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well, now i've really done it....

highfallsnyhighfallsny Member Posts: 4
edited August 30 in Radiant Heating
...i created quite a conundrum for myself. our small and poorly insulated house in high falls, ny (1000' sf) has no heating whatsoever because i had the oil tank and oil furnace and old ducts removed, with a plan to install a more ecologically responsible, efficient heating plan that doesn't rely on fossil fuel. (i know--even electricity does, but ya know what i mean). the house is really small for a family of 4--3 little bedrooms, a dining area and living room. so what i was *hoping* to do was ducted heat using flexible ducts in the unfinished slab basement (low ceiling--5'6") with an air source heat pump, with 2 zones--public rooms (dining/living) and bedrooms (all 3 at once, just to limit zones). the tiny bath has radiant heat so i'm hoping that will suffice. i took the cable off the backing, with support from the tech folks at warmly yours, sending photos as i went, to make sure i wasn't below the min 2" spacing. so hopefully that will warm the bathroom. after meeting with a very smart hvac guy who really really wanted me to go minisplit--with me really really wanting to stay with ducts and floor registers (aesthetics/space considerations)--i thought i better write here to see if anyone might be able to help. the clincher was that perhaps in an effort to discourage my (bad?) plan, he said it would be expensive to do what i want. yeesh. meanwhile, a neighbor nearby installed his own system just as i'm describing but with an older elec unit (i don't think it's a heat pump--he said it's $$ to operate) for a small sum. mind you he did this about 12 years ago, himself, with the help of one handy guy whose name he can't recall--and i can't lean on him to help me sort it out or do it because i don't know him well enough to bug him for more info or to help actually source the equipment or install it. with that...i'm in high falls, ny and on a tight budget to heat our little house. there are existing floor registers where the old ducts were. am i nuts to want to do this? the smart local HVAC guy (certainly smarter than me) also suggested using elec baseboard heat in the little bedrooms since the splits would really be overkill in those small rooms, both from an energy and aesthetic perspective. so he also suggested mitsubishi splits (2 total) in just the dining and living room. that option he said would still be costly. again--yeesh. plus, there is an incentive rebate program from our elec company (central hudson) that i might be disqualified from if i do a hybrid system. so there might not even be a chance of a rebate--which a lot of contractors don't even want to help with since i think they only get paid a little for all this extra work. so basically...sos! any suggestions for folks who might be able to help would be gratefully accepted!!

Comments

  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 5,948
    We don't discuss pricing on this site. Please edit your post.
    What fuel sources are available? What is the cost of electricity compared to other sources? Are you more interested in installation cost or long term operating costs? Is there a need for cooling?
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 11,185
    Even if you do a ducted system most of it should be metal with only the last 5' to each register being flex pulled tight with no sharp turns.

    If you do all flex it's going to perform pretty poorly
    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
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,483
    Even a good  heatpump installation (no flex spider system) with proper trunk and branch ducts will be over your budget but it's still probably the least expensive. I'm  not familiar with your area in NY but you'll likely need the backup (emergency/stage 2) electric resistance coils for when the temps really drop, and for the defrost cycle. Can your electric service handle an additional 40/50 amps?
  • highfallsnyhighfallsny Member Posts: 4
    thanks zman, i didn't realize there was a no-pricing rule. but i just edited to be much less specific (basically just noting 'expensive', 'tight budget', etc). and no cooling needed, we have ceiling fans and the house was really comfortable even on the craziest hottest days this summer. so it's really just about heating. and HVACNUT, i will have to check on amps for the backup--we do have 200amps. with an elec stove (induction/50amp breaker) and elec washer/dryer (one unit that does both--it washes, then dries), and dishwasher, i think we'll still have room. but i'll check w our electrician. HVACNUT--did you mean backup for everywhere? or just bedrooms? and Zman, there is no natural gas in the area, just elec, propane and oil. and i really would like to avoid combustibles. so i was planning on all electric. thanks all for your input--and chrisj, noted on avoiding flex except for the last bit of the run.
  • highfallsnyhighfallsny Member Posts: 4
    oh for zman--in terms of priority, i'm interested in upfront for sure. long term is the second priority. in a back of napkin calculation it would take us about 13 years to make up the upfront costs if we do the plan i was hoping for. (as opposed to resistance elec baseboard heaters or even runtals (more expensive--would shrink the differential but still not by much) or something with more surface area).
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,021
    Ecologically friendly = add insulation. 

    Keep in mind that electric resistance heating is generally the least expensive to install but the most expensive to operate, 3x in my area. 

    All and I di mean ALL electric heaters are 100% efficient, no matter is it's the $20 cheapo at your local discount store or a $1000 unit from the boutique supply. A watt is a watt is a watt. 

    The only electric based heating which surpasses this 100% rule uses refrigerant to "steal" heat from another place to be 200-300% efficient. As you may have already guessed this is a heap pump. It can steal that heat from the outdoor air (air source) of the earth (water source). But the technique is the same. 

