I own a duplex that has hydronic heating with an oil-fired boiler. The
problem is that there is a single oil tank for the whole duplex, and as
the owner (living in the lower duplex) I have no control over how much
tenants (living in the upper duplex) consume in terms of heating. The
boiler is relatively new and I would hate to have to replace it, but I am
looking for a way to separate the heating either switching to gas or
electric, so that each living unit is independent.
Does anyone know if this can be done without replacing the boiler?
Any ideas would be appreciated.
Building Construction and Maintenance Forum
RSS access to your favorite newsgroup -
alt.home.repair - 358118 messages and
Ok, I'll bite - How does adding t-stats to each radiator or baseboard
separate the billing for the heat between the two units?
For the OP, here are some options -
1) Add a 2nd boiler, gas or oil, and separate the plumbing from the
baseboard or radiators, probably easiest with PEX.
2) Disconnect the baseboards or radiators in the tenant's unit and
replace them with electric baseboards. This will probably cost more
3) Disconnect the baseboards or radiators and have a separate gas
forced air furnace installed in the attic.
Given the choices, I would prefer #1.
It wont separate billing it controls overheating. Its a tenant and he
has to supply a certain amount of heat, Thousands for the convienence
of a separate bill doesnt pay off, insulation does. Tenant pays heat,
rents are less.
Not being able to see how the setup is, it is not possible to say for sure,
but most likely it can be separated. Given enough time and money, most
anything like that can be done.
Assuming each has a completely different zone piping, those pipes can be
re-routed to another smaller boiler. Does each have a separate how water
Electric heat will most likely require an upgrade on the service to 200A if
you have less. It is also expensive to operate in most areas. Gas service
may or may not be expensive but utility companies often offer deals for
conversions or new customers.
Including the cost of heat int he lease can be risky if people abuse the use
of heat, but it will cost thousands to add a new boiler and associated
piping. Could be a long payback. Your old boiler may have to be de-rated
also if you reduce the load considerably.
I'd buy a good setback thermostat for the rental unit. Program it
for them, show them how to use it and explain that the oil bill plays
a large part in determining if you need to raise their rent. Then,
keep an eye on the oil bill. Assuming you have some historical data,
you should be able to tell if the bills are excessively high. If
they are, then just raise the rent by enough to offset it and tell
them why the rent is being increased.
As others have suggested, you CAN do just about anything. But given
that you have a new boiler, installing a seperate heating system for
the rental unit is going to have a very long payback. Plus, you'd
have 2 systems to maintain, which will cost more than one.
Also, since the rental is on the second level, their heating reqts are
probably going to be less than yours on the first floor. So, if you
go with two seperate systems, you will probably still have a bigger
oil bill than they do.
You give them a separate zone and thermostat. Then you put in a second
oil tank for them. They fill that one. Then you put in an oil valve that
draws from their tank when their zone calls for heat and draws from your
oil tank when your zone calls for heat and draws from both when both are
calling for heat. If their tank is empty then no heat for them.
You may have to invent that type of oil valve.
Sounds to me like no heat for everybody when the tenant's tank runs
dry, because as long as their apartment calls for heat, the furnace is
going to be sucking air from the empty tank and then tripping off.
Also, how are you going to ensure the oil flow when it's drawing from
both tanks is divided up proportionaly? It's not even clear exactly
what the right percentage should be, let alone what might happen with
2 tanks just plumbed together with valves.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.