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Bernie

Propane or oil furnace

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Hey folks. Been thinking about installing a furnace at my cottage instead of cutting and hauling multiple cords of wood. Propane or oil are the only alternatives out there. I think propane may be less maintenance than oil over the long run. High efficiency propane furnace may be a problem with the water drain freezing as it would only be turned on on weekends in winter. (well maybe some extended weekends). I have room to install and run ductwork under the cottage or could also install it in the attic. But its easier to push warm air up than down. What are some of your ideas and recommendations? Where is a good place to purchase a furnace? I think I can install it myself.

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I took an oil stove out of the cottage as I thought it unsafe. A furnace would be fine... but hauling out 5 gallon jugs of diesel/heating oil is taxing. I'd think a couple 100lb propane tanks would be your best bet and easier to maintain. Lake Temagami even has a propane delivery schedule to the islands.

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Yes it looks more like propane is the way to go Wayne. I have a couple 100 lb cylinders already. I may even go the hot water and stove that way too. One step closer to going solar/wind and cutting out the Hydro-reduce-the-debt bill that really irks me. So what did you replace your oil heater with Wayne?

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If you rent a propane tank, it will cost you about $65 a year.

If you arrange have them top up the tank so you never run out, they will do it every time the price goes up!

Propane that is delivered is about 33% more expensive than when you haul your own...

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Hi: Depending on how big your cottage is you could put in a gas fireplace. They are in around 93% efficient now I think. I did that at a house/cottage I owned and had no problems, crawl space was to low to run duct work. The house was 1100sq ft.

Mike

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Garry, thanks for the input. Propane and oil is readily available nearby where I keep my boat on the mainland and fortunately have a couple tanks.

Mike, I have a fireplace setup very similar to Wayne's now and would like to maintain it the same way. I don't want to get rid of what I have now only to make the heat more even throughout the cottage without having to add electric baseboard heaters in the bedrooms and the bathroom. Also for some more instant heat as it can be a little chilly to warm up from minus 25 or so.

I burn about 5 or 6 cords of wood each year. Some of the wood is good, some not so good. Some drifts up on shore, some blow over each year and some is hauled out by pickup in the winter. I would like to reduce that amount a little. We have about 3 acres on the island but there is still a limited amount of that you can cut out that is dead or dangerous.

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To add a different perspective you WILL have to pay significantly (as much as 2 times) more premium dollars (Insurance) for an oil heated furnace. Actuarially speaking, the likelihood of fire causing a total loss of the building is far greater with an oil furnace as opposed to a natural or propange gas heated unit. Deffinately something to consider.

Edited by grant.b.mcallister

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Propane all the way. I had an oil furnace and an air tight wood fire place. My neighbour had an oil furnace and a fitting cracked and leaked oil onto the ground. Cost so far to clean it up $1.2 million and he isn't done yet. I have since switched to propane, no chimny to maintain, clean efficent, but you should have a gas fitter to hook it up for you. I also have a propane stove in our kitchen, propane hot water tank, and my BBQ is hooked up to the big tanks too.

 

I pay $49.00 a year to rent my tanks (2 X 440s) and the company I deal with does a free annual service on all my equipment. Cost of the propane as opposed to oil works out to be about the same if you are using a high efficiency furnace.

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To add a different perspective you WILL have to pay significantly (as much as 2 times) more premium dollars (Insurance) for an oil heated furnace. Actuarially speaking, the likelihood of fire causing a total loss of the building is far greater with an oil furnace as opposed to a natural or propange gas heated unit. Deffinately something to consider.

 

Say what.. the likely hood of a total loss is far greater when an natural gas furnace fills your house basement with heavier than air gas and blows up when the tech presses the ignit button. I've never heard/read of an oil furnace burning down a house. Royal Sun Alliance and many others don't care what your heating source is and premiums don't change when you switch. I thought when I got rid of what I considered a dangerous oil stove at the lake and returned electric baseboard heaters to the policy as principal heat the premium should have gone down.... and when I added the new air tight wood stove it would have gone up (because there's a higher fire risk) and nothing changed in either case but the wording on the policy. They don't care.. just want your install specs and dimensions from flamables for the wood stove. I also have three wood fireplaces in my house, oil furnace, oil hot water heater, and the insurance company could care less.

