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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I own a three story multi-unit house. The first floor is one unit and the second/third floor is another unit.

I currently have the electricty split but not the heat. The first floor unit is roughly 700 square feet while the upstairs unit is around 1200.

I was wondering what options I had for splitting the heat. Preferably the least expesive option :) Also if there is an option that I could possible perform myself to save some costs that would be great. I would consider myself somewhat of a handy man.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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Legally you can not split electricity, that is a different tale, nor can you legally split heat if forced air. If on a boiler (ie water or steam), better to zone the system out between units.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
maybe I am using the incorrect terminology. The goal of "splitting" the heat out is so that each unit will pay for their own heat.

I have three electical boxes. One for 1st floor unit, one for the upstairs unit, and one for foyer and outside lights.

I was thinking maybe I could seal off all the vents on the first floor and add some type of electric heating source.
 

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As long as each unit has their own panel with a main breaker, splitting electric is fine. I assume that each unit has their own meter and pays their own bill. If the electrical services are heavy enough, you could close off the vents and add resistance heat with individual thermostats for each room. What will you do for the 2nd floor unit?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was thinking the 2nd floor unit can just use the furnace I have now. I would just block off the 1st floor vents. Is that possible?

What is resistance heat?
 

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Electrical resistance heat. http://www.globalindustrial.com/c/h...mpaignId=T9A&gclid=CNWpzuW5pawCFYSK4Aodr1KZ2w
If the current hot air system is designed to simultaneously heat both floors, then blocking off all the air to one floor is going to cause a lot of balance and air flow issues. A large portion of the air that once went to the first floor will be howling out of the ducts on the second floor. That will make for an unhappy occupant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Is that the only viable option?

How much would that cost? Would I use the existing vents? Would the furnace I have now be used at all?
 

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The furnace you have now, may not be able to be used if making the building into apartments. It would probably be over sized, once you start doing the Manual J & Manual D calculations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So that is the only option?

Would it be cheaper to buy one furnace for the bigger unit then close off the vents in the smaller unit and get a different heating source?
 

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Yes, legal solution. Think of it this way. If there was ever a fire in one of the units, allowing common ducting, that are not fire rated or have automatic dampers on them, controlled by an alarm panel, to transport CO & fire to other units, is not only dangerous, but illegal in mufti-tenant dwellings.
 

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You should discuss this heating issue with the local HVAC guys in your area for estimates on the conversion. They will do an onsite evaluation which can't be done remotely.
 

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You can split electricity starting with the next lease renewal for each apartment if you install separate meters and panels. A few cities will allow you to split electricity if you kept the existing meter but added submeters and subpanels for each apartment.

Similarly, splitting the heat normally requires separate furnaces. In a few cities you can install timers and meters on forced hot water furnaces to split the cost of the heat in proportion to the readings on the respective timers and meters.

It would be okay to install a furnace of a different kind for example if two units shared a forced hot air furnace, you could install forced hot water heat in one unit and keep the existing furnace for the other. For this to succeed you would need to be able to lower the blower speed for the forced air furnace now outputting to fewer ducts.

In one condominium complex where I owned a unit we could put meters on the FHW heat but residents complained and nitpicked about upstairs apartments being inherently warmer and the meter conversion was nixed.
 
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