Backup heat
Click here for Top Ten Discussions. CLICK HERE for Q & A Homepage
Receive Free Rental Owner Updates Email:  
MrLandlord Q & A
Backup heat (by S i d [MO]) Feb 4, 2022 9:47 AM
       Backup heat (by NE [PA]) Feb 4, 2022 9:51 AM
       Backup heat (by MikeA [TX]) Feb 4, 2022 10:13 AM
       Backup heat (by LeePookie [IN]) Feb 4, 2022 10:19 AM
       Backup heat (by Jo [CT]) Feb 4, 2022 10:25 AM
       Backup heat (by Small potatoes [NY]) Feb 4, 2022 11:10 AM
       Backup heat (by Roy [AL]) Feb 4, 2022 11:17 AM
       Backup heat (by Richard [MI]) Feb 4, 2022 11:18 AM
       Backup heat (by gevans [SC]) Feb 4, 2022 11:28 AM
       Backup heat (by Richard [MI]) Feb 4, 2022 11:35 AM
       Backup heat (by Jo [CT]) Feb 4, 2022 11:59 AM
       Backup heat (by WMH [NC]) Feb 4, 2022 11:59 AM
       Backup heat (by Robert J [CA]) Feb 4, 2022 1:22 PM
       Backup heat (by WL [CA]) Feb 4, 2022 1:48 PM
       Backup heat (by Busy [WI]) Feb 4, 2022 2:04 PM
       Backup heat (by don [PA]) Feb 4, 2022 3:14 PM
       Backup heat (by Barb [MO]) Feb 4, 2022 4:15 PM
       Backup heat (by Lana [IN]) Feb 4, 2022 5:15 PM
       Backup heat (by LordZen [MA]) Feb 4, 2022 6:14 PM
       Backup heat (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Feb 4, 2022 6:26 PM
       Backup heat (by 6x6 [TN]) Feb 4, 2022 6:34 PM
       Backup heat (by 6x6 [TN]) Feb 4, 2022 6:42 PM
       Backup heat (by Allym [NJ]) Feb 4, 2022 8:17 PM
       Backup heat (by Allym [NJ]) Feb 4, 2022 8:19 PM
       Backup heat (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Feb 4, 2022 10:13 PM
       Backup heat (by Hollis [MA]) Feb 5, 2022 7:57 AM
       Backup heat (by Jo [CT]) Feb 5, 2022 8:07 AM
       Backup heat (by Allym [NJ]) Feb 5, 2022 2:26 PM
       Backup heat (by Roy [AL]) Feb 5, 2022 4:50 PM
       Backup heat (by Wilma [PA]) Feb 5, 2022 4:59 PM
       Backup heat (by Jiggyman [NY]) Feb 5, 2022 5:18 PM
       Backup heat (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Feb 5, 2022 7:53 PM
       Backup heat (by Roy [AL]) Feb 5, 2022 8:53 PM
       Backup heat (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Feb 6, 2022 5:14 AM
       Backup heat (by BillW [NJ]) Feb 6, 2022 11:14 AM
       Backup heat (by LordZen [MA]) Feb 6, 2022 11:16 AM
       Backup heat (by Ken [NY]) Feb 6, 2022 11:42 AM
       Backup heat (by BillW [NJ]) Feb 6, 2022 2:23 PM
       Backup heat (by Keith Curtis Koontz [AK]) Feb 7, 2022 5:13 PM
       Backup heat (by Wilma [PA]) Feb 7, 2022 7:35 PM
       Backup heat (by art [AZ]) Feb 8, 2022 6:53 AM
       Backup heat (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Feb 10, 2022 11:46 PM

Backup heat (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 9:47 AM

This time of year the calls for "my furnace quit working" seem to come at the worst time: Friday at 4:59 PM or over the weekend. Of course, usually it seems like they've known it wasn't working when they left for work at 7:30 AM that same day, but for reasons beyond my comprehension the tenant waits all day long until the house is 30 degrees below where it should be and it is all but certain I would have to pay overtime wages to my HVAC tech. To avoid this, I keep a ready supply of space heaters handy and drop them off until Monday morning, then I go pick them back up as time permits.

