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Community and Q&A

Effective heat for handicapped

Kent Mitchell | Posted in General Questions on

We are working with a couple customers that are primarily concerned with effective heating…They want to be able to stay comfortably warm. We have recommended the air sealing but they get cold easily and need a steady reliable & preferably green source of heat. They only have electric available so gas is not likely to be a good option. They currently have a combination of radiant ceiling heat and some cheap wall heaters.
Heat pumps don’t work well when they want the heat the most…
Any experience with electric radiators? Other suggestions?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    It seems that you are asking about effectiveness, not cost. Electric resistance heat is certainly effective if properly designed. If they are cold, they either need more electric heaters or they need to turn up the thermostat.

    If fuel cost is an issue, the usual alternative in a rural area is an oil boiler or an oil furnace. In some areas, even propane is cheaper than electric resistance heat.

    None of these fuels is necessarily green, of course. The "greenest" remedy to a cold house is air sealing and improved insulation.

  2. David Meiland | | #2

    In a situation like that, one good bet is an electric oil-filled radiator (or other radiant heater) that is right near their sitting area.

    If there is time of use metering available, they might consider an electric thermal storage heater like a Steffes. That way they can put more heat into the house at lower cost/watt.

  3. Kent Mitchell | | #3

    Martin - they are primarily interested in effectiveness but like most, cost is an issue too. Sounds like improving the building envelope would be the best start. Electricity is fairly cheap here, so turning up the stat may be the solution after that...

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