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Old 04-14-2012, 01:01 AM   #1
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Ideas for supplemental heat


I have a house which is currently heated by an undersized direct vent gas heater in the living room. The heater does an alright job for the main rooms, but doesn't heat the bedrooms very well. Thus I've been looking at my options for adding supplemental heat to the bedrooms. I was wondering if anyone could give any suggestions beyond what I've found so far:

1) Permanently use plug in space heaters
- I'm not such a big fan of these for the long term.

2) Electric Baseboard heaters & electric floor heating
- CA energy code prohibits installing these in houses plumbed for gas

3) Small Direct Vent Gas heater in each bedroom
- I can't get a straight answer out of the AHJ regarding these, but I suspect the answer is not allowed.

4) Hydronic Baseboard/Floor Heaters
- AHJ looked at me like I was crazy when I asked about it. But this might fly.

5) A small forced air furnace or heat pump (if allowed by CA energy code) for the bedrooms
- This seems like overkill, but ...

6) Install a zoned central air system for the entire house
- Definitely overkill

7) Insulate the house like there's no tomorrow and shiver more.


If anyone has any other ideas, or areas I should research, they would be greatly appreciated.


Last edited by a_lost_shadow; 04-14-2012 at 08:55 AM. Reason: Radiant != hydronic
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Old 04-14-2012, 05:10 AM   #2
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Ideas for supplemental heat


I think you should insulate like crazy

I'm not sure what you mean by radiant baseboard/floor? Hydronic heating? If that's what you mean, I'm voting for that. My house has that type of heating system and I'll never go to scorched air now

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Old 04-14-2012, 05:38 AM   #3
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Ideas for supplemental heat


A little more info--one story or two? Room in the attic for a small furnace?

Hot water baseboard heat is a nice choice if that is an option--
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:12 AM   #4
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Ideas for supplemental heat


Once again I'm reminded why I shouldn't post instead of going to bed. Yes I did mean hydronic baseboard/floor instead of radiant.

oh'mike,
It's a single story house with around 1000 sq. feet. I have a low hip roof, so I might be able to get a small furnace in. Taking a swag, I think I have an open area of at least 5' x 10'ish x 2.5' (height) in the attic.


Other information that might be helpful:
- Temperate climate (winter lows average ~37, summer highs average ~90)
- I do have a crawlspace under the house with ~2' clearance in most areas
- I wouldn't mind creating a box at the back of the house to protect a furnace/heat pump/other.
- House currently has no AC, I probably won't add any unless I get a heat pump.
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Old 04-14-2012, 05:07 PM   #5
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Ideas for supplemental heat


First you would be crazy not to put in a heat pump unless your elec is crippling.You can have a heat pump with a gas furnace if gas is cheaper.
Next I don't figure that comfort is over the top in my own home.I worked hard all my life so I could be comfortable.
I'm thinking that a manual "J" is required in your neck of the woods but if it isn't then you absolutely NEED one.
A manual "D" is not as often required in most places but any room you want to be comfortable must have a properly sized supply register and a properly sized return grille.
Lastly any insulation you have installed in your home will pay you back.Neglecting that is like throwing dollar bills down your toliet.
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Old 04-14-2012, 08:15 PM   #6
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Ideas for supplemental heat


So...what is it you want?
If you want air conditioning, it's pretty easy to rule out radiant or baseboard heat. Sounds like a heat pump may be the ideal setup for you judging by your temperatures. Whatever you do, insulate the out of it. Insulation is always worth the cost. The more you insulate the less you pay for fuel. So exactly where are you located with such a temperate climate?
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Old 04-15-2012, 02:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
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So...what is it you want?
If you want air conditioning, it's pretty easy to rule out radiant or baseboard heat.
That's not entirely true.
http://www.twapanels.ca/cooling.html
http://www.theradiatorfactory.com/pr...MID=3602&SET=0
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:09 AM   #8
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What REP said.
Find yourself a split pack ductless heatpump.
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canucker View Post
Read a little further into your link...it's not a good appliction for residential.
(interesting link though )
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Old 04-15-2012, 03:21 PM   #10
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Ideas for supplemental heat


I'll definitely be increasing the insulation on the place. The walls already have batt insulation on them. But I haven't ripped one open enough to see the original R-value. I've been cleaning up the con job someone previously did on the roof. They only insulated the areas you could see if you poked your head up through the attic access.

I'd like to do a manual J calculation for the place. I have engineering blood flowing through my veins, so I'd like to do the calculation myself. I'm curious as to what goes into the calculation, and will probably start playing around with how different variables affect the calculation. I'm currently looking for somewhere where I can get the necessary information, but $150 for the current manual is a bit stiff. Is there a downside to getting a used older manual?

I'd originally just wanted supplemental heat for the two bedrooms. But as the cost is getting towards that of a full system, I'm starting to try and determine the cost difference between just the supplemental heat and a full heat pump system. I'm not such a big fan of AC, and already put in a whole house fan. So there are only a few days a year that I'd probably end up using it.

Missouri Bound,
I'm in Livermore, California. We're about 30 miles east of San Francisco with a small mountain range to block us from getting much moisture.

REP, TarheelTerp,
Thanks for the heat pump advice, I'll definitely look into that.

Canucker,
Those definitely look interesting. But I've already had one experience with indoor rain when a steam pipe broke in my college's science building. I'd rather not repeat that with my house. At the same time I had no idea hydronic cooling existed. Thanks.

Thanks again for all the suggestions.

Last edited by a_lost_shadow; 04-15-2012 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:04 PM   #11
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Ideas for supplemental heat


Quote:
Originally Posted by Missouri Bound View Post
Read a little further into your link...it's not a good appliction for residential.
(interesting link though )
The second link is a residential application.

I think with your situation, I'm going to second the heat pump.

Last edited by Canucker; 04-15-2012 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:07 PM   #12
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Ideas for supplemental heat


Here's your manual J....Ozark style....ACME........
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:56 PM   #13
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Ideas for supplemental heat


It's a good thing I don't have a small, hideable camera. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to restrain myself from walking into the permit office wearing the camera and holding cad drawings showing the new electrical, the new duct work, and finally a picture from across the street looking through that cutout with my house in the center.
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a_lost_shadow View Post
It's a good thing I don't have a small, hideable camera. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to restrain myself from walking into the permit office wearing the camera and holding cad drawings showing the new electrical, the new duct work, and finally a picture from across the street looking through that cutout with my house in the center.
I'll bet you that if you did they would want a copy of it. I know many inspectors that would consider that cutout vital information.

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