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Thread: Dual heat systems

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    DIY Junior Member Vetteski's Avatar
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    Default Dual heat systems

    I have a two story, two unit apartment house that is currently heated with an oil fired hot water system with CI radiators. I curently pay for the heat as the system is all tied together and controlled with one thermostat on the 1st floor. I'm thinking of adding some electric baseboard units in each apartment and asking the tenants to pay for some of their heat costs. I was thinking of placing the thermostat (set at 50*or so) for the furnace in a common hallway or possibly the basement and therefore the furnace would contribute some heat on the colder days. Is this idea feasable or just crazy? Thanks

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    Computer Programmer Bill Arden's Avatar
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    I would not add electric baseboard since they are a step in the WRONG direction.

    Remember the goal is vacuum insulated wall panels with a R value over 200 and a ground source heat pump.

    Stepping back to reality, you would be better off metering what heat is used or simply splitting the heating price in half.

    Having them pay for heat only helps if they have some ability to control how much heat is used.
    1. can the tenants change the room temperature or use a set-back thermostat?
    2. Can the tenants seal up air leaks or otherwise reduce heating costs?

    If not, then you are probably better off finding ways to reduce heating costs for them since they pay for it in the end anyway as part of the rent.

    Edit: I am assuming you have variable water temp system and the tenants can adjust the water flow rate to keep from being roasted or frozen.
    Important note Ė I donít know man made laws, just laws of physics
    Disclaimer: I'm a big fan of Darwin awards.

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    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vetteski View Post
    Is this idea feasable or just crazy? Thanks
    It looks like a scheme to screw the tenants. You turn the heat down to 50 in the common areas so their space at a higher temperature is losing more-expensive BTUs to the common space for which you are responsible.

    Since their lease apparently states that you will provide heat, you should at least reduce their rent by an amount that your new system costs them to operate.

    But you would probably raise their rent to cover the cost of the "improvement" (the electric heaters) that will double the cost per BTU delivered, and they will have to pay for all of theirs and something to pay the cost of heat loss to the common space.

    The Dickens of today would write a modern version of the story of Scrooge making Cratchit bring coal to the office.

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    DIY Junior Member Vetteski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob NH View Post
    It looks like a scheme to screw the tenants. You turn the heat down to 50 in the common areas so their space at a higher temperature is losing more-expensive BTUs to the common space for which you are responsible.

    Since their lease apparently states that you will provide heat, you should at least reduce their rent by an amount that your new system costs them to operate.

    But you would probably raise their rent to cover the cost of the "improvement" (the electric heaters) that will double the cost per BTU delivered, and they will have to pay for all of theirs and something to pay the cost of heat loss to the common space.

    The Dickens of today would write a modern version of the story of Scrooge making Cratchit bring coal to the office.


    Wow, I didn't expect to be brought up in front of the ethics committee. Both of my tenants have been in this building for over 20 years. I keep their rents below market because of their longevity. There has been no lease for years and even if there was the terms can be changed with a few months notice.

    I have recently installed new windows to help cut heating costs and keep them more comfortable. Their is only one system as stated above and it is controlled by one thermostat which is in the 1st floor unit. This tenant is retired and is home most of the time. The second floor tenant works all day and therefore the heat is basically wasted in her unit.


    Right now in PA electric heat is considerably less costly than oil. I was hoping my idea of having them share the heating costs would help me save some $ so I don't have to raise their rents to cover the escalating cost of heating oil. If I can't make a few bucks on this property it's not worth the hassle of owning it.

    I just wanted to know from you experts if there is a logistical downside to my idea.

    Thanks again

  5. #5
    Computer Programmer Bill Arden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vetteski View Post
    Right now in PA electric heat is considerably less costly than oil. I was hoping my idea of having them share the heating costs would help me save some $ so I don't have to raise their rents to cover the escalating cost of heating oil.
    1. The system you suggest would work

    But...

    If electric is less than Oil, then you would be better off keeping the water heat and adding an electric boiler to the system.

    This would then let you use "Dual Fuel" electric metering where the electric is turned off by the power company when the price is high. (usually only about 4 hours per day)
    Important note Ė I donít know man made laws, just laws of physics
    Disclaimer: I'm a big fan of Darwin awards.

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