Supplement Heat for Cabin when Not Present to Feed the Wood Stove

Mike M. Posted By Mike M., Aug 9, 2019 at 4:50 PM

  1. Mike M.

    Mike M.
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Mar 18, 2012
    289
    65
    Loc:
    Green Bay, WI
    Hi Everyone,

    Looking at options to heat my cabin when I am not there. HVAC contractor has provided a few options. I typically use the cabin 3 seasons - summer, fall and spring. Winterization is around December when I drain all the pipes and let it freeze. At least this is what I did last year. Cabin has no duct work and no space for a traditional gas furnace. We have no AC, insulation is okay my efforts on that continue. The current room convention type natural gas wall heater is done and not repairable. This was rated around 20,000 btu and I supplemented that with electric resistant heat and the wood stove.

    Option 1 replace the wall heater with a 35K BTu unit - cost $2K
    Pros - operates with out power, Cons doesnt heat the whole cabin

    Option 2 install and free standing 55K BTu ceiling to floor type forced air wall furnace - cost $3K
    Pros - has a fan to circulate heat, will heat better than the convection unit, Cons I think its expensive and it does not operate without power

    Option 3 install 20.5 seer Carrier Ductless Split Heat Pump cost $4K
    Pros - I get AC and dehumidification, its efficient at cooling, Cons it only heats down to 5 F, useless with no power.

    Option 4 - install both option 1 and option 3

    i am really struggling with the calculations to see if for example at 10 degrees F it would cost more to heat with the heat pump or with natural gas? Remember both of the natural gas solutions are around 70-80 percent efficient.

    The heat pump would be great I just don't know if its worth it for a weekend cabin but the AC sure would be nice when its 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity in June / July / August.

    What would you do?

    Thanks Mike
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  2. Mike M.

    Mike M.
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Mar 18, 2012
    289
    65
    Loc:
    Green Bay, WI
    I found a calculator online and it looks like the cost to heat with natural gas would be around $400 per year while the heat pump is around $600. Kind of surprised the heat pump isn't better but again that AC would be awesome.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  3. bholler

    bholler
    Chimney sweep 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Jan 14, 2014
    18,189
    4,226
    Loc:
    central pa
    If it were me I would replace the gas heater. Especially if you have Nat gas.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  4. snaple4

    snaple4
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Dec 18, 2017
    96
    8
    Loc:
    AR
    If electricity is a concern just go with a ventless NG wall unit. I don’t like them and hate the smell but for a cabin it would be fine. Otherwise just replace old unit with something similar. Last thing you want is to be low on wood and have a freak snow storm knock out your power. You can use a cheap window shaker for ac
     
  5. bholler

    bholler
    Chimney sweep 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Jan 14, 2014
    18,189
    4,226
    Loc:
    central pa
    Why ventless? Many vented units work fine with no power
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  6. Mike M.

    Mike M.
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Mar 18, 2012
    289
    65
    Loc:
    Green Bay, WI
    Yes no matter what the options I choose we will be burning some natural gas in some way. Curious the reviews on heat pumps if anyone has them...

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  7. begreen

    begreen
    Mooderator 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    77,620
    12,733
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    WI gets very cold at times. A heat pump is not going to put out a huge amount of heat at single digit temps. Natural gas will.

    How large is the cabin?
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  8. maple1

    maple1
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Sep 15, 2011
    9,853
    2,077
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    I couldn't tell from the post - are you wanting to heat it all winter? You did say you don't use it in the winter and have always winterized it.

    With NG available I would have a hard time going with anything else for purely heat.

    But it also sounds like a/c & dehumidifying would be wanted or really liked - in which case I would likely go 1 & 3. That would be a preference call. A good cold climate mini-split can do all your heating & cooling/drying for all the times you are using it, by the sounds of it. Lots of experiences with those are posted in the Green Room. We got 2 Daikins put in our house in November.

    (I have no experience with NG heaters - but isn't $2k a bit pricey for a simple one? We don't know how big your cabin is & related heat loss, but I would think a 20k btu unit would keep it above freezing when not there?)
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  9. Mike M.

    Mike M.
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Mar 18, 2012
    289
    65
    Loc:
    Green Bay, WI
    We are at about 1000 sq feet, single pane windows. Adding insulation but its not the best yet...

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  10. begreen

    begreen
    Mooderator 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    77,620
    12,733
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    With natural gas available the best bet may be a gas stove.

    Make some frames and stretch heavy clear plastic over them to make storm windows. Or us 3M heat shrink film and double-sided tape to install on the interior for temporary storm windows.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  11. snaple4

    snaple4
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Dec 18, 2017
    96
    8
    Loc:
    AR

    True, many vented will work without power. I even prefer changing out old unit with a similar unit. However, A ventless is cheap, reliable, and easy to install. If it is used a lot then I wouldn’t recommend one but with it being a cabin without full time use it is a viable option.
     
  12. Mike M.

    Mike M.
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Mar 18, 2012
    289
    65
    Loc:
    Green Bay, WI
    I have a wood stove installed currently and am sticking with that. Pretty much ruled out the heat pump at this time. May have a Williams wall furnace installed and also replace the wall console heater. Heat pump would have been cool and fun for me (I like technology, electronics, drives, ect) but for the cost its not viable. Maybe heat pump efficiency will go up and cost will go down in a couple years and I can try one then.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  13. xman23

    xman23
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Oct 7, 2008
    1,953
    388
    Loc:
    Lackawaxen PA
    What to do depends what will not leave you disappointed when your done. Your cabin dictates what it takes to heat and cool. Here is what I did when we built mine new. We are 4 seasons, weekends. I wanted reliable water free heat. We did real good insulation, electric baseboard with thermostats in every room. Wood stove runs when we are there. A few years later I considered central air and maybe heat pump. But a cheep window air conditioner did it, keeps the house at 70 when it's 95 outside. As simple as it gets and works well.

    I don't know what's happened to heat pumps in recent years. But people now like them. My daughter says compare to oil it was a big savings. I would consider it. You do have the wood stove.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  14. Snerdguy

    Snerdguy
    Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 9, 2012
    8
    0
    Loc:
    Ohio
    The first thing I suggest is to try and seal up and insulate your cabin to minimize heat loss in the winter as much as possible. Propane is probably the most cost effective option as long as you have an efficient and reliable furnace. A condensing furnace would be the most energy efficient and you can completely vent it outside and without drawing air from the cabin. Consider also the possibility of adding some type of solar heat if the location of your cabin allows it. If your cabin gets direct sun in the winter, you might add a direct to air heater on the south facing wall which gets the most sunshine in when the leaves are off of the trees. This can add quite a bit of heat to your cabin so your furnace will run less. There are many designs for wall and roof units that you can even build yourself cheaply. If your cabin is left unattended for months, you should consider adding some kind of security system that reports back to you about the temperature and humidity conditions in the cabin.
     
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Dec 28, 2006
    16,010
    3,950
    Loc:
    Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
    Just pop in some cheap electric baseboards or wall heaters and call it a day. They cost like 150$, no maintenance, no explosives, no separate fuel source, no co poisoning, no freezing.

    Run the stove when you’re there.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    Mike M. likes this.

Share This Page