No furnace: it’s true

It’s true that our super-insulated house, almost a passive house, has no furnace, but does that matter? To many people it is a significant point having no central furnace or boiler in Massachusetts/New England. But have you ever rented an apartment with electric baseboard heat? (No furnace) Have you ever heated a house just with wood? (No furnace). See what I mean?

What the headline should be is NO FURNACE AND STILL COMFORTABLE AND INEXPENSIVE TO HEAT WHEN IT’S 20F OUTSIDE. Or something like that.

Because the real story is there is a lot of insulation which makes it possible to heat (or cool) the house very comfortably without a lot of energy.

Who else has no furnace? Well, it’s typical of passive houses. Like this one in MN (our electricity bills are similar). But it’s also true of other well insulated homes. Like these and these and this one. But they still have heaters. Just point source. Rinnai direct-vent heaters, air-source heat pumps, maybe a tiny bit of electric baseboard.

And it’s true of some solar houses. Like this one or this one. More at

And also true of people who are experimenting with zoning using electric space heaters. (But a reminder… if your electricity is coming from a fossil fuel electricity plant, it’s probably not a good trade.)

Some advantages of our house with no furnance:
– It’s QUIET!
– Not much to break, and if it does, or if the power goes out, the house has so much insulation, and mass (dense packed cellulose) and is so tight, that it stays warm longer than a typical house

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Filed under erik-green, heating with wood, passive house, solar, superinsulation, zero energy home

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