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Old 02-03-2013, 12:07 PM   #1
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New question... mini heaters vs a new furnace

I've faced the fact that I'm going to have to replace Gargantua who has been heating 5 apartments for over 100 years. (A converted Lenox coal furnace with a Bryant burner).
Two apartments have their own electric meter so I could put electric heat in them. The other 3 apartments are on the "house" meter so unless I split up the electric, meter them and put electric heat in them, that won't be an option.
The apartments have gas lines in them for the stoves. Could I put individual gas wall mounted heaters in them instead of replacing the furnace? I'm guessing they would cost less to install but may cost more in fuel consumption in the long run... I don't know...
Thank you for your advice,


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Old 02-03-2013, 12:31 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by IDIMyself View Post
Two apartments have their own electric meter so I could...
I don't know...
Finish that job and put everyone on their own electric meter.

Then go with through the wall ductless "split pack" heat-pumps
and they'll have AC as well and all on their dime.


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Old 02-03-2013, 12:42 PM   #3
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Wall heaters are not designed for high efficiency and are good for motels and warmer climates where fuel costs are not a huge issue IMO. They do need a chimney or venting thru a wall to the outside and with an older home I am not sure you would want to start doing that. If your house has enough electric service capacity (need checking into or a service upgrade/increase in wire size) then I would go that route and have them pay there own costs. Electric heaters are virtually maintenance and trouble free/complicated as a lawn mower or toaster so in the long run may be a better idea. Where I am landlords can deduct a lot of those upgrade expenses on their income tax so you may want to bite the bullet and deal with it as a one time expenditure. Electric is quite reliable so that has a great value IMO.
"Cut it twice and it is still too short".

Last edited by yuri; 02-03-2013 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:06 PM   #4
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At first I was excited about the electric heat idea then I realized that I'd need separate meters for the electric heat because I'd never be able to split out each apartment as they're almost all on one circuit! Plus the electric is buried in the plaster as the walls are 3 bricks thick with lathe and plaster on the inside. So I'd have a house meter still feeding all the outlets and lights in each apartment unless I used wall mounted wire molding and redid the wall outlets when adding the electric heat. Unless I redid the wall outlets and hooked them into the new meters for each apartment, the tenants would use plug in electric heaters to heat their apartments and leave the baseboards off. I currently pay all the utilities for that place and one tenant has an electric heater she supplements with and she keeps her apartment at 80! I have the thermostats set at 70. This place is a money pit.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:28 PM   #5
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You could do the gas wall heaters. Probably cost close to a new furnace though. Since you would end up having to also run new gas lines. Just you wouldn't have to pay for their heat anymore. Might also lose a tenant or 2. Seen that at a couple places already.

A new electric service to those apartments would be expensive, and require all the electric be brought up to code in them.
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:37 PM   #6
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My electrician said that the new-style exterior multi-meter panels they now require will cost about $2000 alone. He said $900 for each apartment for the electric heat and ?$ to redo the outlets in each apartment. He knows the place well... rewired a lot of it for me over the years. That's still way cheaper than the $7900 estimate I got for a new furnace.


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