    There is of course solar, and all the rest which involves combustion of some type of solar energy from long ago stored in a fuel (wood, LP, oil, coal). 
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    ZmanGroundUp
  • Paul PolletsPaul Pollets Member Posts: 3,304
    edited August 30
    I know High Falls well and lived near there. Unfortunately, hydronics and tight budgets have issues. Using electricity can be very pricey, as I recall, Central Hudson charges upwards of $.18 per KW/hr. A small propane fired condensing combi boiler may be considered, and could heat either a staple-up radiant or wall panel radiators, as well as make your DHW. There's an old friend and highly competent radiant expert in Stone Ridge...Advanced Radiant Design. ask for John Abularragh 845-687-0044
    SuperTechhighfallsnyRich_49
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,202
    You have just run into the conundrum involving trying to get off on-site combustion (of any fuel) vs. trying to use electricity (which also, be it noted -- as you have -- is still mostly combustion, unless you are so fortunate as to have a handy nuke). You can either keep the local combustion -- usually oil in your area, as LP isn't cheap up your way -- or wood, if you're young and vigorous, -- or you can go electric, but if you aren't using a heat pump you're actually using more combustion fuel than you would with local.

    OK then. You're choices are:

    1. oil fired hot air furnace, properly ducted. Low capital cost, lowest running cost, very fuel efficient, very reliable.
    2. Electric resistance. Lowest capital cost, sky high running cost, very poor fuel efficiency (yes, the electric resistance grids convert 100% of the incoming power to heat -- but the generator converts, at best, 40% of the fuel into electricity, a situation which isn't going to change anytime soon).
    3. Heat pump and forced air or heat pump minisplits. Highest capital cost, running cost comparable to oil, fuel efficiency comparable to oil if properly sized and installed.
    4. Wood stove. If you are young enough and vigorous enough, and have wood on the property or a source of reasonably priced firewood, this can be a very satisfactory solution. Capital cost is low, running cost is low (usually). Fuel efficiency is comparable to oil, but with the real advantage that it's not fossil fuel. You could use cheap electric resistance in the bedrooms, to take the edge off on those really cold mornings. You do need a good chimney, and you do need to be sensible about what you burn, but the major downside is that you can't leave the property for any length of time or things will freeze.

    But... you can't have low capital cost, low running cost, non-fossil fuel operation, and convenience and comfort all at once. Sorry about that...
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,483
    With an air source heatpump, you're getting A/C whether you want it or not. 
    The electric heat strip is an optional kit that installs inside the air handler. With a 2 stage HP thermostat, it will know on temp drop to kick in the electric as a supplement. Also if the heatpump fails for some reason, a switch to emergency heat on the thermostat will provide some heat until the heatpump is repaired. 

    STEVEusaPA
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,202
    HVACNUT said:

    With an air source heatpump, you're getting A/C whether you want it or not. 
    The electric heat strip is an optional kit that installs inside the air handler. With a 2 stage HP thermostat, it will know on temp drop to kick in the electric as a supplement. Also if the heatpump fails for some reason, a switch to emergency heat on the thermostat will provide some heat until the heatpump is repaired. 

    Seems to me there's an ABBA song about electric resistance heat -- "Money, money, money". Also one from Fiddler on the Roof -- "If I were a rich man".
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    ZmanSolid_Fuel_ManHVACNUT
  • highfallsnyhighfallsny Member Posts: 4
    wow everyone--thank you. this is a lot of great information to sort through. and jamie, wait...what? you can't have low capital cost, low running cost, non-fossil fuel, convenience and comfort? why not?! i kid, of course. and thank you for summarizing my unrealistic wish. hopefully in the near future these things WILL be possible to have all at once, with the help of a new technology we haven't yet seen. but in the meantime i'll certainly give paul pollets's friend and colleague a call. i looked at their site and i see some very high end work but i like paul's approach--it sounds like it might be a reasonable way to go, despite the use of propane. thanks again everyone. i'll post once i figure it out if anyone's interested :)
  • stonebutsonstonebutson Member Posts: 21
    Start with manual J load calculations and manual D system design. mini split manufacturer's are hearing you and making their equipment less obvious in the home. Air handlers that look like pictures etc. They also have split ducted systems too. If it was my house I would look into high velocity stuff like unico ( my house and I  wouldn't trade it for anything). I don't know how NY is but 100% electric or fossil back up is required  if the compressor goes down (scrolls s%#k but they're quick and easy to manufacture so we're stuck with them)
  • leonzleonz Member Posts: 337
    Since your essentially a pig in a poke you should think about a coal stoker stove that uses rice coal to heat the entire home for now and then dealing with the mess when its warmer out.

    The stove people do their own installation work too.

    You will be very surprised with how well it heats your home.

    The other nice thing is if the power goes out you can power it with a small generator or a back up generator as its 110 volts
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