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Boiler or Furnace?

Boilerpro_5 Member Posts: 407
Keep the steam and get a good steam contractor in there that can get your system running properly...it will likely save you a bushel of money on fuel bills and cost relatively little to do. Then, see if the contractor would be willing to install a high velocity A/C system that is properly sized. The small 2 inch "ducts" will allow you to reach places where ductwork would need to be installed exposed or wall would need to be opened up. If not, have the contractor install the ducted system, however be sure the ductwork sizing and vent placements are specifically designed for cooling, not heating. Heating and cooling have completely different requirements for duct sizing and vent placement. Using the same ductwork for both is a huge compromise. And, be sure all joint are sealed with mastic or heavy duty tape and the ductwork insulated. Studies show that the average U.S. ductwork system loses about 20 to 25 % of its heating/cooling before it gets the rooms.....OUCH on the fuel costs.


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  • Kate Vachon
    Kate Vachon Member Posts: 3
    Boiler to furnace conversion with duct work?

    We just recently "won" a home heating system at a silent auction for a great price. Only problem is we have steam heat with a boiler (ancient as it may be) and this was for a furnace with air conditioning unit. We do not have any duct work (house is 67 years old) so what do we do? The equipment person (who is a Gooman salesperson) who donated the system said we could just put in a new boiler but then we would not be able to use the ac still without the duct work. Our home is a cape, 2 stories, about 1800 sf. We love our steam heat although we have never been able to get our radiators to stop banging despite our best efforts. Would it be worth it to put duct work in just for central ac (and get the new boiler) or would that be too expensive and messy and not worth the effort and cost? We welcome all suggestions.


    Scott and Kate
  • Ken_40
    Ken_40 Member Posts: 1,320
    That depends...

    Central A/C is nice, especially WITH steam heat. But one item I always noted was the difficulty in zoning A/C (or hot air heating for that matter) Everyone's in bed, enjoying the A/C on those brutally ho summer nights. But downstairs is cool, but no one's down there from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. to enjoy it! During day-time, you're downstairs enjoying A/C, while the bedrooms are like a meat locker.

    We found two window units in most reasonably insulated non-Sahara situated capes does two things. Keeps the bedrooms cool for sleeping and with the BR doors left open (since cool air drops like a rock) cools the entire first floor in daytime. We did this for 20 years in our old NJ home with only two units, each around 5,800 BTU's of cooling.

    Dehumidification, the real comfort maker with A/C of any form, by using smaller units, becomes ideal. A heat gain calculation must be done. Remember, 90% of all A/C installed by so-called HVAC "experts" is oversized. They are of the mistaken belief that bigger tonnage is always better then "tightly sized" A/C.

    Regarding the steam noise. Guys that know steam, permeate this website. If you look at the tabs at the top of tyhis page, you'll see one labelled: "Find a Professional." Plug in your zip code and see if anyone listed is close. Call them and ask what percentage of their biz is steam work, residential. If they reply 25% or more. Have them take a look. Steam is not supposed to bang, clang or go bump in the night. Lower steam pressure (which aso reduces fuel consumption) frequently stops the banging. The air vents on the steam mains and rads are also key.

    Back to the question at hand. Under no circumstances should you contemplate hot air over steam. That would be akin to going from a Harley to a moped...

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  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
    I'm with Ken....

    On the split-systems.

    Some of the newer ones will run up to 3 air handlers from 1 compressor...and you'll only need a 3" wall penetration for each zone(in most cases).

    They are also QUIET!!! Most central systems I have been privy to seemed WAY too loud for what they were doing. Of course a quick trip around the home found that most of the registers were choked off because..."we don't need to cool that room". (Another one of my favorite "Heatisms") Chris
  • Tom Hopkins
    Tom Hopkins Member Posts: 554
    I'm assuming It was Goodman equipment

    If the donated equipment was Goodman Mfg. they make forced air equipment and not boilers. I'd inquire as to the make and model steam boiler they might provide. Having a new steam boiler installed is not cheap so if it seems like a good deal go for it. Have a boiler man look over your system first. Your existing boiler might be old but good.

    Ken mentioned window air conditioners. Goodman has a line of those which might be substituted. Goodman also manufactures a line of mini-split AC equipment. Similar to the Mitsubishi or Sanyo line. Search the net and you'll see what we're talking about. They're permanantly installed blower units with outdoor condensing units designed for space heating.

    Any duct system regardless if it's conventional or hi-velocity mini ducts will be a little obtrusive and might require soffits. If you have an unfinished attic with enough room you could duct to all the second floor rooms thru the attic space for AC only.

    Whatever way you go keep the steam. My gut tells me to get the most AC/only bang for your buck, be it low velocity conventional ducts, hi-velocity mini ducts, or mini-split air handlers. Good luck.
  • Ted_9
    Ted_9 Member Posts: 1,718
    Ask for

    A Unico system. I doubt they would donate this since is considerably more than Goodman. You can also try for an air handler in stead of the furnace.

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