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Anyone move their radiant heat to an electric furnace?

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Joined: May 4 2007
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Joined: May 4 2007

[Sorry, post was added too fast.]

We're looking at moving to solar panels.  The majority of our PGE bill is due to gas in the winter.  In the winter, natural gas is double or triple our electrical.  We have a cool roof installed in 2009 so our roof is very efficient.  

Currently, our radiant heat is controlled by a gas furnace.  I'm wondering if anyone's moved to an electrical version?  That way, I could take advantage of the 5+ KwH system we're considering.

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Joined: Aug 2 2011

I have been asking the same question. Most folks including HVAC folks seem th think the economics won't work. I am still not convinced though.
For example, my gas bills are close to $100/wk in winter. Electricity is barely about 50 per month. I feel that a combination of electric boiler and electric tankless offset by a large solar panel should make it worthwhile.

I will be interested in hearing what the forum members think.
--raj

Joined: Apr 20 2006

I need to apologize. These last several years, I have told many people that you can produce three times the heat per dollar with natural gas compared to electricity. It used to be true, but the recent increases in natural gas cost have made a difference.
My furnace is 80% efficient. Electricity is 100%, because there is no heated exhaust...at least not at your house. The heated exhaust is at the power plant...where natural gas is burned to produce electricity. Excepting hydro-electric and nuclear.
Using electricity at my house would have changed my gas bill of $147.54 to an additional electric bill of $316.20. That is 215% of the original cost.
But wait. I pay Palo Alto power rates. Palo Alto power costs 13.64 cents per 1,000 watts used for an hour. No tiered charges. Below is the residential PG&E Rate Schedule

Tier 1 = (Baseline) $0.12845 per 1,000 watts used for an hour
Tier 2 (101-130% of baseline) $0.14602
Tier 3 (131-200% of baseline) $0.29518
Tier 4 (201-300% of baseline) $0.33518 this is almost 3x the baseline rate
Tier 5 (Over300% of baseline) $0.33518
So Baseline amounts vary per season and climate zone.
What this chart really means is this: If you can understand the chart, and find the actual rates, you likely have a good enough job to be able to pay your utility bill. Or, in other words, if you use a lot of electricity in the wrong month, you will pay big bucks for the privilege.
This tiered system compels some solar shoppers to install a system that only produces enough power to keep them away from the expensive power. These systems pay for themselves faster, because they are replacing more expensive power.
To me, and most of the rest of us; This is like digging a well in your backyard big enough to produce half of the water you will be using.
So, for most of us, it will cost at least three times as much to heat with electricity compared to natural gas. When you make your own electricity, it can be free, or close to it, once the solar system pays for itself.
Randy from Dura-Foam Roofing and Solar Center

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