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Converting Steam Radiators to HW is Condensing Boiler Worth it?
I've been receiving conflicting information from a few folks re: the best options for heating our home.
1) We have recently purchased 1930 Tudor home in Newton, MA
2) We have a 2 pipe steam system
3) Furnace is about 15-20 yrs old and from what we have been told, it was never installed correctly, so the condensate is not flowing down the 2nd pipe, it is traveling down the first pipe. -- the cost to fix this is nearly the same as to swap it out for a different heat altogether, so we are looking at our options.
4) We are planning an analysis of our existing radiators to determine that they could #1 be converted to HW, and 2 woudl provide enough heat for the home with a HW system.
5) The house is just over 4100 sq ft - 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors -- and has a finished basement about 1000 more aq feet.
5) We currently have some baseboard in our master closet/bath and we have a heat pump off an old AC compressor in our family room (which needs to be replaced -- currently looking at a mitsubishi or fujitsu ductless for this application)
What I am having trouble understanding is whether or not (due to the fact that we have steam radiators) the hot water would have to be heated above 140 degrees to make the radiators hot enough to throw heat. If so, it seems to me that a condensing boiler would rarely run in its condensing mode and therefore we'd rarely see the 95% efficient capabilities of the boiler.
My questions are: (provided the analysis of our radiators shows that we can convert and get enough heat)
1) is the hot water temp requirement in converted steam radiators higher than a traditional/standard hot water system?
2) would you expect to see the boiler run in non-condensing mode for the bulk of the winter?
3) would you recommend a different style of boiler to do this in our house.
We are also installing a Unico Hi Velocity AC system - we have the option of using hydro air in some of the floors of the house -- we are fans of radiated heat (not forced hot air) so we have not thought hydro air is an option, btu I'd love to get opinions on this.
If anyone can provide some insight to these questions, I'd greatly appreciate it. I've gotten conflicting info from folks -- but I do find that very few folks truly know steam systems.... and it's the steam guy (who I really htink knows his stuff) who's told me that a condensing boiler would be a bad choice.