Electric Base Board Heat

Hi;
I am buying a house for rental property. It currently has a 2 year old 13 seer 3.5 ton Carrier Central AC System that is self contained and sits outside. There is a huge duct that comes out of the unit and enters the crawl space and cools the house.
As for heat, the house was made in 65 and has electric base board heat and I would like to convert to gas forced air, or maybe even a boiler system for water that heats the floors. What are my options? If I was to install a natural gas heater, could I hook into the AC Duct under the house? I hate to think what the electric heat is going to cost with base board.
Any suggestions would be welcome.
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Why? It's a rental unit. You're not going to live there. Why do you care what the heating system is?
Retrofitting a hot-water radiant floor heating system into a house that wasn't designed for it will be very, very expensive. Hot water heat is wonderful -- but if you're going to retrofit that into a house, do it to _your_own_ house, not a rental.

That depends a lot on what type of energy sources are available at the property. For example, if there are no gas mains in the neighborhood, then putting in a natural gas furnace is obviously not an option.

Yes, but there are several questions you need answers to first: 1) is natural gas available at the house? 2) is there a place to put the furnace? 3) is there a place to *vent* the furnace? 4) can you recover the additional cost?

Why do you care what electric heat is going to cost, if the tenant pays the bill?

My principal suggestion is to leave it alone. You're probably never going to recover the additional cost.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On Sep 7, 6:05 pm, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

A gas furnace would be best and easy to install. Ducts should be sealed with mastic and well insulated. You should care about heating cost, Electric is more expensive by a large margin in most areas, if utilities are to high tennants wont stay, it also limits what you can ask in rent. A Boiler means alot of plumbing and is more expensive in itself, stay with forced air.
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Garbage. You don't know that. What if natural gas isn't even available in the neighborhood? What if the house has no place where a gas furnace can be installed or vented?

Needing to recover the cost of a new heating system also places a lower limit on what he *needs* to get in rent.
--
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On Sep 7, 7:12 pm, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

He has a crawl space, did you ever hear of Propane, its common in most areas, did you ever hear of direct vent condensing units , maybe not, , they to are common. What we dont know is what he pays per Kwh or the location, down south you dont need much heat. Electric heat suks, I rented an apt with electric, I wold never have electric heat again and nobody else I know would. I rent apts doug, Total cost is what a tennant wants to know, and a house up north with electric heat could break you.
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WTF?
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Which local codes may -- or may not -- allow to be used for installing a gas furnace...

and also more expensive than electricity.

Yep. He may or may not have a place where he can put one. There *are* limits on the length of the vent run.

That's right -- we don't know. So your flat assertion that gas is best is just that -- gas.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Would depend on his utility costs for his area. Propane is normally cheaper than straight electric heat.
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wrote:

LP? Package Gas/Electric? Both of these solve the above issues. But without more info, everything is a WAG as to what is best for the OP.

Higher rent normally gets you a better renter. It also works out as an investment... Why let the utility companies make the extra money when you can?
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It's all based on utility cost... Until we know what his rates are, it's hard for us to say whether gas is a lot cheaper than electric.
It may be in his best interest to change out the package unit with either a HP or a Gas/Electric pkg. Without being on site and without more information, everything is a WAG.
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Doug , think of it this way...
Cheaper heating for tenant. Cheaper heat means they have more money after paying the heating bill.
More money in their pockets means they can afford to pay you more rent. Making it more affordable for you to invest money into the rental property. Investing money in your rental, raises its market value. I'd rather make the money than let the power company make it. It also lowers pollution.
Higher rent. This also gets you a better renter. Higher rent normally weeds out the renters that move from place to place looking for cheap rent. Which could lead to a renter who won't take care of your property.
Getting a better renter. This means you'll likely rent your home and keep it rented. This also means more money in your pocket, as the home isn't sitting empty, waiting for a renter.
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Thanks for taking the time to post. I feel like an idiot because usually I give out enough info and on this post I didnt. The house is 1500 sq ft Split Level house in South East Virginia. Heating is important in the evenings starting in Oct or Nov and needed through at least March.
As I said, the house is a Split level. The garage and family room are on the same level. You go up about four stairs and you are in the Kitchen. The living Room / Dining room are on the same level as the kitchen. There is about four or five more stairs, and that puts you in the bedrooms that are directly over the garage / family room.
This layout presents some problems as if I put a furnace in the garage, there is no way to run ducts because the garage / family room are on a slab. I dont have the crawl space until I get in the kitchen.
I do have natural gas available by the city so that would be easy to get. I too would not rent a house with electric baseboard heat and that is why I want to change it. Most of the houses in the area have gas forced air furnaces and conventional central air conditioners. A heat pump may be the way to go if I can get the package setup.
I was able to pick up the house for 30k below market value. I dont mind spending some of that 30k to bring the house up. It is very important to me that the house stays rented and that I have good tenants. I have been pretty fortunate so far because I treat all the houses as if I were living in them.
Thanks again for taking the time to reply and I will check into what a package heat pump will cost.
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A gas furnace would work provided your duct registers are low since heat rises. If it's high or in the ceiling, you might not get the kind of heat you want so that's something to consider.
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Of course, no one has asked you where the property is. If in FL, who cares, since the baseboards will nearly never run. If in Michigan, quite a different story.
I am in WI, where it would be a big deal, but no one here would have put in a central cooling system and ductwork, we would just use window units for the limited cooling season.
I have been a landlord for several years. I offer this:
If it is not unusual for other properties in your area to have baseboard heat, don't spend extra money doing a central heating system.
Check with your local utility and see what the electric bills were last winter. If they seem really high, you might have to spend money on a central heating system to be competitive with other rental units in the area. A natural gas or propane unit tied into the existing ductwork (or replacing the existing air handler) will be the least expensive way to go, but it won't be "cheap", especially if you have it installed by a competent, licensed contractor.
JK
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7 cents of Electric heating gives you 3600 kJ while 7 cents of Propane gives only 2058kJ of Heating

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