I rent my basement out. It's currently heated via electricity. It's cold where I live, and my renter's electric bills are high.

I'm thinking of installing a natural gas wall furnace in the basement. These things go in a single central location on a level (i.e. a floor), and bleed heat to the rest of the level (i.e. floor). No "blown air" being piped to vents in each room. They're quite common in my area. I think there's just one vent-to-outdoors needed for the burn-off from the gas.

The basement has a gas cooking stove (I pay for that gas), so there's already a natural gas pipe feeding the basement.

The issue is potential abuse. Currently, the renter has their own separate electric meter, and so they are responsible for how much heat they consume. But if I installed this gas wall furnace, the gas would be under a single bill paid by me (because there's a single natural gas meter to the house, and it may be too expensive/complicated to install a separate natural gas meter to the basement).

So, I'm thinking, when I install the gas wall furnace, I can put a meter in its gas inlet and that way I can charge the renter according to the amount of gas they end up using. This would be a win for sustainability because it would encourage the renter to be responsible with gas usage, and would also be a win for me because I won't worry about the renter being irresponsible with gas usage on my dime. My question: has anyone tried metering gas usage in a part of their home? I searched for "gas furnace meter" and came up with this search result, would any of these work?

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    To really submeter, you install a meter and read it (directly or remotely) and bill based on it. But there are potential legal issues involved - it can vary quite a bit by jurisdiction. Essentially you become "the gas utility" for your tenant and that can raise a lot of issues. The alternative is an estimate based on degree-days, floor space and BTUs. Commented Jan 16, 2022 at 23:08
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    They sell gas meters: ekmmetering.com/products/3-4-pulse-output-gas-meter for example. You should remove "furnace" from your search, and you'll find them. But it's illegal to sub-meter is some places, you'll need to check local law.
    – Ariel
    Commented Jan 16, 2022 at 23:10
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    Having a separate gas service put in for the apartment may be the only legal option.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 1:41
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    if your goal is to save the tenant money by letting them heat more efficiently, and you're willing to spend a few grand making it happen (wall furnace ~$1000 + meter ??? + install) then the right answer is an extended range heat pump. All electric. Keep the existing electric strip heating as emergency heat for those few subzero days the heat pump cannot run. This also provides A/C, hopefully your tenant won't mind too much lol. Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 5:02
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    @Harper-ReinstateMonica wrote is an awesome idea for you! Look into mini-split systems, almost all of them can run in reverse, and provide both A/C and heat. Some mini-split systems can even be installed DIY (Mr. Cool advertises this all the time.)
    – Ariel
    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 7:07


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