This creates extra stress and time hassle factor, though, so a few years ago I started to install baseboard electric heaters in bedrooms whenever I had extra space in the elctric pannel. Not enough to heat the whole house to a toasty warm, but enough to "limp along" to where I don't have to drop off space heaters. Seems to have worked well.

I also have a few places that are electric only (furnace, heat pump, or baseboard), and if they have gas service I install one of those "blue flame" ventless fireplaces that run around $200-$300 for a unit that will heat up to 600 sq ft. Tenants are instructed that this is not a primary heat source and should be used as a supplement to keep electric costs low as they are 99% efficient (have to burn clean since they are ventless), but it also serves as a back up if electric power goes down due to snow / ice / tree limbs / someone plows their car into an electric pole, etc. They work without electric power as there is just a gas valve and a sparker to light the pilot flame.

Anyone else out there have a "back up" heat strategy? Plusses, minuses, pros, cons? Just trying to keep things as stress free and not wreck my "freeeeeeedom!" as much as possible without going overboard.

Backup heat (by NE [PA]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 9:51 AM

Not too many back up heat systems in rentals but I always rip out furnaces and install electric baseboard if its applicable. Helps with screening too, in my opinion. Tenant has to be in good standing with power to get it in their name.

Backup heat (by MikeA [TX]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 10:13 AM

I just had my first no-heat call yesterday. I've learned after a number of calls to always ask them to change the filter and try it again. Also, to make sure they aren't using one of the super allergen filters. Half the time, the no heat call is caused because the unit shut down because there wasn't enough air flow. For some reason, I forgot on this call and sent my HVAC guy out the same morning. Sure enough, the filter was dirty, simple replacement fixed the problem. I'll bill the tenant for that one.

The last one was caused when the gas company contractor who is replacing the main line in the alley disconnected the gas. When we went to hook it back up, they found that there was a gas leak in the yard. Tenant was without gas for a day while I got the plumber to put a temp gas line in.

I've got a good HVAC guy and my units are well maintained so no more calls than I gel (that's not a filter) I just keep a few space heaters to drop off.

Backup heat (by LeePookie [IN]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 10:19 AM

In our apartments with PTACs, we always have 2. One in main living area and 1 in bedroom. And one spare on site in mechanical room.

I like the baseboard heat idea in the bedrooms. Cheap, reliable and easy to install. Thanks!

Backup heat (by Jo [CT]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 10:25 AM

In all my rentals, I have these heating stoves called "gas on gas". It's a regular stove with 4 burners and an oven, but there is a little door on the side that contains the heater.

You do not need electricity, they have a pilot light, so I love the fact that the apartment will stay warm in an outage.

They were made in the 60's and I can still get part on line. They are truly great. They are vented. and throw a lot of heat.

In my 3 family house, the first floor also has a furnace and radiators...owner put that in because she lived there.

The heat can't get to the back bedrooms, so on my 2nd floor I too put in electric baseboard so the bedroom doors can be closed for privacy and they are still warm.

In my 3rd floor, I did the same thing with electric baseboard for warmth with closed doors, however, that heating stove wasn't worth fixing, so I bought a regular gas cooking stove and a Rinnai ventless heater, no open flame. The heat will roast you it's a great heater...however, because I have electric baseboards in the 3 other rooms, the ventless heater qualifies as a "secondary" source of heat. This heater needs electricity to run, but you can buy a battery back up if necessary (I didn't)

In my own home, I have gas furnace and radiators, also a cute 25,000 btu ventless gas stove in my downstairs living room that I use on chilly days when I don't want to heat my whole house...heats whole downstairs nicely..cozy too!

