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back up heat

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by tony guthmuller, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. tony guthmuller

    tony guthmuller New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2013
    Messages:
    17
    Loc:
    upstate ny
    you guys were a help with some other questions I have had with trying to figure out a back up heat source, and am hoping you'll have some input on this latest question. here's the scenario: moving to the Thousand Islands area up above Watertown NY into a late-1800's farmhouse-style 1300+ sq. ft. 2-story home in town. The house will likely need insulation upgrades, but that would be a factor no matter what your heat source. The house currently has an over-sized older oil-fired hot water boiler which I hope to swap out for a propane boiler (no natural gas available) right away. The area is also prone to power outages (winds and ice) which is why I was asking earlier about propane heaters, esp. those that do not absolutely need electricity to work. Unfortunately, being an older home, it does not have an open floor plan, so no matter whether I installed a gas fireplace, a pellet stove, a wood stove, or a DV gas heater, it will be less than ideal so insofar as even distribution of heat. Then I got to looking at propane fired generators, specifically the Generac Core model which would keep the new propane boiler working in a power outage, and pretty much eliminate the need for a back up heat source of any kind. But since my brain is starting to over-load with various ideas, I thought I'd run this one by you to see if it makes sense. I mean, for what I would spend on a decent propane fireplace-type stove and installation, I could get the Generac and have the nice even heat put out from the propane boiler even when the lights go out. thanks......Tony

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  2. hockeypuck

    hockeypuck Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Messages:
    256
    Loc:
    south central NH
    Do not buy a generac from a box store unless you are comfortable with electricity and spinning a wrench. If you have one professionally installed by a local gen set dealer you should be on better ground.
  3. tony guthmuller

    tony guthmuller New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2013
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    Loc:
    upstate ny
    I would only have the Generac installed by a professional. Even then, it wouldn't be much over three grand total. tony
  4. hockeypuck

    hockeypuck Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2009
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    south central NH
    Two more things.. if you are going to he home all the time and do not mind rolling out a generator, a manual transfer switch with a roll out generator will save you a couple of thousand. I have one and we loose power 2 times a year on average. I will be upgrading to an automatic system soon, but that is because I travel for business and I do not want my wife having to do this during a storm. We also have sump pumps that I do not want to worry about. Next thing to consider is size. 8 Circuits sounds like alot, but you will fill them up quickly. Water takes two, boiler, cellar lights, stove blower, fridge,... were are up to six now with out dealing with lights .
  5. The Maine Stove Guy

    The Maine Stove Guy New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Messages:
    41
    Loc:
    Bangor, Maine
    I think your thoughts on getting a generator are the right approach on the backup heat. Might as well keep the refrigerator going as well as the the heat. I do have a comment on switching to propane heat as the primary heat source. I love gas heat, it's clean and easy to maintain, however if cost savings over oil is your goal I would suggest plugging the numbers into a fuel calculator before you commit to propane. Around here anyway propane is not much if any cost savings over heating oil. Natural gas is MUCH less expensive but propane is not. It gets a little confusing as it looks like propane is a huge savings because it is much less per gallon but there are less BTU's in a gallon of propane compared to oil. Without doing the math conversions I have had customers be very unhappy because they were expecting large savings like with natural gas. Just something to consider.

    Warm Regards,
  6. tony guthmuller

    tony guthmuller New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2013
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    Loc:
    upstate ny
    I realize you get more btu's from oil, and that propane and natural gas can't even hardly be compared cost wise, (unfortunately, I've been spoiled by having natural gas for the past five years) , but my reasoning was more along the lines of oil prices not being as stable as propane, and propane being a cleaner burning fuel than oil. One way or another, I'll probably be replacing the boiler due to it's age, and I just thought I'd go with propane. Another thought I've had is I don't think I'm going with a condensing boiler since although they are more efficient, they seem to have more inherent problems. Thanks for your input. tony
  7. tony guthmuller

    tony guthmuller New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2013
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    upstate ny
  8. The Maine Stove Guy

    The Maine Stove Guy New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Messages:
    41
    Loc:
    Bangor, Maine
    Sounds like you have a good grip on it. I agree with the realistic view you have on pricing LP is the way to go. Much cleaner and it does tend to be more stable. I have limited experience with the condensing boilers but I'm sure someone here could express their thoughts on them. Good Luck with your project!

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