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Thread: cost to convert house to electric heat?

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    wdoa is offline New Member
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    cost to convert house to electric heat?

    Currently living in the Northeast where heating oil is skyrocketing at an ever increasing rate. Considering converting the house to electric (something that I would have considered insanity years ago).
    Can someone give me a ballpark figure of what it might cost to convert (Yeah, I know the only real figure could be given by an electrician after they came into the house and got an estimate). Here are the basics...
    The house was built in 1885, about 1400 sq. ft, 2 floors. The current electric is two services. 1) 75 AMP service w/breaker for electric hot water heater 2) 100amp service with breaker box for everything else in the house.

    The electrical is a mish mash of several generations of electrical work. There is some active knob & tube feeding ceiling fans and ceiling lights. There are many outlets that are basic 2 prong outlets, but I don't believe they are fed by knob & tube, there are also several modern grounded 3 prong outlets (most of them I had put in after I bought the house, so I know the wiring on them is modern). I know the knob & tube will have to go. We tried to get the house insulated a few years ago, but the company couldn't do it until we get rid of the knob & tube. So basically we are looking at replacing the knob & tube, probably kicking the 100AMP service to 200AMP and rewiring associated with adding electrical registers and thermostats in the house, maybe replacing some of the 2 prong outlets.
    So what ball park am I looking at for $$$
    Any input is appreciated, thanks!
    -Mike

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    HayZee518's Avatar
    HayZee518 is offline Deity
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    you say northeast. what state does this mean? I'd check first with your utility if they still offer a cut-rate for all electric houses. you're probably right about changing the service to a 200 amp 40 circuit panel because the baseboard heaters take a two pole breaker on each. how many rooms and approx what size? [length X width.] kitchen will take kick space heaters that go under the cabinets

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    wdoa is offline New Member
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    Massachusetts. 1 bathroom 5x20, kitchen 20x8, 1 living room 15x15, bedroom 15x10, front hall 4x15, bedroom 20x15, bedroom 10x10, small room 7x12 bedroom 8x10.. these are all aproximate.

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    HayZee518's Avatar
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    OK, I was a licensed electrician in western mass - turners falls/greenfield area. I wired houses in Northfield, Turners, greenfield, leverett, erving, athol etc. I wired up the driving range on route 202. I wired up an old house in greenfield for new service and lighting and outlets no electric heat. total here was about $12,000. Had another brand new house in Northfield with electric heat, 200 amp service, the cadillac of electric heat (singer) this came to about $18,000 included the inspection fees etc. Mass has their own offshoot to the NEC code. Outlets cannot be installed above a unit of electric heat because of the hazard of draping cords that may heat up and cause a fire. outlets integral with the heater is ok. Your electric heat will be installed on any "cold" wall that is any outside wall below a window. All this was in or around 1994. I'll bet a figure of $22,000 isn't unreasonable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wdoa View Post
    Currently living in the Northeast where heating oil is skyrocketing at an ever increasing rate. Considering converting the house to electric (something that I would have considered insanity years ago).
    It's STILL insanity!!
    I won't comment on pricing other than to say IMO you'd be nuts to go all electric with ANY fossil fuel existing in the house.

    Look at it logically. They burn fossil fuels to make the electricity.

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    I'm not sure it makes sense for a whole house the size of yours. But you might consider closing off some rooms for the winter no matter what kind of heat you use. We have a very small (2 br) house in upstate NY and close off 1 bedroom in winter. We have no basement for an oil burner but have gas heat and are wired for electric heat too. I think they are about the same costwise right now--maybe gas is slightly higher. The most important thing is to use lots of insulation--under the floor, in the attic and on the walls.

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    wdoa is offline New Member
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    Thanks everyone for your input. It doesn't look financially feasible to do the electric conversion plan, however I still would like to get the knob & tube gotten rid of so that we can at least put some insulation in because right now the insulation is minimal (tiny bit in the attic, none in the outside walls). We already now block off the entire upstairs, which actually only gets heat anyway through vents from the first floor or electric space heaters.
    Thanks again all.