A few months ago I purchased a ventless blue flame gas heater for my basement. No electricity required to run. In the event that I lose power, this heater will heat the whole basement and keep the pipes from freezing.

I am a "prepper". I like having inverters and other items handy "just in case". I live in a city and can count on one hand the amount of times I have lost power, but when we have very cold weather, I like knowing my pipes won't freeze, I do think about that often.

Backup heat (by Small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 11:10 AM

Sid, along the lines of the heater post, if a tenant needs to use the back up heater I have stopped running over to them, especially if they can't be bothered to call after 5 pm on Friday. I say if you want a heater I'll put it on the porch and you can come get it. I may still drop one off, but their lack of urgency is no longer my crisis.

As for the no heat call, I have my own checklist of questions - is the red switch off (that happened a lot in one place), thermostat have batteries, is it on, and can you send me a picture of it. most never figure out how to program the tstat even though they have the manual, lol.

in my fire building the primary heater in the garden level unit is a vented rinnai gas wall heater. it is awesome. code says it cannot be the primary heat, so there are Baseboards in each room.

Jo, I got rid of my last gas on gas stove a few years ago. National Grid had been red tagging them and I had a grant, so I put in forced air.

NE, my all electric units in the 4 family are hard to rent. prospects see electric and they see high costs. everyone asks what are the heating bills. I know from previous residents that the electricity bill in the winter is about 140 in a unit renting for 600. I always say it depends on how hot you like it.

Backup heat (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 11:17 AM


Many years ago, I tried baseboard electric heaters and my tenants kept covering them with furniture or dirty clothes and then called and said they had no heat. I will never install baseboard heat again. These same houses now have 'recessed in the walls' electric heaters work great but you may need to upgrade your breaker box to handle the multiple room 240 volt heaters.

Backup heat (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 11:18 AM

As I work on my old trailers I typically remove the central heater and replace it with those ventless wall heaters. These come in 10K, 20K and 30K sizes and run about $200-$250 each. Typically, bedrooms get a 10K unit and the main area gets a 30K unit. I get a gas guy to route the lines and make sure all the hookups are good and sized right. So about $900 total and it's done. This also gives a backup in case one goes out.

I made this decision because the cost of a new central unit installed was way above this $900 by a lot. Plus, the under the trailer duct system is prone to coming apart, animal damage and condensation which can cause mold and other problems.

Also, HVAC companies are busy and often can't get to the place to do repairs quickly, charge $100+ per hour, have to wait for parts on occasion and more. Tenants then want to be put up in a motel at my expense. It's just not worth it.

By using several of these cheap heaters I've had no such problems since I started doing this. I can go to any number of stores and buy them if needed. Also, there are occasionally used ones on marketplace or craigslist for about $50 and I'll pick these up when I see them. I just keep a couple in storage in case one goes out.

As a bonus, when I change out a central heating unit, if it works at all I can sell these used for $200-$400 pretty easily.

The electric baseboard heaters are also good deals. Here I can get one for about $70 for a 6 footer and have an electrician run a dedicated 220V circuit to it for a fair price. This reduces the cost to run it verses a 110 v circuit.

Being in northern Michigan, I don't worry about a/c as it only gets warm enough to even consider it for about 2 to 3 weeks a year. If a tenant wants a/c they are free to get their own window unit. $50 used or about $125 new at Wal-Mart. I got good advice on this site to always install these myself instead of letting tenants do it as the tenants often don't care or do a poor job and damage the trailer. I will build a free standing support for it and install it where they will just jam it in a window, often sloped into the trailer and cause damage and often water damage as well. It's easier and less expensive to do it myself and prevent this damage.


Backup heat (by gevans [SC]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 11:28 AM

Here in central SC, heat is required by law but not ac. It should be the other way around!

I RARELY have any heat out calls.

AC calls are more frequent and more urgent.

We have all heat pumps. I have a few space heaters for backup and I have NEVER ONE TIME had to use them. I have a couple of portable AC units and yes, I have used them a few times.

