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Rick, HVAC Supervisor
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 21768
Experience:  40+ yrs. experience as a licensed oil & gas technician.
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I just purchased a 3 br 2 ba colonial built in 58 in

Customer Question

Hi, I just purchased a 3 br 2 ba colonial built in 58 in relatively good condition but in need of a major facelift and interior overhaul. It has central ac but no heat pump (which was originally advertised as so) and only electric baseboard heat. I do
not wish to use electric baseboard heat as my main heat source for obvious reasons. I have always been a user of natural gas but found out the closest gas line is over 200 feet away and the gas co. wants ME to pay to have it continued to my house for an astronomical
cost. So, I want your opinion on my alternatives for heating purposes. I am entertaining a propane furnace but what about the possibility of ventless propane heaters? Would that suffice and be more economical? I hate to have a propane furnace installed using
the current ac ducts as they are in the ceiling. The home is 1400-1500 sq. ft. Please advise.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Rick replied 2 years ago.
No vent propane heaters are problematic particularly if you have several. Lack of adequate combustion air (leading to unacceptable levels of carbon monoxide) is the issue. A better option would be direct vent propane heaters like a Rinnai are other direct vent wall furnaces that are less expensive but not as efficient. Given the cost of propane the extra 8 to 10% efficiency you get out of the Rinnai is worth the extra cost for the unit.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What size would you suggest for my application?
Expert:  Rick replied 2 years ago.
That would require a heat loss analysis which is a pretty involved calculation. I'll post an additional service offer for the heat loss calculations. If you accept the offer I'll need a lot more info from you ( insulation, doors, windows etc) besides just the square footage of the house.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Oh I can't get into this expense now. I just purchased the home and have no idea of any of the requirements you are expecting. I didn't realize this was going to be an additional sales pitch.... Although you feel you may need this vital information, I feel it's not necessary to make an educated guess.
Expert:  Rick replied 2 years ago.
I would never guess about something like this and $50 is small change compared to not getting the sizing right. If you hire a contractor to do this they should be able to do the heat loss. Ball park educated guess is you need at least 2 (if the house is well insulated) maybe 3 of the EX38 models if you want to stay warm during a typical Maine (North or South) winter.
Expert:  Rick replied 2 years ago.
BTW heat pumps are not effective when the temp gets below freezing and not at all with temps in the 20's. So a heat pump is useless for 90% of a typical Maine winter
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm not sure where you got Maine but I'm in southern PA. the house is 1958 as I stated and doubt if it's "well" insulated unless I do that as well. I understand that about heat pumps. I'm guessing if a propane furnace can be installed with duct work,etc. at the rate of $4500 or so, that may be my best option as I'd have 75% of that or more tied up in the heaters you suggest.
Expert:  Rick replied 2 years ago.
I looked back and saw ME and thought you were in Maine. Even so Southern PA wouldn't make a significant difference in a ballpark guess. If you can get a furnace installed for $4500 that's your best bet no question about it. I assume that's a 90+% efficient unit which is 10% better than the Rinnai.