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Old 10-12-2008, 09:56 AM
 
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Default Heating Costs & Methods

With New Hampshire being such a desirable place to relocate, I've noticed a lot of residents making mention in relocation threads about heating costs and cost of living in general. With that in mind I thought it'd be useful to have a current thread devoted to the subject. I imagine there have been some threads in the past, but with the current changes in the economy and costs of energy, even though winter isn't officially here I'm sure many of you are already seeing this year's costs climbing.

Is heating oil the primary method of heat in urban areas as well as rural?

What kind of annual energy costs do you see in your home?

What other methods are out there in the NH area?

Is propane or natural gas popular?

One last question; if you were to build a new home today in NH, what form of heating would you use?

Although many would find it hard to believe, in my area of the south all electric homes are probably the most popular now. Advances in technology have made heat pumps a popular method, although I doubt they'd work well in the more bitter colds. In other areas, natural gas is piped in, and in rural areas propane is still popular.

I live in an all electric home. I don't know the exact square footage since we've done some add on, but it's larger than most in the area and I do have an office attached. My energy costs for last year ran about $7500 for the entire year. This year we've already topped that.

Any input is greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-12-2008, 07:27 PM
 
Location: S. New Hampshire
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We just moved here, so I don't know what our energy costs will be this year. We have oil heat, as much of my town seems to. But our water heater is electric. If I had my druthers I'd get natural gas for both heat and water. But we really have no choice unless a gas line gets put down around here.

We could switch to liquid propane since it burns so much cleaner. But Dh is concerned about it being much more combustible.
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:49 PM
 
Location: White Mountains, NH
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If I was building a home I'd try to get my fuel consumption as low as possible by concentrating first on insulation and energy efficient windows. A radiant floor that runs through a geothermal pump would keep the house at a bearable temp and wood or pellet stove could provide extra area heat. A tankless hot water heater would be more economical too.

There are companies installing heat pumps in NH already - there have been a few threads on it.

see this one:
Anybody know about geothermal heating?
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Old 10-13-2008, 01:28 PM
 
Location: near New London, NH
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This is our first winter in this house but it is *extremely* well insulated - it was often cooler inside than outside this summer. We have propane (electric baseboards). Baseboards aren't my favorite but... We're also adding a wood stove in the dining room (no special reason - just happens to be where the pipe is) and a high-efficiency EPA-approved fire place in an addition we are building.

I bought everyone cozy flannel and invested in some serious down comforters...we keep the heat at about 62.

jackie
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Old 10-14-2008, 06:56 AM
 
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I tend to keep the house cooler which does help costs in the winter, but boy I sure pay for it in the summer. Thanks for the insight. I'll do some additional research. I saw a site at one time that gave average heating and cooling costs per square foot for different states a while back. I'll have to see if I can find it again.
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
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If I had the money to build a new place I would look for a southeast facing location and build a passive solar house with a geothermal heat pump to handle the base load with radiant floor heat. I would supplement with a hard coal stove (I just like the smell of coal) and an electrically assisted solar hot water. I would continue to use an electric range and/or the coal stove for cooking.

As an experiment I would build a combined heat & electric plant based on an old fashioned Lister CS Diesel running on filtered but not converted (transesterfied) waste oil.

As it is, I use passive solar combined with electricity for spot heating. We do not use the electric baseboard heat.
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Old 10-14-2008, 10:02 AM
 
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Is heating oil the primary method of heat in urban areas as well as rural?

Rural- definately oil but some propane on new homes.
Urban- depends, generally natural gas if available.

What kind of annual energy costs do you see in your home?

It's our first year in the house, prior owners used 715 gallons of oil. Electric seems to be $100-$150 for us (it was over $200 for them- we use CFLs). I'm interested to see what oil consumption will be as we keep the house fairly cool/have a very programmable thermostat.

What other methods are out there in the NH area?

Natural gas (city), Geothermal Heat Pump, Wood/Coal/Pellet

Is propane or natural gas popular?

Yes with a new house, not as popular with conversions


One last question; if you were to build a new home today in NH, what form of heating would you use?

First I'd properly insulate the home and use all high quality windows/doors to minimize the need for heating.

Then:

Assuming NO city services (read: no city natural gas lines):
1st Choice: Geothermal Heat Pump (but may be cost prohibitive)
2nd Choice: Oil or Propane (toss up)

There also may be the option of low-temperature normal heat pumps in the near future; they could be interesting.

Last edited by BF66389; 10-14-2008 at 10:15 AM..
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Old 10-15-2008, 07:42 AM
 
Location: Southern NH
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My house is 13 years old. We have propane. Electricity is expensive in NH (Seabrook); twice as much as when I lived in MA. Knowing that I decided on propane for the hot water, stove and dryer as well. Propane is just like natural gas. Rather than having a pipe running through the neighborhood and going to your house, there is a tank buried in the back yard (500 gallons) and a truck delivers the propane in a manner similar to an oil truck.

Some of my friends have wood stoves or pellet stoves in addition to their furnace. Pellet stoves are very popular now. These can heat most of a house if you have an open floor plan.
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Old 10-15-2008, 08:02 AM
 
261 posts, read 565,324 times
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Thanks for all the great information.

Pellet stoves are more like a wood stove aren't they? What I mean is that they're an area type heater and not central heat. What makes pellet stoves more desirable than a wood stove type insert with a blower that blows the air from the heated deadspace between the firebox and outer wall?

Is propane heat in the area predominently space type heaters as well, or central heat units?
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Old 10-15-2008, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
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The main difference between a pellet stove and a wood stove is that you buy your pellets in 50# bags. No cutting/splitting/hauling, etc. Also, you can set a thermostat for a pellet stove, and it will kick on and off as often as necessary. You fill the pellet stove with "fuel" and it just does its thing with no need to keep that fire going. IME, many folks I know with wood stoves need to restoke, and maintained every couple of hours at most in order to run efficiently. Pellet stoves just seem so much easier, just my opinion (for disclaimer, I have a woodstove and am in the market for a fireplace insert...)

Your 2nd question on propane really depends on the age of the home. The majority of pre-80's housing in NH will have oil burner with forced hot water heat, with maybe an addition/3-season room heated with propane. (If you're near gas lines, you may have natural gas.) In newer construction over the last couple of decades, propane is used much more frequently in a forced hot air system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MtnFlyer View Post
Pellet stoves are more like a wood stove aren't they? What I mean is that they're an area type heater and not central heat. What makes pellet stoves more desirable than a wood stove type insert with a blower that blows the air from the heated deadspace between the firebox and outer wall?

Is propane heat in the area predominently space type heaters as well, or central heat units?
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