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Old 06-20-2007, 08:23 PM
 
Location: ~~In my mind~~
2,110 posts, read 6,681,228 times
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Hi all, can anyone tell me about the different types of heating for your home? Propane vs Heating Oil, what is better and most cost effective? Also, what is radiant heat? Is that what goes in the flooring? Where I live we have either an electric or gas furnance. Sorry if these seem like silly questions, but I am not familar with different types of heating for the home.
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Old 06-20-2007, 08:48 PM
 
122 posts, read 436,934 times
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I'll give it a stab, but it will probably be vague... You can have kerosene, a smelly fuel that some houses have, typically in free-standing (attached to the wall) units placed throughout the house with a tank usually in the garage or basement, perhaps outside?? Not too popular. Natural gas is another option. This is what we use, and it heats the water, powers the range, and the dryer as well. We have baseboards throughout the house that keep us warm. Vermont Gas is the company we use (in Chittenden County). Then there's oil, don't know much about it, but I think it runs similarly to gas...And there's electric, and as far as heating your home I think this is the most expensive means. Of course, if you want the work (it's fun and rewarding...) of a woodstove, there's nothing like it. There are probably more, but it's late and I'm sure someone else has more concrete info. on heating sources!

As far as radiant heat, it's pex tubing that coils/loops under the floor, with hot water that runs through it. It's a really cool feature of houses that have it, my parents have it in their entryway...a friend has it in her whole downstairs, which are cement floors (odd, I know, but she designed it!!) but that's all the heat she used this winter. There are a lot of options.
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:18 PM
 
Location: ~~In my mind~~
2,110 posts, read 6,681,228 times
Reputation: 1649
Quote:
Originally Posted by VTeratheart View Post
I'll give it a stab, but it will probably be vague... You can have kerosene, a smelly fuel that some houses have, typically in free-standing (attached to the wall) units placed throughout the house with a tank usually in the garage or basement, perhaps outside?? Not too popular. Natural gas is another option. This is what we use, and it heats the water, powers the range, and the dryer as well. We have baseboards throughout the house that keep us warm. Vermont Gas is the company we use (in Chittenden County). Then there's oil, don't know much about it, but I think it runs similarly to gas...And there's electric, and as far as heating your home I think this is the most expensive means. Of course, if you want the work (it's fun and rewarding...) of a woodstove, there's nothing like it. There are probably more, but it's late and I'm sure someone else has more concrete info. on heating sources!

As far as radiant heat, it's pex tubing that coils/loops under the floor, with hot water that runs through it. It's a really cool feature of houses that have it, my parents have it in their entryway...a friend has it in her whole downstairs, which are cement floors (odd, I know, but she designed it!!) but that's all the heat she used this winter. There are a lot of options.

Thanks VTeratheart, I appreciate the information. There are a lot of things that I will have to learn about Vermont living. I just cant wait to get out there
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Old 06-21-2007, 07:36 AM
 
Location: on a dirt road in Waitsfield,Vermont
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It depends on the age of the house. There is alot of housing stock in Vermont that is over 100 years old and most use oil which heat water. There are still some older homes who still use the old standup radiators but most have boilers which heat and send hot water to modern baseboard radiators. I personally like this type of heat because it is safe as the baseboards won't start a fire if something like drapes, bed or a couch are up against them.

Like alot places in the country during the oil crisis of the early 70's homes were built with electric baseboard heat. My place had that but I removed it and replaced them with Rinnai propane heaters. Works great. Electric baseboard heat has been know to start fires.

In rural places like Vermont alot of people heat with wood but unfortunately it pollutes the air so that has it's drawbacks. Modern woodstoves are much more efficiant but they have drawbacks as well. Plus it's alot of work.

Propane stoves are getting popular. They look like woodstoves but burn propane. They work very well and are much more efficient than using wood and don't pollute the air very much.
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Old 06-21-2007, 09:10 AM
 
Location: 89121
413 posts, read 1,519,085 times
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Our house in Vt has a combination of radiant floor heat, baseboard and forced air. The radiant heat is in only in one room that was put on in the last ten years. There is nothing like it. The floor stays nice and toasty so padding around in bare feet is a real pleasure.
There are a few different types of baseboard heat. The most common and the cheapest is aluminum fins soldered to a hot water loop. The largest manufacturer of this type of heat is Slant Fin. This type gives almost instant heat but when the boiler goes off, the baseboard does not retain the heat very well.
Another kind of hot water heat is cast iron. It can come in the form of baseboard or vertical radiators. This type of heating element heats up slowly due to the sheer mass of the element but radiates heat long after the boiler has shut off again due to the mass of the heating element. There are some very efficient cast iron baseboards (Runtal,Buderas) that will amaze you as to their efficiency and good looks.
Please bear in mind that any hot water system can be fired by any number of fuels. Oil, propane, wood, kerosene are all fuels used.
The other kind of heat is forced air. Again, instant heat but also instant cold. The most common fuels for a forced air system are oil and propane.
As far as propane and oil go, I think that borth are similarly priced/BTU. Each has advantages and drawbacks. Propane is very clean-burning but is dangerous due to its explosive nature. Oil is polluting when it burns and can be a real nightmare if the tank leaks but is very safe.
When looking at a property and evaluating potential heating costs be sure to recognize the possibility of passive solar heat. The room I mentioned at the beginning of all this is all glass and has a south and west exposure. On a sunny day in the winter when the temperature is in the low teens, the heat NEVER comes on. The tile floor absorbs the radiant heat from the sun and gives that heat off when the sun goes down. Very efficient.
Enough for now
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Old 06-21-2007, 05:23 PM
 
