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mrvt 02-22-2011 08:22 PM

New HVAC system in Vermont
I'm considering purchasing a single floor home in foreclosure, the home only has electric heat (baseboard) throughout the entire home. Given the costs of electricity in the area, its most likely a bad idea to keep it as electric. The home is a ranch style, full access under first floor for duct work or piping.

First question - are there new highly efficient electric baseboard elements that could be installed instead of the older 60's version that I could confidently resell the home without every homebuyer having a problem with electric heat (as i currently do)???

Second question - if there are no highly efficient elec systems to install, and there are really only 2 next options, hotwater baseboard, or forced hot air. Remember this is in VT, its cold, and winter lasts a long time. If i'm installing a new system, I would consider installing a forced hot air so I could easily (and economically add A/C) for resell, A/C is considered an upgrade/extra in this area as its not standard. Part of me doesnt want to install a baseboard system and then have to install window A/C units.

So getting to the question, is it worth installing forced hotair given the known limitations against hotwater baseboard and stigma against it?


unicursalhex 02-23-2011 12:53 AM

Electrics electric as far as I know, I don't think there are any efficient baseboards. Radiant is going to cost you more than forced air and you dont want window shakers so thats out. Get a dual fuel heat pump system up in there. The heat pump will produce heat and cool air.

hvac benny 02-23-2011 01:31 AM

Electric is already 100% efficient.What you should be looking at is what is more economic. Where I am a dual fuel furnace-heat pump combo is best, but it doesn't get very cold here. As for what's best in Vermont? Only someone from your area will know for sure.

pcampbell 02-23-2011 11:47 AM

Propane in VT is actually only slightly cheaper than electric when you include efficiency of say 80% for propane vs 100% for electric at 14c per KWH. if you go 96% then the advantage is bigger of course....

where in vt and do you have propane or natural gas or neither.

A 96%+ propane furnace might be your best bet. It is not much more expensive than 1 or 2 Rinnais.

Pellets and wood are both cheaper... wood the cheapest but requires the most work.

Also if you take into account that electric is cheap to install and they are already there... that could come into play. They do make liquid filled electric radiators. I don't know if these would be more economical to run but may feel better...

COLDIRON 02-23-2011 04:23 PM

Lots of factors to consider.

Electric thermostat in every room.

House has to be well insulated. (craw space to). Attic R-38

Never a tank to fill. Leave house for extended periods of time.

Does the electric company give a discount for total electric house ? question.

A/C can't have with electric baseboard.

Many other questions ?

Cost A/C and different heat system, big bucks.

mrvt 02-23-2011 08:56 PM

Thanks for your comments. From what I've seen/been told that a heat pump isnt wise in this area given the many months of cold.

To answer some of the questions - I could install a propane tank, but nothing currently on property. No access to gas, its a rural area.

I called the electric company and asked about different rates, they said they've done away with that years ago since most folks swapped out their electric heating for something more efficient.

I currently have baseboard heat w/ propane in VT and works great. Obviously i'm trying to find justification to try and keep the electric heat to save about 10-12k on a new baseboard system. But if I end up getting nickel and dimed away with heating bills I might as well.

I'd love to find some type of new elements that might end up heating more cost effectively so I could prove that it's worth not adding baseboard w/ propane.


unicursalhex 02-24-2011 12:19 AM


Originally Posted by mrvt (Post 596829)
Thanks for your comments. From what I've seen/been told that a heat pump isnt wise in this area given the many months of cold.


Yeah but If you're going to do a furnace with AC it would be a no brainer to use a heat pump with the gas/propane furnace as the price difference between AC and heat pump is relatively small, the heat pump would pay its difference in a very short period of time even taking the weather into consideration.

COLDIRON 02-24-2011 06:44 AM

If you want you can install new base board elements and insulate and weatherproof the house real good, you can use the money saved on a new system. Your out of luck with Central A/C system. If you install a new system I would keep the electric for backup. It don't get hot in VT for a long period of time I would consider wall units or window shakers even though I don't like them.

OH ! you could also install a mini split unit that would be better than the wall /window shakers.

pcampbell 02-24-2011 02:55 PM

it is going to depend on how much you would pay on propane vs how many KWH or gallons of propane you use per month vs how long you feel comfortable for a pay back.

please see this report and scroll to the bottom where it compares propane vs electric (among other fuel sources)

Propane, gallon 91,600 80% $3.21 $43.85
Electricity, kwh 3,412 100% $0.15 $43.46

At 80% efficiency (I do not know the efficiency of a modern boiler...) and $3.21 per gallon vs .15 per KW/H and 100% efficiency, you can see electric is cheaper to run.

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