How do I heat a Split Level Home??

How do I heat a Split Level Home??

PostBy: chimley On: Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:43 am

I recently moved into a different house, which is a SPLIT LEVEL. On the Left side of the home is the garage (at ground level) and 3 bedrooms above it. On the Right side of the home is a basement (a few feet below ground level) and above it is the kitchen,dining and living room..

separating the left and right sides of the home is a hallway and the stairway to travel between the levels. At the bottom of the steps is a fireplace with a Propane insert.

SOURCES of HEAT:
electric baseboard (whole house)
oil-hot air- (kitchen,dining and living rooms)
propane insert


What i know so far......

If i keep the electric baseboard cranked up to 70+ in the bedrooms and the oil at 70, the house is ccomfortable, except in the den when the propane insert is located, also a laundry room down there that gets chilly. So essentially i have to run all 3 sources of heat to keep a decent temp in the entire house.

.Last night the temp was in the teens, so I experimented. I turned the oil down to 64 and burned the propane insert on HIGH all night long, with the electric baseboard OFF. the bedrooms maintained 70 degrees, and the den was nice, but the oil side of the house was at 64 when I woke up this morning.


I feel there are several issues with my set up in my newly purchased home. I think the propane insert is probably 30,000+BTU, I dont know what the BTU rating is on the oil hot air, but its probably big enough to heat the entire house if it were installed correctly.

What I would like is to establish ONE source of heat that I can rely on to heat my entire house. I have been considering a 60,000 BTU pellet insert for my fireplace. I am also considering a coal-hot air...such as leisure line Hyfire....but I don't want to go dumping cash into heat systems that may not work. Wondering what experiences any of you may have with heating a split level home.

Thanks!!
chimley
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 1980 DF 520

Re: How do I heat a Split Level Home??

PostBy: NJJoe On: Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:07 am

chimley wrote:What I would like is to establish ONE source of heat that I can rely on to heat my entire house. I have been considering a 60,000 BTU pellet insert for my fireplace. I am also considering a coal-hot air...such as leisure line Hyfire....but I don't want to go dumping cash into heat systems that may not work. Wondering what experiences any of you may have with heating a split level home.

Thanks!!


You will most likely need to do some renovation and replacement if you really want to use ONE source of heat for the whole house. As your experiment told you, you cant heat the entire house with just an insert in the den; propane or pellet. Keeping the oil side of the house at 64 means that when you woke up, it was unsurprisingly at 64.

Either you install electric baseboard in all rooms or extend the ducting to all rooms from the hot air system. I'm personally a fan of hot water circulating in radiators and can't stand forced hot air nor do I like the running expense of electric heat.

A friend of mine has a split level home with a wood burning fireplace (with a strange air blower system, a quasi insert) in a den on the lowest level of the floor and an oil boiler with hot water radiators in every room. He keeps the fireplace going constantly all winter and tries to use oil as little as possible. The heat from the fireplace makes the den a little too warm for me but the heat undoubtedly drifts up the stairs and heats the living room and kitchen to a modest degree. He still uses oil to heat the rest of the house including bedrooms above the garage. He once ran out of oil and couldn't get any for a few days. He tried to use the fireplace as much as possible but the top level of the house was still cold and the bedrooms were almost unbearable.

Try to look at better insulation if you can which should be cheaper than overhauling a heating system and also running it constantly. My friend with the split got new garage doors with insulation in them and used spray foam and blow insulation to make the house warmer. The garage undoubtedly was the biggest source of coldness in the winter and having the bedrooms right above them didn't help. Seal some windows, get news ones if needed and try to shore up the house first before investing in new heating. it may make more of a difference than you think and you should burn less fuel.
NJJoe
 

Re: How do I heat a Split Level Home??

PostBy: michaelanthony On: Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:16 am

With 3 bedrooms I am guessing you have children or plans for a growing family. Also with the bedrooms above the garage running hot air ducts and return air should be relatively simple to layout and connect to the existing duct work in the basement. I would then consider a coal boiler with a water to air heat ex-changer and also plumbed to an indirect HW tank and to your hot water tank for endless supply.
This winter proved wood pellets are not a reliable source and I feel should only be considered for back up and not a primary dependent heat. Maybe the den can be tied to the hot air run or benefit from the radiant heat of a coal boiler in the basement??
Did the oil burner come on when you were sleeping? Did you need to keep the doors open to the bedrooms? Is the Den under the kitchen, living room, dining room? Would a hand fed coal insert in the Den, like a Hitzer 983 (30,000-100,000 btu) do?...and can you vent the heat up to the kitchen, living, dining areas?
I think you have a few options and the L.L. Hyfire is a good unit to consider. Time is on your side, good luck. Mike.
michaelanthony
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant 2310, gold marc box, vogelzang pot belly coat rack
Coal Size/Type: Pea, and a little nut
Other Heating: Very cold FHA oil furnace


Re: How do I heat a Split Level Home??

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:16 am

Does the entire house have central A/C?
Carbon12
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Other Heating: Heat Pump/Forced Hot Air Oil Furnace

Re: How do I heat a Split Level Home??

PostBy: windyhill4.2 On: Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:25 am

Go with a Leisure Line boiler,run pipes to radiators in the part of the house with no duct work,use a water to air heat exchanger in the duct work for the part with duct work, & with the boiler you can do your domestic hot water too, making a boiler payback even sooner. A good used boiler could be another option, or if running duct work to the part without duct work is easier/cheaper ,then go with a hot air unit. Or spend $$$$$$$ on new windows & still have 3 different heating systems,i would go with the boiler !!
windyhill4.2
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1960 EFM520 installed in truck box
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404 with variable blower
Coal Size/Type: 404-nut, 520 rice ,anthracite for both

Re: How do I heat a Split Level Home??

