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Help with choosing new heating system?
Hi. I live in MA and just bought a house with a 100-year old gas (steam) boiler, which I've been advised to replace. The radiators are also old and in bad condition, and I'd like to replace them, too.
The house is 100 years old, 1400 square feet, most of the living space on two levels, with a small finished room on the third floor.
-My first question is whether it's better to buy a new steam boiler and new thinner radiators that would take up less of the limited floor space, or whether now would be a good time to switch to a hot-water system, also with thinner free-standing radiators (not sure what they're actually called, but baseboard radiators would not look right in this old house)?
-I know that hot water would be more efficient but will the additional construction/mess/cost be worth it?
-How much more expensive should a hot water system be?
-Also, the guy who gave me a bid on doing the hot water system wants to use pex piping. I'm not crazy about this idea, and would love some input on this. He said copper would cost $2800 more.
And again, my main question is, if you're replacing your boiler and radiators anyway, is it worth it to switch to hot water?