Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit

Looking at new systems - what type? Thanks!

i did a house a few years back with the same problems.the main problem with retro fitting something like a honywell total zone to an existing house is when only one zone calls it tends to be noisy.Trane fixed it a few years back, the fan motor accually slows down.Is the second floor fed from the ceiling?with a duct chase or low on the wall with risers?


  • Cary Alon
    Cary Alon Member Posts: 22

    OK, here I go...

    I live in a hi-ranch style 2 story house. AC sucks upstairs - does not cool sufficiently on hot days (ducts are low on wall). Heat sucks downstairs in the winter.

    I've upgraded windows and doors, insulation, resided, etc.

    I currently have a Rheem Imperial Drum furnace with a Rheem condensor/coil. Main problem (besides inefficiency): furnace drum is cracked, Rheem does not replace parts anymore.

    So I need new heat, and AC is 12 years old now.

    Options I have been looking at:

    1. Replace existing furnace and A/C. Cheapest, but I'm afraid I will be unhappy, although I've been told it will work "fine".

    2. Replace furnace, put air handler in attic, cool from attic. Will be better cooling, heat downstairs can be improved through ductwork.

    3. Scrap furnace, install boiler, air handler in attic. Provide upstairs heat through coil on air handler, downstairs through baseboard. AC downstairs problematic, unless I use a Spacepak or Unico type system, or a mini-split for downstairs. This will also allow me to get rid of main trunk (more headroom), and give me the option of heating the garage. Most expensive. Most flexible.

    So here are my questions:

    Unico/Spacepak or conventional?
    Chiller or conventional?
    Is #3 feasible, or am I getting too complicated?

    I've gotten prices for #2 arounf $7 - 9,000, #3 $12 - $18,000.

    Any advice would be great, as well as any recommendations for competent, reasonable companies in Long Island, NY, if that is allowed on this forum.


  • Empire_2
    Empire_2 Member Posts: 2,343
    OK, I understand your concerns...

    Since everyone here has their own opinion, I will give you mine.;-) Since you are going to replace everything as far as equipment goes, bear in mind that switching to Hi-Vol will increase the bid quite a bit. Why not have the house completely re-evaluated as far as heat gain and loss, BUT Zone your upper and lower duct work. This can provide better comfort and act like an independent system for your varying needs both up and down. Important here is the evaluation of the system and the duct that is already in the home. Is it correct?..Well, a well planned design will insure your comfort.

    As far as where registers are located and in what season you are in,.Well crap if I had Lot's of money I would do the ideal situation to make me happy to (heat lo cool hi), but unfortunately that's in a perfect world. Please consider the zone system as your first choice and then hear the rest and compare cost. The idea here is to find a contractor that is someone you like and that has the options that can clearly guide you to your final decision regardless of cost. In your eyes I know cost is very important, but "Only the rich can afford poor heating and cooling". That is only a phrase I heard and it makes sense as the cheapest bid is not always the worst and the most expensive is not always the best. OK I'm rambling so I must leave you to others in here which are all great people. You are definitely in the right place to make your decision. Just ask our Illustrious leader Dan Holohan...Absolutely the best;-)

    Mike T.

    Mike T.
  • Eugene Silberstein
    Eugene Silberstein Member Posts: 1,380
    Please Refer

    Please refer to the FIND A PROFESSIONAL area on this site to find highly qualified, local contractors who will be more than happy to assist you in evaluating your specific needs.

    To add a quick comment... replacing the existing system while leaving the old duct system in place MAY be a viable option if the existing air distribution system is properly sized and installed.

    As Mike mentioned, having someone come in and completely evaluate the structure is the way to go. Of course, expect to pay for the evaluation and heat gain/loss as these are necessary and time consuming elements that will help ensure a properly designed and installed system.

    Best of luck and please keep us posted on your progress.
  • Cary Alon
    Cary Alon Member Posts: 22
    Thanks for your replies...

    I have spoken to a number of HVAC guys who all recommend different solutions.

    That's the main reason for my post - I am trying to seperate the "wheat from the chaff." Everyone has a different opinion, and I am concerned with investing large sums of money, and then being unhappy.

    I try to be a "knowledgeable" buyer, so I'm trying to get opinions on types of systems.

    I bought software to do a manual J heat loss, and have done so. I find that the existing equipment is way oversized, but most of the guys who I've talked to base their estimate on the existing equipment... (sigh)...

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Cary Alon
    Cary Alon Member Posts: 22

    The second floor is fed low on the wall with risers.


  • Mark_46
    Mark_46 Member Posts: 312

    You're not alone.

    I too got hold of heat loss software and calculated my house just to be sure that the proposed sizing was in the ballpark. Sizing is exceptionally important in all aspects of this type of equipment. It starts with heat loss and gain measurement.

    In my research for a new system, it quickly became clear 1) there are no, or not enough standards with this type of equipment, 2) if you get 10 different estimates youll get 10 different system configuration recommendations 3) there are too many contractors out there that are not doing the work properly...heat losses, heat gains. They are not concerned with efficiency. They tend to install equipment brands or types based on what their supplier carries.

    The newer high efficiency technology and miriad of options and models requires a lot more planning and design on the contractors part. Some get it, some just install on a wing and a prayer. This, like other industries, has become a very slippery slope becasue of the technology that drives efficiency.

    For reference I chose hi velocity A/C, two separate systems for each floor. For now, I will also run my heat through the hi velocity and see if I like it (hydro-air). My boiler is a Munchkin 80m coupled with a superstor 30 gallon indirect domestic water heater.
This discussion has been closed.


It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!