Country heat for city boy?
April 20, 2007 5:01 PM Subscribe
Househeatingfilter: Saladpants is a city boy from major east coast city, who recently moved to smaller west coast city, Portland, OR. He and Mrs. Saladpants are looking at a house which, while only 15 minutes from downtown, is essentially out in the country. This means that the house has no gas line running to it and no sewer either.
In this particular house, the Saladpantses have two potential heating options: Propane or Electric. They have no experience with either, and are uncertain as to which is better. They seek opinions, wisdom and experiences of fellow mefites.
posted by saladpants to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
OK...so third person narrative aside, this house we're looking at is awesome. But the heating system scares me.
It currently has a propane tank and baseboard heat, which doesn't thrill me. We've received rough estimates for installing ductwork, and for installation of a furnace -- propane or electric heat pump. The fixed costs on these options are more or less equal (and not entirely unreasonable, amazingly), except that the heat pump will include A/C and the propane furnace would not, which is one check in favor of the heat pump.
As far as variable costs go, the person who gave me the estimate said the costs would currently favor the heat pump because gas and propane prices have spiked so much recently. I'm not so sure I believe that, and I'd be curious for anyone's thoughts.
Also, assuming all other factors are equal, I'm curious about performance of these two options. My readings lead me to believe that heat pumps can have trouble keeping the house warm enough in fairly cold weather and cold enough in fairly hot weather. But I've also read that newer heat pumps do a much better job. True? Untrue? I've read a lot that also indicates that propane heats very well. On the other hand, it seems like a real pain the butt to me to have to rely on a propane truck show up every X number of months to refill the tank.
I know in the end, if we get the house, we'll have to weigh all these factors on our own. But I want to get feedback on whether my presumptions are at least sound.
So those of you out there with heat pumps or propane, what have your experiences been? Are there are significant factors that I'm missing?
(Also, as I noted above, I'm in pacific northwest, to the extent that factors in.)