 

And by the way... now that they've pretty much run out on the money cow for the comprehensive oil inspections.... so we can all continue to get fuel for our oil furnaces.... they are now going after the high efficiency gas furnaces. Any installed with, I believe, ABS pipes will get the gas turned off in the near future if you don't swap those out. The pipes apparently dry out/ crank and CO your house!

Edited by irishfield

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The abs pipe doesn't get replace on current units, its only on new instalations according to the new gas code that came out last april. All new installation are required to have pvc system 636 as of May 1 2007 according to TSSA

Edited by Tinman

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From what I understand Tinman, just like the comprehensive oil inspection program where they came in and made me dig up a perfectly good (installed to code at the time) oil line to my house and replace with the exact same thing but vinyl coated they are going to start doing natural gas comprehensive inspections in the near future. All the ABS systems will have to be swapped out to PVC or they'll shut the gas off just like they refused to deliver oil to my house without a comprehensive oil inspection report turned into your distributor. Could have been my oil guy trying to make me smile while digging 2 feet into December ground... could be fact!

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I just found the bulletin i get from Tssa. It states that all new installation and replacement furnaces and applainces. "Existing appliances and their plastic venting systems will not require action unitl replacement is required as this code change is not retroactive" This is from that bulletin. However they promote the replacement, but its not mandatory

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I think I will start looking for a high efficiency propane furnace. The only concern I have with it will be the water condensate freezing as it will be exposed to freezing conditions after the weekend is over. So the type I get will need to fully drain the system as it is running. Used to be licensed to do Propane conversions on vehicles but let the certificate slide. I have a couple of licensed friends who can inspect the job at completion.

Interesting on the abs pipes Wayne. My home furnace pipes are at least 20 years old. I will check them out for cracks. Thanks for the heads up.

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The freezing water will be an issue for sure.Read the installation instructions for winterizing the unit to get an idea on how hard it will be to deal with.May be as easy as putting a splash of antifreeze in the trap before you leave.The drain line itself may need a bit of heat tape while it is running if it runs thru an uncondotioned space.

Joe

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Bernie have you looked into the ventless freestanding gas fireplaces. I have a Vermont castings unit that looks like a woodstove that has fake logs but burns propane. It also has a remote control that turns it on and off or you can set the thermostat to auto and it will cycle. It needs no external venting or make up air and eliminates a condensation drain. This is not one of the wall mounted units it is a cast iron unit with a glass front and a catalytic converter it so far has not produced any odors or smoke in the house. The secret is to get one that is made of heavy cast iron because it bleeds the heat off into the run between cycles at a slow rate unlike the thin sheetmetal units. If you need more info give a holler .

 

 

 

Art

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Bernie....

 

let me see what I have in my bag of goodies...

 

If I cannot find anything,

 

I have a couple people that owe me in the gas fitting business that I have done favours for... I will keep you informed

 

 

G

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I use both oil and propane. Unfortunately, mainly oil, The cost is horrific at the moment. I highly recommend going with the propane. It is also much cleaner to use.

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Hey guys, thanks for the advise.

Tinman, thank you for the PM and the advise offered there. It was informative for sure.

Thanks Big Cliiff,the oil around the lake would not be a good thing if it leaked. Not likely the tank would ever be filled but the risk is there.

Joe, the antifreeze idea sounds good if required. The furnace would be mounted under the cottage so no piping will be needed.

Art, the wood stove keeps the living room and kitchen warm enough but the bedrooms tend to get a little chilly without the electric heaters on. Central heat is what I'm looking for. An outfit like that would be great for at home though. Karen and I have talked about installing a natural gas one in the living room. Would like one at home that can operate without hydro in case of a power failure.

Gerritt, thank you for your kindness. If you can get me a roundabout price on one so I can start a budget on the whole thing that would be great.

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Guest lundboy
To add a different perspective you WILL have to pay significantly (as much as 2 times) more premium dollars (Insurance) for an oil heated furnace. Actuarially speaking, the likelihood of fire causing a total loss of the building is far greater with an oil furnace as opposed to a natural or propange gas heated unit. Deffinately something to consider.

 

And insurance companies will force you to buy a cistern to put around the oil tank ($600). and then they make you replace the oil tank every 5 years. Oil is getting to be too much hassle.

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