Location: ~~In my mind~~
2,110 posts, read 6,681,228 times
Reputation: 1649
Quote:
Originally Posted by VTeratheart View Post
I'll give it a stab, but it will probably be vague... You can have kerosene, a smelly fuel that some houses have, typically in free-standing (attached to the wall) units placed throughout the house with a tank usually in the garage or basement, perhaps outside?? Not too popular. Natural gas is another option. This is what we use, and it heats the water, powers the range, and the dryer as well. We have baseboards throughout the house that keep us warm. Vermont Gas is the company we use (in Chittenden County). Then there's oil, don't know much about it, but I think it runs similarly to gas...And there's electric, and as far as heating your home I think this is the most expensive means. Of course, if you want the work (it's fun and rewarding...) of a woodstove, there's nothing like it. There are probably more, but it's late and I'm sure someone else has more concrete info. on heating sources!

As far as radiant heat, it's pex tubing that coils/loops under the floor, with hot water that runs through it. It's a really cool feature of houses that have it, my parents have it in their entryway...a friend has it in her whole downstairs, which are cement floors (odd, I know, but she designed it!!) but that's all the heat she used this winter. There are a lot of options.
Ohh warm floors. Now that is a feature in a home I could get behind!! Coming out of the bath and stepping on a nice cozy warm floor, then going and sitting in front of a roaring fire while it snows outside. That sounds like heaven to me Ha ha, I am talking about warmth and it is like 95 outside right now.
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Old 06-21-2007, 05:34 PM
 
Location: ~~In my mind~~
2,110 posts, read 6,681,228 times
Reputation: 1649
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYtoVT View Post
Our house in Vt has a combination of radiant floor heat, baseboard and forced air. The radiant heat is in only in one room that was put on in the last ten years. There is nothing like it. The floor stays nice and toasty so padding around in bare feet is a real pleasure.
There are a few different types of baseboard heat. The most common and the cheapest is aluminum fins soldered to a hot water loop. The largest manufacturer of this type of heat is Slant Fin. This type gives almost instant heat but when the boiler goes off, the baseboard does not retain the heat very well.
Another kind of hot water heat is cast iron. It can come in the form of baseboard or vertical radiators. This type of heating element heats up slowly due to the sheer mass of the element but radiates heat long after the boiler has shut off again due to the mass of the heating element. There are some very efficient cast iron baseboards (Runtal,Buderas) that will amaze you as to their efficiency and good looks.
Please bear in mind that any hot water system can be fired by any number of fuels. Oil, propane, wood, kerosene are all fuels used.
The other kind of heat is forced air. Again, instant heat but also instant cold. The most common fuels for a forced air system are oil and propane.
As far as propane and oil go, I think that borth are similarly priced/BTU. Each has advantages and drawbacks. Propane is very clean-burning but is dangerous due to its explosive nature. Oil is polluting when it burns and can be a real nightmare if the tank leaks but is very safe.
When looking at a property and evaluating potential heating costs be sure to recognize the possibility of passive solar heat. The room I mentioned at the beginning of all this is all glass and has a south and west exposure. On a sunny day in the winter when the temperature is in the low teens, the heat NEVER comes on. The tile floor absorbs the radiant heat from the sun and gives that heat off when the sun goes down. Very efficient.
Enough for now
Propane is very clean-burning but is dangerous due to its explosive nature. That is what I was wondering. Propane freaks me out. I dont even like lighting a BBQ with propane. The radiant floor heating definetly sounds like something I want to look in to. Can you put it in after a house is built? Sorry if that is a silly question, but if you dont ask, you dont know
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Old 06-21-2007, 05:55 PM
 
Location: 89121
413 posts, read 1,519,085 times
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Sure, radiant heat can be retrofitted but it is best used under a massive floor material like concrete or tile. They do make retrofit kits for wood floors but wood doesn't hold or radiate as much heat as does concrete or tile.

HTH
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Old 06-21-2007, 07:04 PM
 
Location: ~~In my mind~~
2,110 posts, read 6,681,228 times
Reputation: 1649
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYtoVT View Post
Sure, radiant heat can be retrofitted but it is best used under a massive floor material like concrete or tile. They do make retrofit kits for wood floors but wood doesn't hold or radiate as much heat as does concrete or tile.

HTH
Can I ask if it is expensive to put in? Can it go under carpeting?
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Old 06-21-2007, 07:56 PM
 
Location: 89121
413 posts, read 1,519,085 times
Reputation: 339
It's more expensive than baseboard and carpet should never be put over a radiant floor. Blocks the heat. Great for bathrooms with tile floors or kitchens with tile or linoleum floors.
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