BTW, it was 73 and partly sunny here yesterday. Don't hate. LOL

Backup heat (by Richard [MI]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 11:35 AM


8 below zero here. But, no hobo's.

Stay warm my friend. --75.7.xx.xx

Backup heat (by Jo [CT]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 11:59 AM

Small potatoes, Too bad that they were tagging those stoves. Our town and gas company gives us no problems with them however, I did replace one as it just was not worth keeping. They are fantastic though I have to say they have been hitting my apartments for years and all the water pipes are in the kitchen where the stove is so I dont have to fear frozen pipes.

Backup heat (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 11:59 AM

We have moved away from central air unless not having would be simply ridiculous (2-story townhouses, larger units, etc.) We use through-wall heat pumps in our small cottages (think cheap mini-splits with no outside unit) that last as long as 10 years, average 6 or so. They have gone up so cost per year averages $100-150 now (less than one service call on a central HVAC.) If one dies, we rip and replace.

Amana makes them and AJ Madison online is the cheapest by at least $100 over Home Depot.

Not as efficient as a mini-split, or as silent, but better than electric heat or air by far, and much cheaper. The one mini-split we have out there benefits no one but the tenant, whose power bills are almost nothing even in the coldest or hottest months.

Backup heat (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 1:22 PM

I live in Los Angeles so when it get really cold, around 60 degrees, the tenants will start to complain. For this and other reasons I have several back up heating systems.

1) Free standing electric space heaters. Various types depending on if the tenant has children or pets. From Ceramic, oil filled, forced air around lighted coils in class tubes, etc.

2) I also have a bunch of old free standing gas heaters with a rear vent discharge--direct vent or into a stack. These are from my 16 unit that I converted over to wall heaters around 15 years ago. So I can run flex line from an old heaters gas source and vent it out a window using ridged two wall exhausts ducting. This is when I'm evicting a tenant and they claim my central heating/air stopped working and the City expects me to replace it for $7,500, when two independent heating companies say it's fine and working.

Backup heat (by WL [CA]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 1:48 PM

I like installing heat/cool units in apartments. Prevents the habitability arguments during evictions. Was evicting one tenant, who then claimed in the answer that the gas heater didn't work. Went in with a witness handyman, turned on the heat/cool 18K btu wall unit and set it on heat, and let it blow hot air into the apt. He then said he didn't know it was a heater also. LOL

Backup heat (by Busy [WI]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 2:04 PM

Lol! "When it gets cold, around sixty degrees. " ...that's the temp I start thinking its time to switch from shorts and a t-shirt to something with longer sleeves... but, when we lives in Texas for six years, I couldn't believe how people up north could stand it. Ya get acclimated.

73 degrees?!? I start to sweat about then!

Through The Wall A/C, (TTW AC) with back up electric heater. Menards keeps them in stock, so lazy me just uses those. Someday , maybe, I'll nerd out and study up on the difference between those and the Amana heat pumps, though, if I recall, the heat pumps don't work as well for heat when its single-digit cold, so, might not work as back up heat source.

I was just having tenants use their own window A/C, and I help with some installs. ( others would be insulted, and they know what they are doing.) However, one house came with an old, old, old Sears TTW A/C. I decided to reframe it and put in the one from Menards. That sold me on the TTW units. Its always at the ready. The one house, about 650 sq ft plus basement, thats all they use for A/C. If it were me, I'd also add a window unit in bedroom. Gradually, my other houses are getting the TTW A/C with back up electric. Central A/C units tend to 'go walkies' in my area, even if caged in, so no $2k a/c systems for me. And, having the A/C separate allows the electric heat for emergencies.

One situation I did encounter early on was battling within a family over heat and A/C. Because the TTW A/C is independent of the gas furnace (primary heat for most here,) the two tenants were running BOTH, trying to out-do the other. A/C blew directly towards thermostat. Oh, they must have been on energy assistance! Better screening has yielded better tenants, so maybe won't have that again.

