Heat source options for rental homes

Are any of you using alternative heating systems (besides the standard forced air furnace) for your rental homes? We are paying the HVAC guy alot (approx $200/unit) for new furnaces or high repair bills for older furnaces. What about any new kinds of wall units (propane or electric) , base board, free standing, etc?. Frank - I saw in one of your Operating Tips on Rental units in Kurt Kelley’s newletter - you recommend window unit heat and air. Any specifics? Are there some that go both ways? One problem with electric baseboard (and maybe some other electric units) is you may need dedicated circuits and/or 220 v.


I’ve been putting Frigidaire heat/AC combos in all my homes if and when the old, run down central system quits. They work great, and seem to be very reliable. In a 90’s model 3/2, I’ll put a 12,000 BTU in the living room, and then an 8,000 BTU in the end of the house with 2 bedrooms.

We have been running across this issue and here is how we have solved it.

First- it depends on local code, inspectors etc.

Texas- where we are in Texas- DFW area and in The Valley, we only need to supply a dedicated outlet under one window in the main living area, and the master bedroom so the tenant can put in their own ac/heat unit. So we have been converting homes to electric only.

Everywhere else- We have been using 110v baseboard heaters in each room, with unit mounted controls. You have to hunt for them, but they cost (in general) $120 per unit. We will put one in the main living area, maybe one in the kitchen, one in the bath and each room gets one. Read the box, a small heater will provide LOTS of heat. So know your SQ Footage. This again the home off gas. The heaters come in baseboard and also some wall mount styles, so do some research and shop around.

Also- in the winter we use the portable electric baseboard types for rehab projects. You can move them from room to room, and they will bring the temp from nothing to 70, in like nebraska, all the way up in an hour. That is a 6’ model that is 110v. working under the home- if it is dry- and you have skirting on- this is a great option if your working on water or sewer issues- keep the heater high, and warm the space for an hour prior to working under the home. Your frozen, cold contractor will get the job done much faster…

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Thanks guys. I see a typo in my post. I meant we are paying the HVAC guy $2000 not $200.


Great subject, I have a lot of older homes and I’m definitely planning on ditching central air on some of the upcoming rehabs.

Josh, just to clarify, you find that a single 8000 btu units is enough to heat and cool a 2 bedroom home? Would you mind providing a specific model you’ve found that works?

One thing that I found odd when I was researching this subject is some units have different BTU ratings for heat and cold. For example, this GE one from home depot is 8,000 BTU cooling and only 3800 BTU heating:


I found this old thread which is on point to our Midwest park. We have several older POH’s with gas furnaces nearing there end of life. The new electric furnaces are much less then gas ones however they require 240V. The POH’s have 60 or 100 amp breaker boxes which would require upgrading.

What is most cost efficient to way to provide a quality heat source?
Does the base board heat option really work?

The new electric or gas furnace really adds a huge expense to the remodel.