General Landlording & Rental Properties

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Amir P.
  • Newington CT
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What is your opinion on High Efficiency Combi heating units?

Amir P.
  • Newington CT
Posted Mar 19 2022, 14:35

I am curious what everyone's experience is with the High Efficiency Combi (heat and hot water) wall-mounted heating units. I am currently going through the process of converting from oil to gas on a 3 family rental building and trying to figure out what is the best approach. 

I have one 2021 boiler, one 2006 boiler, and one very old boiler that needs to be replaced. All 3 water heaters are electric and toward the end of their usable life. 

scenario 1: Total $19,400

1 new gas boiler, $6K

2 gas burners to use on existing boilers, $6K

3 new water heaters, $3,600

chimney liner, repair, waterproofing etc, $3,800

 scenario 2: Total $17,625

3 new high efficiency wall mounted combi units $16,500

chimney work $1,125

I'd appreciate any insight regarding this process, the high efficiency units, maintenance, reliability, availability of parts, ease of use and repair or if there are any other alternatives I should be considering. 

Hartford, Connecticut

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Karl Denton
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Mansfield, CT
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Karl Denton
  • Rental Property Investor
  • Mansfield, CT
Replied Mar 25 2022, 21:29

YES! I’m so happy you asked this! So I just went through something very similar with my 3 family. So BIGGEST thing is the quality of water in your area. Manchesters water is absolutely terrible for these units and if they aren’t flush on a regular basis you will have blocks and all sorts of issues that will lead to higher expenses down the road. What I did was Bosch Greenstar heaters ONLY and not the water heater combi units. I also talked to others in the area and those that went with combi units are regretting it. I went with natural gas from the oil and this way the tenants pay there’s own heating bills, also more efficient and less yearly maintenance. As for hot water I’d honestly look at a hybrid hot water heater, they are very efficient and cost like under 250$ annually in electric. You can then include hot water in rent and get an increased rent. Message me for any other questions!

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Amir P.
  • Newington CT
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Amir P.
  • Newington CT
Replied May 17 2022, 21:07

I appreciate your reply and apologize for the late respond. My multi is in New Britain and water quality is the same. I talked to a few other plumbers and most people say the combi units are 10 year throwaway units and fixing them is a pain. 

I think my best bet is separate boilers as suggested here. 

Tank you!

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Henry T.
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Replied May 20 2022, 23:13

Radiant heat is wonderful, but darn, that is expensive.  I know you have a plan, but for costs and ease of maintenance I prefer electric in-wall forced fan heaters. And elec water heaters (no venting hassles). Go electric and do it for 1/3 the cost.

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Peter Tverdov
  • Real Estate Broker
  • New Brunswick, NJ
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Peter Tverdov
  • Real Estate Broker
  • New Brunswick, NJ
Replied May 22 2022, 03:57

If you are talking about wall mounted mini splits I think those are a no brainer. Now you just put AC in your units, which makes them more attractive and you can likely get more rent. 

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Amir P.
  • Newington CT
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Amir P.
  • Newington CT
Replied May 22 2022, 13:10

Electric in-wall forced fan heaters is interesting and something I didn't consider before. For my set up it probably makes sense to add such heater as a supplementary heat source but not the main one though. 

Thanks for the idea!

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Amir P.
  • Newington CT
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Amir P.
  • Newington CT
Replied May 22 2022, 13:14

Thanks Peter, yes the wall mounted combination units, Navian is the brand a few people recommended. My concern with these unit was the life of the units and how hands on the maintenance need to be and how frequent. 

I'm finding that these are not ideal for cities with hard water.