Backup heat (by don [PA]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 3:14 PM

I like your plan, Sid, except for the ventless gas heater. Too much risk of CO poisoning, in my opinion.

My places are brick row houses, and the beauty of them is that even if the heat goes out, the heated homes on each side will transfer enough heat to keep it above 50. Three or four electric space heaters will get it comfortable.

I have one very old house where the people that rehabbed it before I owned it could not figure out how to get ductwork from the gas furnace to all of the rooms, so they installed electric baseboard in some places. This came in handy when the gas furnace went out and needed to be replaced. The electric baseboards kept it warm enough until the work could be done.

Backup heat (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 4:15 PM

I've got some old 1940s built places with the old Williams Wall furnaces in the living rooms. They are both awesome and a hassle at the same time.

All my new construction gets central heat/air. All electric.

Around me, people see gas and run the other way. Everyone wants all electric because then it is all on one bill. Funny how things are different all over.

My new places are well insulated, so the bills for ALL the utilities (water, sewer, electric and trash) tend to be low year round, often as low as $125/month, where the minimum fees are half that.

I love the quesiton about utilities from people. My response is "That all depends on your personal temperature preferences. We've had people who run around in short shorts and a tank top then complain that their heating bill is $200 a month, but we've had others who put on a sweatshirt and keep theirs to under $75/month. Think about which of these you are."

Backup heat (by Lana [IN]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 5:15 PM

Most of my units with GFA furnaces also have backup baseboard in bedrooms which is a real help. I have been using Rinnai ventless gas heaters now for about 5-6 years and love them. I heat my house with one plus a wood stove. I was gradually putting them in units with baseboard, but you have to have a gas water heater or stove as well or tenants won't turn the gas on.

Backup heat (by LordZen [MA]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 6:14 PM

This is a very interesting post!


Backup heat (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 6:26 PM

In the past buildings were poorly insulated as energy was cheap was the solution to install a larger HVAC system to cover for heat loss and heat gain. HVAC equipment in a poorly insulated building will have work longer along with more likely to fail as there more wear and tear. If building was super insulated then there would be no need for a HVAC system at all as the building would be net zero. In the house using a high efficiency power vented furnace where replaced last year. Since having a EPA rated wood stove the house is easily heated on these extreme cold days and nights. It is going to take time to rip out all the garbage fiberglass insulation which has air pockets and mold. Spray foam insulation has no air movement along with installing bubble wrap over studs to completely have a air tight system. If pallets or wood in the yard is used no carbon tax or harmonized sales tax so in the end able to keep heating costs low. In the apartment buildings always installed two gas boilers so in the event of boiler failing would be able to heat building on weekends until boiler was fixed.

Backup heat (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 6:34 PM

Walls Overalls and a military mummy bag for sleeping.

Backup heat (by 6x6 [TN]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 6:42 PM

I got a call a few years back, late Christmas Eve, that the heat was out, and they were having guest over the next day.

Robert Ontario, In a net zero house in Canada, is there also no need for heat?

Robert J, I would consider 60 degrees chilly because I get cold easy, but not really cold. Like Busy said, funny how things are different in different areas.

Backup heat (by Allym [NJ]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 8:17 PM

So I have baseboard auxiliary heat in the duplex, the Cute Cape Cod. I did this because there is one central heater for both floors and someone was always too cold or too warm with the heater controlled from downstairs. This way either floor can get some extra heat where needed. Newer heater there. Upstairs has them in every room because the main heat doesn't get up there as well except in the kitchen. Downstairs they are in the two bedrooms. These have huge windows and even though they are double pen, they still conduct cold in. It drops right off the windows. Used to live there. I have some back up units in case heat goes out which happened two years ago. I replaced both heaters in that duplex since they were exactly the same age and unit and I did not want that to happen again. Third duplex has boilers and they must be 15 years old now so I keep in touch with repair guys that have a boiler guy on staff. They are Aruba brand so supposed to be tough and long lived. My personal one is a Burnham and less than 10 years old but I still worry. I have only one ceramic heater spare and this year it goes out on the porch for a couple hours a day since I rescued some cats who prefer the enclosed porch. I also boil a huge pot of water and carry it out there as a giant radiator. For my home I would like to get an outdoor tenant in case anything really bad happened like in texas. We had 9 degrees overnight for days so it has been bad. --108.24.xx.xx