PostBy: Sting On: Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:47 am

NJJoe wrote:Try to look at better insulation if you can which should be cheaper than overhauling a heating system and also running it constantly.



EXCELLENT advice Image

Conservation first -- then MAYBE conversion
Sting
 
Other Heating: BurnHAM=NG-gas

Re: How do I heat a Split Level Home??

PostBy: chimley On: Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:55 am

Carbon12...I DO NOT have a central AC system. I am likely going to put that in this spring. And I would like to have a unit that is capable of heating my entire home as well. However I would prefer to use coal as a primary (because of the great BTU's and the cost savings)...but would like the backup system as well.


My insulation situation is really not bad. Constructed in 1965, the home was a "5 STAR" home, rated by PPL (electric company) Windows are efficient. If anything, I could probably add an insulated garage door to help, but otherwise the home is pretty tight.
chimley
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 1980 DF 520

Re: How do I heat a Split Level Home??

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:01 pm

If you plan on putting in central A/C you will be in great shape to use that ductwork to distribute heat to the whole house with some kind of coal burning appliance.
Carbon12
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Other Heating: Heat Pump/Forced Hot Air Oil Furnace

Re: How do I heat a Split Level Home??

PostBy: windyhill4.2 On: Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:01 pm

Am I missing something from the original post ??? I reread it & haven't found where he says anything about his heating system running constantly & unable to get the house warm !! I read where he says that he would like ONE ( 1 ) one heating system to heat the whole house rather than 3 different systems to get the job done.So he can keep the electric heat for backup,install a coal furnace or boiler & solve the heating with 1 one system.
windyhill4.2
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1960 EFM520 installed in truck box
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404 with variable blower
Coal Size/Type: 404-nut, 520 rice ,anthracite for both

Re: How do I heat a Split Level Home??

PostBy: chimley On: Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:29 pm

windyhill.....yes, the house will get warm. But I just do not fancy the idea of running electric baseboard 24/7 for 5 months straight. I'm trying to approach this cautiously because I don't want to install a unit and find out it is not going to work. I am seeking the experience of the members of this forum to help make the best decision possible when I decide to re-configure my heating system. I have found information on the web in regards to heating a split level home, and I found that the split level design is a different animal and can be tricky. The previous owner----I dont know why they only put duct work in half the house? But I have only slept there 4 nights and I am driving myself crazy trying to keep a comfortable temperature with a thermostat is EVERY room, and juggling 3 different systems. my previous home was hot water/cast iron baseboard(EFM 520)...I'm spoiled, and I need to figure this out before next winter.

Check out the pic I drew...maybe it will help.
Attachments
Photo_00004.jpg
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split layout
[nepathumb]50541[/nepathumb]
chimley
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 1980 DF 520

Re: How do I heat a Split Level Home??

PostBy: NJJoe On: Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:39 pm

IMO its easier to run piping for hot water to radiators in each roon than to try and find the wall space to run ducting. Although you do have the ceiling space in the garage where you can run ducting and access the flooring of the bedrooms where you can install air registers and pipe into air there. Would that work in your home? That would seem like the easiest way to do it without needing a change in heating system. Later on you could change the oil hot air system for a coal system. I also like the suggestion of using a coal boiler to also give you DHW with a heat exchanger for the forced air.
NJJoe
 

Re: How do I heat a Split Level Home??

PostBy: ShawninNY On: Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:29 pm

Boiler in garage ( heated garage)easy to pipe to bedrooms , and plumb the exist duct work with water to air exchanger,plus dhw
ShawninNY
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Waterford/penn royal in garage
Stove/Furnace Model: 1994 Erin

Re: How do I heat a Split Level Home??

PostBy: windyhill4.2 On: Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:33 pm

windyhill4.2 wrote:Go with a Leisure Line boiler,run pipes to radiators in the part of the house with no duct work,use a water to air heat exchanger in the duct work for the part with duct work, & with the boiler you can do your domestic hot water too, making a boiler payback even sooner. A good used boiler could be another option, or if running duct work to the part without duct work is easier/cheaper ,then go with a hot air unit. Or spend $$$$$$$ on new windows & still have 3 different heating systems,i would go with the boiler !!

After looking at your layout drawing i still would recommend the above,& keep the electric baseboard for backup as there is no upkeep maintenance with electric .My last post about you being able to keep warm was in reference to those who thought you should waste $$$$ on new windows & lots on insulation,rather than to upgrade to one heating system,that being coal. KEEP THE BOILER/FURNACE OUT OF THE GARAGE !!!! fire & gasoline go :blowup: ,most areas have restrictions on garage installations.
windyhill4.2
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1960 EFM520 installed in truck box
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Crane 404 with variable blower
Coal Size/Type: 404-nut, 520 rice ,anthracite for both

Re: How do I heat a Split Level Home??

PostBy: Carbon12 On: Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:37 pm

Yup, if you have electric throughout the house, dump the oil furnace, install coal boiler with hot water coil to existing ductwork and run baseboard where needed.
Carbon12
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Keystoker KA-6
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite
Other Heating: Heat Pump/Forced Hot Air Oil Furnace

Re: How do I heat a Split Level Home??

PostBy: chimley On: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:04 pm

i guess i'm just a little unsure about running pipes all over my house...and cast iron baseboard...about $100/ft. maybe???

it is probably the most reliable way to heat this split level....I'm gonna have to give this some thought.

I had cast iron baseboard in my last house...and my wife said she wished she could take it with us........is aluminum fin an option that I will be as satisfied with?
chimley
 
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 1980 DF 520