Electric baseboard heat over forced hot air.

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by canton, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. canton

    canton Plumber

    Messages:
    66
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I have a old house (1898). We have forced hot air for heat, gas is our fuel.
    It's been very expensive to heat the house during the winter months, $400 a month. Due to our expanding family, we'd like to renovate the basement and make it livable, however we have the furnace, water heater, and chimney smack dab in the middle of the basement.
    Would it be better to take out the furnace and all the duct work that runs under the basement rafters, get rid of the water heater and chimney and go with electric heat and a wall hung water heater?
  2. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    You should do a cost comparison before you take out the furnace.

    One Therm of gas (100,000 BTU/Therm) has the same energy as 29.3 kWh of electricity. Because electricity is 100% efficient compared to the furnace, you should compare the cost of 24 kWh of electricity with one Therm of gas.

    So if you convert from gas to electric heat, your $400/month gas heating bill will become approximately:

    $400 x 24 x ($per kWh) / ($per Therm) = Electric heating bill

    That will be in addition to your current electric bill for lights and other uses.

    Old houses usually don't have the amount of insulation that is required to make electric heat practical. Most people would give a lot to convert FROM electric heat to gas. There are a lot of people around where I live who put in wood stoves and carry in wood and haul out ashes every day because electric heat is so expensive. Don't be in a hurry to tear out those ducts.
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,293
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Most probably your furnace is quite old and not very efficient. New gas furnaces are very efficient and can vent with PVC pipe out the side of the house. Electric baseboards are very inefficient and will cost much more to operate. Of course you have to figure the cost of the furnace replacement, but gas companies often have low cost financing. You should also beef up the insulation and seal cracks that heat can escape through.
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