Backup heat (by Allym [NJ]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 8:19 PM

That should read I would like to get an outdoor "tent" and set it up indoors. --108.24.xx.xx

Backup heat (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Posted on: Feb 4, 2022 10:13 PM

Net zero buildings have already been built where there is no need to be connected to the grid where power is taken from solar panels. You Tube has videos about net zero construction where the attic is R 70 to R 90 along with walls R 50 so there is very little heat transfer. One apartment building had two block walls with spray foam between walls where on top floor rental unit did not have heat on if the rental unit below was rented as heat went through the concrete floors. During the winter months it gets a colder here then in central Us. The best type of walls with new construction are with spray foam. Wood frame construction the studs will transfer more heat then the insulated section of a wall. Suppose took a typical building then installed 2" to 4" of insulation board then put stucco on outside that would reduce heat transfer considerably. Have spray foamed a few walls in house where then installed bubble wrap where that has made significant difference. Basically fiberglass insulation is the worst insulation out there where after while there sags which transfers heat.

Backup heat (by Hollis [MA]) Posted on: Feb 5, 2022 7:57 AM

From Don(pa)

"I like your plan, Sid, except for the ventless gas heater. Too much risk of CO poisoning, in my opinion"

I totally agree, PLUS if you know about chemistry, there are a number of very nasty complex hydrocarbons in your air besides.

You won't smell them, but they are there. It's one of the reasons that they are not allowed here.

We all have a tendency to put our heads in the sand and try to justify things we do but I wouldn't be in a house with ventless gas heaters.

No one is totally sure why, but when I was a boy, cancer hit about 1 out of 5 people in their lifetime , it's 1 out of 3, and projected to 1 out of 2 in not too long in the future. It has been suspected that it's due to all the chemicals that we are exposed to now days.

(some parts of the world that are pretty primitive w/o so much exposures cancer is rare)

Backup heat (by Jo [CT]) Posted on: Feb 5, 2022 8:07 AM

As I mentioned above, Ive had a ventless gas heater in my living room for years. It looks like a little woodstove its cast-iron and has a flame. I have CO detectors in my house and they have never gone off.

The stove is not my main source of heat however, on a cold day since I have one heating zone in my house and I dont want to heat the whole house, Ill turn it on I have a fan on top that circulates the air around my whole first floor and its worked very well.

The blue flame ventless heater is in my basement just as a back up.

The new Rinnai heater that is in one of my apartments along with electric baseboard, is fantastic. Ive never had moisture on my windows or any of the issues that some people say they have had with her ventless heaters. I make sure Units are cleaned every season, dust is blown out, and the lighting orifice is cleaned to make sure everything is in good working condition.

I dont use my ventless heaters all the time however, if I lose power, they will save my house from frozen pipe destruction. I think the point of this conversation was a back up heat source and even kerosene heaters will work in an emergency and a lot of people dont even like those!

Backup heat (by Allym [NJ]) Posted on: Feb 5, 2022 2:26 PM

Yeah, the last thing I would put in a rental is a ventless heater, that's after the pit bull of course. --108.24.xx.xx

Backup heat (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 5, 2022 4:50 PM

Why is a ventless gas heater any different than a gas stove in the kitchen which is not vented either? Both burn natural gas, both produce a blue flame, both produce heat and both produce a small amount of carbon monoxide. Why is everyone down on ventless gas heaters but no one even mentions gas stoves or gas clothes dryers?

