Electric heat

I am considering buying a house in Massachuseets that has electric heat. Is electric heat now more economical considering the rising price of gas and oil. Should I stay away from this house? Is there more than one type of electric heat?
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resistant only or heat pump.
electric still costs more than gas or oil.
electric heat houses tend to be better insulated than gas houses.
GET A HOME INSPECTION ITS WELL WORTH THE COST!
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A home inspector will tell you if the heat is working. If it's an electric furnace or heat pump, they might comment on the age, and anything obvious. I've never seen a home inspector who didn't go out of his way to find some stupid little thing wrong with a home, just to justify him getting paid.

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On 2 Jan 2006 20:06:41 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I have a relative who got a heat pump, then discovered they don't work well when it's cold outside.

And when the prices of gas and oil go up, expect the price of electricity to go up too.
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Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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If I am getting a good deal on this house, is it worth converting to oil.
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It depends on what you call a "good deal". A lot of HVAC contractors will come out and give you a free estimate if you own the home. Many will come out, but will charge you for an estimate if you are just fishing to see if buying the house is feasible. See if you can get a rough idea over the phone.

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YES!
I had electric heat for awhile, and near to bankrupted me.
Oil is pretty high maintenance, I'd prefer propane or natural gas. Burns much more clean.
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Christopher A. Young
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New England has some of the highest electric rates in the country. Unless the house is super efficient, I'd avoid it.
I'm not sure what you mean by different types of electric heat. There are electric furnaces, baseboard, radiant floor panels, heat pumps. In terms of operating cost, I don't think thee will be huge differences.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

We're in Massachusetts, near Boston, and our home uses two heat pumps for heat and AC, as does our rented office space nearby.
Heat pumps are more efficient than pure resistance heating of any type, so the annual energy cost for heating will be significantly lower than with other types of electric heat. When the temperature drops below about 20F most of the heat is being supplied by the auxillary resistance heaters, which makes it almost the same as using pure resistance heating, but that's only during a couple of months each year.
I think it would be prudent for the OP to request that the seller shows him his electric usage for the past year. If the place is being serviced by Nstar Electric then every bill lists the KWH usage for each of the preceeding 11 months, so a look at the sellers latest bill is all that's required. Looking at the electric bill from someone with a similar sized house and family not using electric heat should give the OP a pretty good idea of the prospective home's annual heating cost.
We've been happy with the heat pumps since we built the place nearly twenty years ago, though we did replace both compressor units last spring as one compressor finally failed and the other was getting old. Very little maintenance required, and IMO less chance of fire or explosion than with fuel burning heating systems.
Happy New Year,
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia

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Would it be worth converting to oil or gas heat? It is now currently baseboard electric.
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It would be expensive, since you'd need either a forced air or hot water distribution system. We bought this place with elec baseboard over 20 years ago, and the first really cold-month heating bill scared me into wood heat. $800 for one month in 1983!
We stayed with the firewood furnace for 12 yrs. It was work, but not unpleasant work, to keep it going, but it's definitely a dirty proposition. Ours was in an unfinished basement, but we still tracked bits of bark and dust up the stairs.
Now we have a pellet stove, and even with pellets at $250 a ton we'll barely spend $800 for heat all year Our stove is a Harman, a good brand. It's noisier than I'd prefer, and I have to spend about an hour a month cleaning it, but we've been warm for years. It runs by elec, and will go out if the power fails. That's not a frequent problem here, so knock on wood. Our stove cost about 2K new; probably lots more now, but when I looked into oil heat and a baseboard hw system at the time, it would have been about 14K - mostly for labor because a retrofit is a lot of work. Oil and gas aren't free either, so wood heat is something to consider, and pellets make heating with wood relatively easy. The cost of entry is what sold me.
Keith
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Electric furnaces have heat loss thru the ducts in unconditioned spaces. Radiant floor panels have a slight heat loss to the basement or crawl space. Radiant ceiling has some heat loss to the attic. Electric baseboard is 100% efficient. Heat pumps can be 300% to 400% or more efficient, it depends on your C.O.P.

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It is baseboard heat. Is it worth converting to oil heat?
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I am surprised there even is a house with electric heat in MA. Probably won't be cheap enough to justify the heating cost; some cluck will buy it.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

It depends on the local prices of fuel, the type and efficiency of the heating systems (including the electric). Don't let all the hype about rising cost of gas and oil confuse you. Electric is also rising in most areas. Many areas use gas and oil to make the electricity. The cost of all energy is going up.
I suggest you have a home inspector take a look and get a report on the heating system along with everything else. After all, any heating system can be replaced, so it is only one part of the calculation and one that can be changed.
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Joseph Meehan

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If the house is a good deal, is it worth converting to oil or gas? Currently baseboard electric.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

That depends on many many factors. Baseboard electric is quiet and effective. You are not likely to find a more comfortable system. However you may find that an oil or gas system is cheaper in the long run. You will need to get some information locally for that. You will need to know how much the changeover will cost (an on site estimate is necessary) and you will need to know the cost of each fuel (which means guessing what is going to happen in the future).
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Joseph Meehan

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Most states require that the home owner disclose to prospective buyers how much it has cost to operate the utilities. Straight electric resistance heat is almost always going to be more expensive. If the house has an electric furnace, then you may be able to switch to a heat pump.

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