it to 18 when needed, you'll barely make a dent on your bill with that electric BB usage. If the heat pumps are left at 16, depending on how your house it set up, the bathroom BB will probably almost never come on unless you turn it up, and probably won't go below 14 or 15.

    Your design temp is around 0F/ -18C, so you're well within the range that heat pumps can work reliably. Just keep in mind that they aren't a "legal" heating system, so the electric BB has to remain operable even if they are only test run once a year for a few hours just to make sure the circuit breakers and whatnot work. Not that electric BB has a lot to break, all considering.

    With the heat pumps, you're not switching fuels per se, so there's no downside, only upside. If electric gets cheaper or more expensive, you're still saving 50% or 60% or 65% of whatever price it's at.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,767
    edited October 2018
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    I'm no expert, but sizing heatpumps to heat in southern Canada sounds like barely adequate heating all winter and grossly oversized cooling all summer, even for inverter units.

    There most certainly is a downside, heatpumps have far more to fail than resistive heating and cost a whole lot more to replace.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    1MatthiasGordykcopp
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,607
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    @RobinMurray, no one can assess what is best for your home without knowing the energy costs in your area. I have herd that Canada has cheap electric power in some areas. That can certainly affect your decision. I would check for qualified contractors in your area
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    BennyV said:

    The best modern mini splits are rated at a COP of around 3.2, meaning 70% energy savings. It will be a bit lower in colder climates, and depending on how much of the design load you meet with the heat pumps. Even with a system that's only rated for 70% of the design load, you'd still be saving 50%+ on electric for heating (not your entire bill).

    With a system rated for 85% of the design load, it would be closer to 65% savings assuming that you kept the baseboards off or set at 12 and let the heat pumps do what they do. Design load has some fudge factor in it (needed for the primary system, not needed for heat pumps), assumes no other electricity use in the house like lights, computers, TV, stove, etc, doesn't account for the thermal mass of the house itself, and assumes grandma has the heat blasting at 21, so it overestimates the heat actually needed by quite a bit. During normal weather, they will be very efficient on cruise control at 15 or 16, but during cold snaps, you can set the thermostat at, say, 20, and the baseboards at 12, and if the house drifts down to 15 overnight, you're fine, and the heat pumps will catch up the next day when it's warmer out.

    If you have small rooms like bathrooms with mostly interior walls, it's probably not worth putting a mini split head in each one. If you leave the electric BB at 12, and turn it to 18 when needed, you'll barely make a dent on your bill with that electric BB usage. If the heat pumps are left at 16, depending on how your house it set up, the bathroom BB will probably almost never come on unless you turn it up, and probably won't go below 14 or 15.

    Your design temp is around 0F/ -18C, so you're well within the range that heat pumps can work reliably. Just keep in mind that they aren't a "legal" heating system, so the electric BB has to remain operable even if they are only test run once a year for a few hours just to make sure the circuit breakers and whatnot work. Not that electric BB has a lot to break, all considering.

    With the heat pumps, you're not switching fuels per se, so there's no downside, only upside. If electric gets cheaper or more expensive, you're still saving 50% or 60% or 65% of whatever price it's at.


    That’s quite a statement. Since all we know is southern Canada. Could be from Vancouver to Ottawa. We also know what the winters are like in the northern tier of states, until you hit the west coast.......
  • BennyV
    BennyV Member Posts: 49
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    Gordy said:

    That’s quite a statement. Since all we know is southern Canada. Could be from Vancouver to Ottawa. We also know what the winters are like in the northern tier of states, until you hit the west coast.......

    I had thought this thread mentioned Toronto/GTA, but it looks like I was mistaken. The savings would be somewhat lower from heat pumps in a significantly colder climate than GTA.

    Regardless, with cheap electric in Canada, it might take a bit longer to break even on heat pumps than in the States, but since they are also running on electric, they will always be cheaper to run than electric resistance.