Backup heat (by Wilma [PA]) Posted on: Feb 5, 2022 4:59 PM

We've been pretty lucky with tenants - we use heat pumps, and the electric resistance backup has kicked in during cold weather during a couple of breakdowns of the compressor in cold weather.

A/C is pretty easy - we have a couple of window shakers that really do a nice job when they are needed for a couple of days.

Our home? Not so lucky there, until we ditched the regular a/c and put in a heat pump with propane furnace as backup. Plus there's the wood burning insert, which I'd NEVER use in a rental!

Backup heat (by Jiggyman [NY]) Posted on: Feb 5, 2022 5:18 PM

I keep 4 thermostatically controlled ceramic cube heaters with tip over protection in each area that I have houses. I used to keep one in each location, but my maintenance guy pointed out that it takes several heaters whenever a furnace goes out, so we were always running to "borrow" heaters from other houses. Now we grab and replace from one central location as needed.

I have installed gas fireplaces for back up in larger units. Better ambiance. All ventless heaters (including gas fireplaces) must be equipped with oxygen depletion sensors to be legal in our area. I learned to Plumb them with 2 gas cocks, one in an inaccessible by resident location when a guest depleted a 100 gallon propane tank in the summer. Didn't do the central AC bill any favors either. Live and learn.

Electric back up heat is great till the power goes out. I have been buying kerosene heaters at auctions for a few bucks apiece. Seems like nobody knows how or wants to be troubled with replacing the wicks. The power went out at 6 houses this week with temperatures below 0.

Backup heat (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Posted on: Feb 5, 2022 7:53 PM

Ventless gas heaters are illegal here where would never install any gas appliance that did not vent directly outside. More buildings are becoming air tight as energy efficiency is taking place. If had a demand natural gas water heater then use for heating as a larger unit with have enough BTU to operate a fan coil or radiators. Last year changed out the furnace where took out all the ABS vent pipe then installed new CVPC to a new concentric vent. Although could have use ABS for combustion air decided to go with completely CVPC vent pipe. High efficiency gas furnaces work on sealed combustion where combustion air is from outside no air in building is used up for combustion where air infiltration is decreased to zero. The natural gas stove has vent which goes outside. The high efficiency natural gas demand water heaters operate on sealed combustion as well. If a gas boiler is used then could buy a used gas boiler where in if boiler breaks down then use second boiler. A lot of people convert to forced air where it is easy to buy a good used gas boiler on the internet.

Backup heat (by Roy [AL]) Posted on: Feb 5, 2022 8:53 PM


Ventless gas wall heaters are quite common in my town and if the CO issue was a real problem, then people would be dying on daily basis and this is just not happening here. According to my master plumber who installed my gas heaters, only malfunctioning ventless gas heaters produce dangerous levels of CO. If you ever see black soot stains on the ceiling above a ventless gas heater, that is a sign of a bad malfunctioning gas heater.

Backup heat (by Robert,OntarioCanada [ON]) Posted on: Feb 6, 2022 5:14 AM

If a building is not very air tight then that may not be a issue. Owning rental buildings never cheap out on safety where installing a central fire alarm system, UL rated dead bolts, smoke separation in hallways, fire wall between boilers and laundry room was important. One day they set the natural gas clothes laundromat dryer on fire where the fire alarm went off right away where only damage was to dryer not a loss of life or injuring. Some jurisdictions in the Us will not allow vent less heater where here no matter where it is illegal completely. Some areas it never drops below freezing where people install a non vented natural gas demand water heater outside which is never a problem. Building materials, appliances was able to cheap out as bought a lot at the Habitat for Humanity restores where doors although first quality worked well when a door was destroyed. Here anything electrical must have a CSA or UL label to sell where in some provinces can buy without labels. Some of those devices can take a match where the wire will continue to burn. One time in the Us went to Harbor Freight store where seen none of items to have any approval labels. A lot of items made in China are really low on safety standards. I bought a Makita hammer drill in the Us as was considerably less then here where Makita power tools pass all the safety standards with labels where buying anything from the Us from a major known company will comply. A EU label is at least there are safety standards.

