additional heating

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Old 11-18-19, 09:27 PM
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additional heating

We have a number of smaller rooms where we need some additional heat. Can anyone advise on an efficient electric heat source? I.E. - small fan heaters, flat panel wall mount heaters, etc? We don't need a lot of heat but need to get the best bang for the buck. Probably needing something like 20 extra heat sources.
We don't necessarily like the idea of electric heat but feel that it may be an easy fix and/or install to make this situation work. Like I said, we are wanting to find the best efficiency?
Like a trick question....
Thanks
 
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Old 11-18-19, 10:58 PM
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Tell us more about how your current system is set up and not doing the job and we might be able to come up with a better solution - 20 electric heaters sounds like a nightmare to me.
 
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Old 11-19-19, 09:37 AM
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20 extra heat sources?
As you have 20 individual rooms that need more heat?
Are they not heating properly now or do you just want to zone?
 
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Old 11-19-19, 10:18 AM
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Electric heat is all the same efficiency. No difference between brands. Can you increase the heat you have in those areas now?
 
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Old 11-19-19, 09:03 PM
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Thanks. We have a small motel in a cold part of the country in which all rooms are heated with the in-wall "ptac"? units. They are costly to run to try to maintain heat enough to keep pipes from freezing especially when the outside temps start running below 0. Small space heaters directly in the water areas seems to be an idea but not sure?

We have toyed with the idea of installing central heat, water or forced air, for basic heat for frost protection. We have 3 "legs" @150' long with @6-7 rooms per run. There are a substantial amount of leaky and poorly insulated walls and foundations as well stemming from YEARS of additions and remodels (before us). Hot water would seem the easiest to pull, but the amount/length of baseboards per room would be prohibitive. Forced air through the attic(s) in combination with the partial crawlspaces sounds good but return air per room is prohibitive (I personally feel that there are enough leaks that pressurization/air flow wouldn't be an issue).

Many of you will tell us to "fix the leaks" and understandably so. But, remodeling all the rooms to deal with this is also not a feasible option. Currently, an ability to maintain a 40-50f temp is really what we need.

Oh, and some of the water lines run in the leaky crawlspace and some run in the attics. Not an easy fix and a very undesirable situation. But, at this point, it is what it is. AND, all this being said, cash flow is extremely limited.
So, any ideas?
 
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Old 11-19-19, 09:24 PM
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Installing forced air ductwork between rooms is against code. So you’d wind up buying and installing 20 separate systems.
Could go VRF and have an indoor unit for each room. But that’s big $$$.
Electric heat is 100% efficient but can be expensive. Not to mention you’ll need a big power supply for 20 electric convectors.
Hydronic is doable but how would you control it? 20 different zones?
 
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Old 11-19-19, 09:52 PM
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We appreciate your reply.
question: You say 'between rooms'? Our thoughts would be through the attic &/or crawlspaces and a drop to each room. Is this also a code issue? I have had experience in that (in a separate build) and remember that we had to install electronically controlled dampers for fire control; is this the same issue you are referring to?
Wether air or hydronic, we are not concerned with over heating the rooms as we are really trying for minimal heat - the individual rooms can be easily heated to a comfortable range with the current wall heaters when occupied. We would try to have one loop or main vent to heat all rooms as equally as possible. Hopefully, one thermostat or control point. Again, we are thinking frost protection vs full on heat.
Our problem is that the current wall units seem to be extremely inefficient and very costly to use to 'maintain' the rooms at a minimum level. Additionally, none of the wall units have a lower temp setting. Mostly in the 60f range.
 
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Old 11-20-19, 12:19 AM
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So you're talking about these individual units be used instead of the units in place to heat the full room? That might make sense but you're still looking at quite a bit of upfront cost so I would be looking at the math to figure out how long until you break even, as it might not be soon enough to be worth it.
 
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Old 11-20-19, 12:38 AM
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Our problem is that the current wall units seem to be extremely inefficient and very costly to use
I can not imagine the cost of adding any kind of additional supplemental heat to each room is going to be any easier/cheaper than the units you currently have.

Cant these be upgraded!

And even though you mentioned, the inefficiencies of poor insulation & air sealing is just going to suck every $ you put into this, regardless of what you do that has to be addressed!
 
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Old 11-20-19, 08:42 AM
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I believe, but I may be wrong, that any ducting between guest rooms must only be for bathroom exhaust or makeup fresh air.
You’ll also need fire dampers between rooms for any ductwork.
Where would you get return air for this system? You can’t only pull from one room, and it’s against code to mix air from multiple guest spaces.
In any case you’ll have to get an engineer and your local municipality involved for permitting due to the fact that this is a hotel, as well as the fire inspector for any duct penetrating fire break walls.
This is a bit above a diy type project.
I think your going to spend more money on this then you think.
You have 2 problems, the heat type and how to monitor the room temperature. And unless you use a proprietary VRF system they are separate projects.
 
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Old 11-20-19, 09:18 AM
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Code requires fresh air to all rooms. Just heat the air a bit hotter and problem solved.
 
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Old 11-20-19, 11:42 AM
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If the issue is avoiding freezing pipes, what if you put in a re-circulation pump on the hot water feed?

As the PTACs fail, replace with models that have a heat pump option to control cost of heating.
 
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Old 11-20-19, 02:33 PM
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Tough situation -

Well, sounds like you ALSO need to invest in some pipe insulation

First idea -
I'd consider a $15 OFF-at-41-degrees, mechanical line-voltage thermostat to each PTAC unit. Question - are the PTAC units "solid state", i.e. if the power goes out, and comes back on, do you have to do anything to turn them to HEAT mode?

Second idea-
Does each rooms have the old-fashioned floor polisher / commercial vacuum cleaner 240v outlets? If considering electric heat in a patch-work building, I'd worry about overloading the 120v lines, and use 240v wiring if it's available.

Finally -
all else fails, you might end up with a bunch of granny-style-fake-woodstove electric heaters.
 

Last edited by Hal_S; 11-20-19 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 11-25-19, 06:18 PM
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Thanks for all the good comments.

We put the question here to get good opinions and maybe some different options. While many of the thoughts have been through our door, it is good to get some one else's opinions. It is a difficult situation and all easy fixes are full of holes not to mention that it is on a low budget.
The electrical costs of keeping things warm with the ptacs are outrageous. And, had we done some thing (not sure what it will or would've been), it could have been paid back by now. But, no easy, inexpensive fix (duh, right!).
We will keep on plugging. Thanks
 
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