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Buying new house that has a hot air furnace, I am used to a boiler I have some ?

JoeG Member Posts: 88
Hi, I had a house ( Lost in divorce ) that I had put a new peerless boiler and an indierct water heater, the house also had radiators which I loved. The new house Has a onieda hot air furnace not sure of its age.

How do they work?

Any thing I should look out for or do?

 both houses are about 2,400 Sq Ft Old house had 2 275 gal tanks this one has 0ne..

Is it easy to add a central air unit?

What about tieing a wood or coal stove in? Thanks a lot

P.S anysuggestions on water heaters to use would be great.


  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,318
    edited May 2010
    What I'd do

    is dump the furnasty and switch to hot-water or steam heat. Ductwork is by far the least efficient way to transport BTUs but is very good at harboring mold and other nasties. It's cheap though, which explains its popularity. Builders don't have to live with the stuff.

    Use the ducts for A/C only until you can go to a mini-split A/C system and remove them altogether.

    And insulate, weatherstrip, etc. so the new equipment you buy can be smaller. This saves both on first cost and operating cost- a win-win by any standard.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • JoeG
    JoeG Member Posts: 88
    Would love to

    I would love to go to a New boiler but I am doing a complete renovaction of current house new roof, sheetrock, floors kitchen redo and add bathrooms. So at this time new boiler is not in budget.

    What do the split ac units cost and r they better then the cetral air units.
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752

    I believe that mini split systems are more expensive than standard central air, and they work best in smaller rooms.

    Personally, I would keep the existing air system for A/C if the duct sizes are all right. And, while the house is gutted, I would at least run baseboard and all of my homerun lines back to the mechanical room, then budget in a boiler for a later time.
  • Dave Yates (GrandPAH)
    Dave Yates (GrandPAH) Member Posts: 281
    edited May 2010
    one shot deal

    If you're checking into financing and haven't yet signed for a mortgage, I'd suggest you fold in geothermal and thermal solar. Your uptick in monthly payments will be less than what you'd be spending on utilities. Go to for info on tax credits and state incentives where you're located.  

    If you've already arranged for the mortgage and cannot change the terms, then there are other options that are eligible for tax credits (expire 12/31/10 at midnight) and perhaps utility rebates:

    A Daikin Althermal system, which is a mini-split that does lo-temp hydronics, domestic hot water, can be married to a hydro-coil in your existing ductwork for both heating & A/C or you can do room-by-room units that look just like mini-splits to be wall-hung or floor console style.

    Tons of gas furnaces (95% & above) and A/C central units that meet the 30% up to a max of $1,500.00 (if you haven't used it, or any portion of it, yet). If oil & electricity are the only fuel choices (I don't recommend propane), then I'd be discussing hi-eff heat pumps & the lone inverter model available hits nice efficiencies, but requires the installer(s) be trained.

    Same is true for water heaters. A solar tank falls under the full 30% tax credit while many other types fall under the 30% up to a max of $1,500.00, although you'll have used that already when upgrading the HVAC system. However, sounds like you might not have NG available, in which case I'd be inclined to discuss a heat-pump water heater and not the 115-vold Rube Goldberg add-on type, but the real-deal 220-v models. Slow recovery, so an 80-gallon heat pump tank might be best. If solar is pre-heating, then I'd look at a 50-gallon HP water heater. A solar/HP domestic water heating pair will reduce your operating costs to below $100.00 a year if electric is 11-cents per kWh and you use an average of 50-gallons of hot water per day at 120F. Same goes for solar/98% eff NG tankless. HP, solar (depends on the model) & Daikin DHW systems now incorporate heat-pasteurization cycles to ward off bacterial amplification.

    Modcon boilers can marry onto a hydro-coil and operate in condensing mode if your installer is a good hydronician. If you head that route, then I'd be pushing for a hi-quality stainless steel indirect water heater.  
  • JoeG
    JoeG Member Posts: 88

    Info is great, they are drilling for natual gas here I guess we have a ton of it but it isnot avaiale for our use. Dave all the info sounds good but I am lost. Running the pipes sounds like a good idea now even if I never use them.There is only two rooms up stairs.
  • Dave Yates (GrandPAH)
    Dave Yates (GrandPAH) Member Posts: 281
    the pipes, they be a-callin

    I'm guessing you mean pipes for thermal solar. Most mfgrs now have complete kits, which helps if you're applying (via an authorized PA installer) for PA incentives. PA requires a site report using a recognized solar analyzer - I use Solar Pathfinder. Are you referring to the Marcellus Shale NG?

    If you want to run pipes ahead of the solar system's later-on installation, take a look at the flexible stainless steel lines that are pre-insulated and incorporate the required sensor wire. Keep the ends sealed-off & coil up the excess at both ends with enough to make your final connections (especially for the attic under-roof side). You can also run them on the exterior and conceal them in products - like Line Hide - to keep the appearance nice-n-neat if you want to avoid interior floor/ceiling penetrations.

    Feel free to toss out whatever has you lost. You've got a great opportunity to set a course that will yield energy savings while enhancing your green (the kind that really matters) status. 

    Speaking of green: if you're in PA and the solar system's installed cost was $10K, you'd get back $3K from the feds & $2K from PA. According to the national realtors' assn, the home's value will increase by $5K and for every $1.00 offset in fossil fuel use, the home's value is increased by $10.00 to $20.00. Take that same 50-gallons of DHW per day with an oil-fired water heater at .53-EF and $3.35 per gallon while installing a 3 - 4x8 panel solar system, and your fossil-fuel offset is $344.20, which equals $3,442.00 to $6,884.00 net-positive green the moment it's activated. Nice payback! 
  • John Mills_5
    John Mills_5 Member Posts: 935

    that most of the homes in this country have forced air with perfectly happy homeowners. While I never recommend taking out a good hydronic or steam system for forced air heating, there's no reason to rip out ducts and a decent furnace to put in a boiler and system unless you have unlimited resources to burn.

    Central air can easily be added for $3000-5000 depending upon size and efficiency and local costs.

    You can tie in wood or coal stove. Just need to make sure it is done to local codes.
  • JoeG
    JoeG Member Posts: 88
    wood stove

    Where would be a good place to find out about tieing a wood stove or coal into the sytem and what about central air?
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