Backup heat (by BillW [NJ]) Posted on: Feb 6, 2022 11:14 AM

Makes me wonder, at what level are we responsible? When heat is out in the house? When power is lost area wide? Seems to me if we are to cover worst case, then propane is the most reliable heat source, with a long shelf life. Somewhat tongue and check here, but perhaps supply each house with a tent and sleeping bags? I've heard this effective under worst case scenarios. --74.102.xx.xx

Backup heat (by LordZen [MA]) Posted on: Feb 6, 2022 11:16 AM

BillW that sound like right.

Backup heat (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Feb 6, 2022 11:42 AM

Bill,in case of area wide electric outage i feel no responsibility for tenants comfort,i would only be concerned if i was concerned about my pipes freezing

Backup heat (by BillW [NJ]) Posted on: Feb 6, 2022 2:23 PM

Yeah, I think agree with you Ken on that. --74.102.xx.xx

Backup heat (by Keith Curtis Koontz [AK]) Posted on: Feb 7, 2022 5:13 PM

Do any of the landlords compensate their renters for electricity used when problems with regular heat source is being solved? --206.174.xx.xx

Backup heat (by Wilma [PA]) Posted on: Feb 7, 2022 7:35 PM

@Keith(AK) - I have done a calculation and reimbursed a couple of tenants for additional electric consumption due to having to use resistance heat. Except for one, who did not follow instructions about how to incrementally raise the temps for a heat pump and who caused the compressor safety shutoff to engage, along with a breaker. She unknowingly ran resistance backup heat for a month and a half, then complained about her bill. I simply pointed to the clearly marked instructions on the thermostat, reset the breaker and the shutoff, and wished her a good day.

Backup heat (by art [AZ]) Posted on: Feb 8, 2022 6:53 AM

Sorry guys it has not go below 39 here this winter in Scottsdale Arizona so all of your very cold problems or just something to read about from here. I do hope something happens again this year like it has in 2021 and 2020 I hope I can look 40 miles northeast of the road here from Scottsdale and see 4 peaks.

Why look at 4 Peaks Mountains? 4 peaks Mountains is 8400 feet high. It's higher than all of you guys that live east of the Mississippi by about 1300 feet. Anyway in February 2021 and 2020 I could look at 4 peaks again just 40 miles up the road here northeast and see snow on 4 peaks Mountains. And let me throw in one more when I brag about my state during the winter here in Arizona we don't have to go someplace else to go ice fishing about a 3 Hour Dr. from Scottsdale and go to Hardy Lake in Northeast Arizona and go ice fishing. When I always say about my state Arizona you don't have everything in your state that we have, but we have everything in our state you don't have love my state Arizona now for about 80 years --70.180.x.x

Backup heat (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Feb 10, 2022 11:46 PM

Each year I wait for the small elec heaters to go on sale and buy a cartload. $15 each with auto shutoff when tipped.

These little heaters will make a bedroom HOT if they keep the door closed. 2 will take the chill of a small house.

I tell them to move everyone into the living room and have a slumber party!

I keep 2 in my truck and my helper keeps 2 in his during this season.

Not worth the trip back to pick them up.

We tried storing some in attics but they did not have a ladder to reach them.

Tip: For liability issues we deliver them in the factory sealed carton and do NOT write our company name on them. They are UL listed and WE did not install them.


Subject: RE: Backup heat
Your Name:
Your State:

Backup heat
Would you like to be notified via email when somebody replies to this thread?
If so, you must include your valid email address here. Do not add your address more than once per thread/subject. By entering your email address here, you agree to receive notification from every time anyone replies to "this" thread. You will receive response notifications for up to one week following the original post. Your email address will not be visible to readers.
Email Address: