My home has ceiling radiant heat - currently my electric bill is $240 a month year round (northern indiana). I do have central air upstairs and down. I'm thinking of adding a furnace to the air handler system in the basement to lower my heating costs during the coldest months.
Eventually I'd like to add one upstairs too - probably when I replace the upstairs attic AC unit which is original to the house (1968). I'm doing this as much for resale as I am for cost savings - as the payback time would be immense.
What are the regulations for furnace chimneys these days? Can I get one that will emerge from my basement at an exterior wall without having to go all the way through the roof?
Yes if you get a high efficiency furnace it is vented in PVC or polypropylene and can exit and terminate on the side of the house such as out of the rim joist. Granted you follow the manufacturers instructions and local code to terminating away from opens to the building such as windows and doors. For attics it is a bit more difficult to add a high efficiency furnace because some municipalities require measures to prevent the condensate from the furnace from freezing. Whether it be heat tape around the condensate line or insulation on it. I have even seen a unit heater to condition the attic when it got below freezing (waste of energy if you ask me). Depending on what your city says it may be cheaper to put an 80% furnace in the attic and vent the metal straight through the roof. However if you can put in a more efficient furnace I'd say go for it