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.
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
My principal suggestion is to leave it alone. You're probably never going to
recover the additional cost.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
On Sep 7, 6:05 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org (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.
On Sep 7, 7:12 pm, email@example.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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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