Advice needed on separating utility bills

Contemplating adding an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) to an existing reside nce in Portland, Oregon. In California this was called a "Mother-in-law Ap artment".
Unit to be in basement. Main floor already has owner and two room mates sh aring utility (gas and electric) bills. ADU will be 2 bedrooms and a large open kitchen-dining-family room. Separate street entrance. Approximately 800 square feet.
HVAC guy says electric heaters are out of the question due to utility costs . Next best would be 3 mini-splits (different sizes). Down side is the hi gh initial equipment cost ($4-5 k) plus installation. Also it's kind of wa steful since the air-conditioning capabilities of the mini-splits will rare ly be used.
Most favorable would be keeping the existing furnace and adding additiona l ducts for a separately zoned system. Low initial cost, only one piece o f equipment to maintain, easily serviced and easily replaceable.
Said furnace is gas and I need advice on how some of you have split the uti lity bill. To date the heating (furnace-air conditioning and water heater) averages about $70 per month. If we follow this model (splitting cost) wh at prevents the basement tenant from cranking up the heat to 90°, either on purpose or carelessly while away at work?
There are plenty of solutions to separate the electrical charges (second se rvice, private meter etc.). However don't see an easy way to split out the bill for a single gas furnace that is zoned to take care of two areas.
I'm sure some of you have already solved this. Subject is new to me.
BTW, would it be legal for me to place a temperature sensor (full disclosur e to tenant) in their unit and ding them for heating above a certain temper ature?
All suggestions greatly appreciated.
Ivan Vegvary
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Ivan,
Basements are sometimes quite difficult to convert to legal apartments. Investigate your local building codes. As you clearly see, the heating plant will take some thought. How old is it? New heating plants may be much more efficient than your old furnace. An alternative that you have not considered is including the utilities in the rent. That way you'll not need to install a bunch of new meters I really do not see any way to avoid giving your tenants a thermostat Your floor plan seem to ignore a bath room. This may not be wise. Has a plumber looked at your basement? You may need a pump.
Dave M.
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David L. Martel wrote:

Hi, That is right, just include utility cost in the rent. Little things like smoke detector, fire exit, etc. In our city if the basement suite passes the inspection, it is allowed to be rented and considered as a secondary residence. In case of illegal one, the penalty is pretty high as well it is a matter of zoning of the neighborhood too.
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Connect a running time meter to the tennants zone. Calculate and agree upon a fair $ per hour to charge.
The more time that zone runs, the more you charge.
Much better answer compared to adding resistive heat or a heat pump.
You can probably find an old mechanical odometer time hour meter on ebay.
Mark
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A nice bathroom already exists. Gravity flow. City OK with renovation and creation of ADU.
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On 04/09/2015 05:58 PM, David L. Martel wrote:

I'd meter it. If heat is included, who knows what they will do... turn the heat up with the windows open etc...
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Yes, my plan ignored open windows. And broken windows.
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On 4/9/2015 8:10 PM, micky wrote:

I've known of people (tenants, not utility bill payers) who max up the heat and regulate temp by open windows. I think that's a major insult and injury to the landlord. (Likely why they do it.....)
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Per Stormin Mormon:

I always thought the old coin-fed setups I saw in British movies made sense.
Want heat? Feed a coin into the slot and you get heat for x hours.
I'm guessing it was the same deal with electric.
--
Pete Cresswell

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On Thu, 9 Apr 2015 14:59:36 -0700 (PDT), Ivan Vegvary

Are you the owner? You live there all year round?

3??!! One for each room?

What does the HVAC guy care. He's not paying. In fact I'm bet his making money on it.

My basement is cool all summer

A separate thermostat that he doesn't know about that you control. You could set it to 74 maybe. Or 70.
When I was in a small college fraternity, which used what had been a farily large private home, the house manager (one of the members), the thermostat was in the dining room, and he drilled a hole in the indicator plate on side which had marks for the degrees the stat was set to, and he put a screw in the hole so the lever could not be moved higher than the screw allowed. Maybe 74 when he set it for 70, or 72 when he wanted it set for 68.
And some of the guys would turn the thermostat up to the maximum. But the house manager was my roommate and I learned that the thermostat was not actually connected to the furnace. He had another thermostat somewhere else that controlled the furnace. It was warm enough for me all the time so I never followed the wires or searched for the other thermostat.
(He also thought we watched too much TV, so he took the plug and ripped out one prong, and plugged it back in. We didn't really watch much tv (I didn't watch at all) or someone would have wanted the set fixed, and it never came up at the once-a-week chapter meetings. It was a serious school and no one goofed off much, and most went on to grad school, so TV was really not a big thing. )
Tnese are college stories but I see no reason you can't do the same thing.

