Kendell, Home Buyer in Laurel Fork, VA

Heating a 1800's Farm House That is 3000 sq. ft.

Asked by Kendell, Laurel Fork, VA Sun Oct 26, 2008

I just purchased a farm house from the 1800’s it’s 3000 sq. feet. The only heat source is electric baseboard which is downstairs only. There is two small vents upstairs to allow heat to come from the rooms below but this house is huge and there is no way it’s going to stay warm this winter. It still has all the original hardwood floors with two rooms having carpet, a partial basement and an attic. I have only lived in a home with a heat pump which needs several thermostats to keep everyone comfortable (I stay cold). What will be by best heating source? Heat Pump, Furnace, Boiler, Gas, Oil. I don’t know what can be installed or what will be more cost effective and easy to use. Any replies will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Kendell

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You should contact a good HVAC person to find out what your options are. So much has to do with the house, where they can put the unit, what utilities are available to you, and what other upgrades (electric, etc) might need to be done to support it. And, act fast.. it seems this year's gonna be a cold one! You don't even have a fireplace? That seems so strange to me - that used to be the only way we heated homes. If all options are easily available and comfortably affordable, I prefer natural gas. But, seriously, all options are not equal and you need to have someone evaluate your home.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 27, 2008
I love heat pumps, but Laurel Fork may be too far north to get the best from them. My home in Manassas had heat pumps and it got too cold too often to best take advantage of that system. When it dips below 40 (which happened often in Manassas!), you're using some other form of backup heat (in my case electric) to warm the home, and that can get pricey.

The best, most efficient and cheapest means of heating a home is a geo-thermal system that draws heat in the winter and cold in the summer from the earth. You're only changing the temperature of the air a few degrees since the temperature 15 feet down is always 55 degrees. The only question is cost of installation, which is usually more than a regular system, but it pays for itself quickly.

The next best bet, in my opinion, is a wood pellet system that has auto-feed. You get a delivery of pellets once or twice a year and the system uses a vacuum to draw them into the furnace as needed. Pretty inexpensive relative to gas or oil.

Don't chince on the initial're going to pay one way or the other, so pay up front, get a good system that will cost less to run in the long-term.

And DON'T call an HVAC person...they're going to sell you what is best for them, not best for YOU. Do your homework up front, then go to the HVAC people to discuss installation of the system you have already selected.

Best of luck with your farmhouse...sounds charming!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 27, 2014
I'm a proponent of the fact that the "best" isn't always the best option when it comes to heating options. Efficiency is extremely important but happens if your power goes out and your energy source is no longer available or practical?

Too many people today fail themselves when planning by not considering the worst case scenario and survival beyond a crisis. I'm by no stretch of the imagination a "dooms dayer" but it is important to be practical. I personally subscribe to supplementing a homes main heat source with wood, coal, pellet, or gas fireplaces. You might want to consider these options as you plan your new heating system. Think outside the box and beyond your immediate needs.

Good luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 27, 2014
split systems from mitsubishi are amazing, you can have air and heat and its quiet and no duct work required....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 27, 2014
WOOD STOVES we live in a 1851 farm home, all redwood we have restored and lived for 21 years and raised family. Our home is two story the wood stove is on the first floor.It is capable of heating a 2800 sq.ft. home. It is inviromentaly frendly, it is air tight so you have perfect control of your heat, it has a veryable speed blower, a glass window in the door and is UL aproved. the name of this stove is Earth Stove. the wheather here is 28 degrees in the winter and takes us 2 cords of wood per year! CHEEP $250.00 and it worms you twice! Farmer Bill Valley Home Calif. ps keep the house original monday feb.9-09
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 9, 2009
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