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Community and Q&A

Oil filled heaters

Dreamdart | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I own a bungalow house with an apt downstairs. I have tenants upstairs and downstairs. Appx 600 square feet On each level. The house is heated by forced air oil furnace. The problem is the heat comes on everywhere Through house and can’t be operated separately by the tenants. I’ve advised everyone to turn down Thermostat if you’re out for awhile to let the other tenant “control the heat”.
If someone leaves the heat on and the other tenant finds it to hot, they have to hit the kill switch to turn furnace off.

I’m wondering about using an oil filled heater in either the apt upstairs or downstairs and have them
Turn their thermostat way down. Each tenant has pets and I thought this type of portable heating would be safest.

We had a very cold winter in Canada last year and I was $1500 over budget. Any thoughts, ideas, solutions would be appreciated. I’m looking to sell property because I can’t control the heating cost and can only charge so much rent. For now I have to consider my options


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  1. Jon_R | | #1

    You can install thermostat controlled dampers to allow either tenant to receive less heat. Only allow the damper to partially close and you will probably still have sufficient air flow without adding more ducts. The cost of electrical vs oil heat depends on your local prices. Insulation and/or heat pumps are worth looking into.

  2. davidmeiland | | #2

    Are there separate meters for electricity, or just one meter for the whole house? What are the costs for oil and electricity (per gallon, per KwH)? What climate zone?

  3. srenia | | #3

    Rule number one of becoming a broke landlord is to provide free heat. Behavior trumps any energy effeciency project you do on the rental. People will open windows, leave high cfm bathroom fans on because of doing drugs etc... I speak from experience.

    Each tenant should have their own utilities. As a good landlord go beyond air sealing standards and hit energy star zone insulation values. Do not provide trash removal either. Its amazing how much less people throw away when they pay for trash removal. Do not provide water for free. People will take hour long showers when they don't pay the bill.

    You will not loose tenants because they are in charge of their utilities. You will keep more tenants since you will have more money for improvements on the rentals. More extra moeny for yourself as well.

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