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    allynirrigation is offline New Member
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    Energy Audit

    Have you considered getting an energy audit done to see were you get the best bang for your buck regarding heating. In Canada you can get and audit done for under $200.00 the report will tell you where you are using the most energy. Basically the technician will observe heating unit, windows, all appliances, and do a pressure loss air leak test on the house. The report will indicate were your money is best spent regarding energy savings. You may also qualify for government grants for upgrading.
    I suspect insulation upgrade, after getting rid of the knob and tube electrical, and leak stopping, but without knowing the age and efficiency of existing furnace it is just a guess.
    I achieved about a 30% reduction in energy costs by insulating, replacing windows/doors, and some leak stopping. A heat pump would have given me an addition 14% but that was not in the budget. House is a lot more comfortable winter and summer, also reduced the noise inside the house. I done most of the work myself and the government still sent me a $437.00 cheque.

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    Jan & I live in Chicopee, Mass (just north of Springfield in W. Mass) and originally this house had oil heat & gas hot water.

    About 5 yrs ago she had electric heat installed, and shortly after that the electric company told her if she were to change from gas to electric hot water the house would be listed as "All Electric". At the time her old water heater was about on its last legs so she began pricing to get an electric water heater. To her compete surprise, she received an add in her electric bill that said the electric company leases water heaters. She called the electric company and discussed the idea with them. When all was said and done, they installed an 80gal commercial electric water heater free, and she pays a mere $15 a month for the lease. To sweeten the pot, since it is a lease instead of outright ownnership, the electric company is responsible for all maintenance on the water heater as long as she keeps it.

    When I first came here three years ago I thought she was crazy for having an 80gal water heater, but according to her, the options were the 80gal or a 110gal water heater.

    Out of curiosity I pulled out some of her old heating oil bills and gas bills to figure out her average consumption, then I contacted both the oil company and gas company to see what that would cost in todays prices. When I added the oil price, gas price and her current electric bill I discovered her actual monthly cost is almost $100 less than what it would be if we still had the gas and oil. I would never have believed it if I didn't see the facts for myself.

    But never mind all that. One day I got curios as to how much that 80gal water heater could actually deliver before the temp started dropping, so I sat a seat in the shower and decided I would set it for a hot shower and time how long it could maintain the temp. One hour and twenty minutes later I was beginning to feel a bit water logged but there was no noticable change in temp.

    As Hayzee mentioned above, the house is now listed as "All Electric" which initially dropped the Kw/Hr rate from $0.15 to $0.11, then they installed a smart meter and during off peak hours our rate drops to $0.09 Kw/hr.

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    electric heat

    the OP has a five year span on the subject. You think anyone will even read the posting? I doubt it! Electric heat as in an "all electric house" has gone competitive. Nat Gas and Propane have risen dramatically. Oil, #2 and kerosene have gone through the roof with $3.89 per gallon.
    Rates for installations have gone way up! And since the inception of the rule of using Arc Fault Circuit Breakers is now a requirement for all rooms in all dwellings, at about $40 a pop per breaker [si9ngle pole] two pole breakers in the Arc Fault range are almost doubled, so figure $80 per protection for a heater [they operate at 240 volts] Copper has skyrocketed in per foot cost] Your heaters will use 12/2 with ground. so with that in mind a spool [12/2 w ground X 250 feet] = around 200 dollars a reel. Voltage drop is another thing to consider. Total length in a run is one wire out and one wire back giving your total length. A heater drawing 18 amps at the load 70 feet away from the panel would exhibit a total length of 140 feet. Voltage drop rules say no utilization equipment shall see more than a 3% voltage drop along a 100 feet length. At 140 feet you are above the 100 foot minimum. So start looking at a run of 10/2 with ground romex, which is about $300 a spool of 250 foot length.

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