Itemize the percentages and show the past bill (bills when there are more than one) and point out how cheap it is. Tell 'em, iti's as fair as I can make it and it's defintelty cheaper than anywhere else. Or any other way, like minisplits.
I had a 2-BR apartment for $175, and 2 straight guys trying to save money wanted the second bedroom. So what is fair? Who knows, but I thought 75 for me and 100 for them seemed pretty close to right, and they said fine, and it was fine. They also had a living room that iirc they never used, a kitchen and a bathroom for 50 a piece .

I don't see why not but you'd better get every detail in the lease. What happens if the price of gas goes up or down. What happens if one moves out. Or don't base it on the price of gas. Still, it sounds complicated and a source of friction. Despit your sensor, he'll say he never turned it up, if it went up it's because of some weird thing your furnace did. Your furnace, not his.
Maybe best to include heat and just not let it get too hot,
Or Itemize heat at so much per degree day -- boy that sounds like a lot of work.

You don't really mean that.

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wrote:

I meant connected in series or something so that they could control the temp with their thermostat up to the maximum you set on yours.
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Ivan,

I'm not sure why electric heaters are out of the question. They are quite popular here in the Pacific Northwest thanks to our mild climate and low electric rates.
We live about 20 miles away from Portland. Our house is 1456 sq/ft and is heated entirely with electric wall heaters (Ours are made by King Electric, sold at Lowes stores). Our monthly bill is under $150 which includes heating, hot water, lighting, and all appliances. That's for a family of three and a home based business. We also have 12-14 foot vaulted ceilings.
Electric heat is easy to install, easy to zone, and safe to operate. It's also one of the least expensive systems to install and maintain. Gas or heat pumps may be more efficient, but the high installation costs would take a long time to pay off, especially for 800 square feet.
If it were me, I would spend more money on insulation and weatherproofing to minimize heat loss in the first place. That will also help cut down the noise between units.
Anthony Watson www.mountainsoftware.com www.watsondiy.com
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HerHusband wrote:

What is your cost per KWh? Up here in Calgary, AB, 8 cents/KWh fixed rate. NG is ~$3.80/GigaJoule at the moment. My power consumption is average 1000KW/h per month.
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According to my last electric bill, we pay 8.16 cents per KWH.
We do get a .119 service credit per KWH, which amounted to a whopping $1.67 off last months bill. :)

We are all electric, no gas or heat pumps.
Last month we used 1400 KWH, but we typically average about 60KWH per day in the winter and 30KWH per day in the summer. In other words, at least half of our electric bill is for heating hot water, and running the lights/appliances. I work from home so my computer, lights, and heat are on all day.
We built the home in 2004 with typical insulation. R30/38 in the ceilings, R21 in the walls, R30 in the floors. Double-pane vinyl windows. Nothing fancy.
Anthony Watson www.mountainsoftware.com www.watsondiy.com
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On Friday, April 10, 2015 at 12:57:28 AM UTC-4, HerHusband wrote:

The big factor here too is that it's a *basement*. Assuming most of that is underground, then it's around 50F outside temp he's dealing with. Easy to heat, easy to cool. In a relatively mild climate, underground, electric heat may not be a bad option. The problem with trying to zone the existing furnace, I'm not sure how well that will work. If he needs AC too though, then the mini-split option would seem to make the most sense. It costs some money, but having something that works, is cost effective, etc would seem to be worth it, especially when he's going to be presumably collecting some rent money. A year of rent and it's paid for.
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On Thu, 9 Apr 2015 14:59:36 -0700 (PDT), Ivan Vegvary
Wow! Fourty years ago Portland had some to the lowest electric rates in the country. What happened??
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On 4/9/15 5:59 PM, Ivan Vegvary wrote:

Is there a problem using gas heaters of the *In The Wall* type, usually on a shared wall between 2 rooms, running off a separate meter ? Commonly seen in apartments/condos in milder climate areas.
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Install a mechanical (not electronic) thermostat cut into the line that controls the furnace. Install a security cage over it to prevent adjustments and set it at the maximum temperature that you want the tenant to have. This will override the thermostat that they have to control the temperature.
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