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Any and all opinions welcome.

Cavallo Member Posts: 22
Just bought a 1920 foursquare in Central NY - two floors at a modest 1400sq ft. total (with the possibility of finishing the attic, which would bring it up to 2100-ish.) It currently has a mish-mash of drywall, lath & plaster, linoleum, tile, laminate - all of it serviceable but not ideal. It had a hot water baseboard system, the boiler for which is now shot, and many of the baseboard fins look decidedly unhappy. Due to numerous burst pipes in ceilings, I've decided on gutting it down to the studs and subfloors, and building it back up from sticks - essentially starting with a blank slate. This is based on the advice of several trusted contractors.

Here's my thinking regarding the heating system.

1 - Seal and insulate the bejeezus out of the thing to the limits of available funds (closed cell poly foam?)

2 - Calculate heat loss based on the results of this.

3 - Lay down plywood and PEX sufficient to meet the heat loss calcs, and put engineered hardwood over that.

Obviously there are a lot of things I'm leaving out of this process, but this is the general gist of the wisdom I've been able to gather from sites like this one.

Am I on track here, or is this just nuts? Should I be doing radiant ceilings instead (since I can quite easily given the blank slate?) Might I need supplemental wall panels because the math will never work? Should I give up and heat with candles? Any and all opinions are welcome no matter how outlandish.


  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    Find Insulation contractor first

    Buy it once , unlike fuel or electricity ,nat gas ,L.P .

    then find blower door tester.

    then think about how to heat ,cool and ventilate your home.

    A few ideas that will pay back your investment the quickest.

    having a contractor who specifically works on heating systems designed for this century would be good to aid you on the site with a few hours of his time. ,....

    I hope that helps.

    *~//: )
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,573
    Not Nuts

    That is exactly right. You will encounter folks that think you are nuts, stay the course.

    Condensing boilers need low water temps to be efficient. Radiant floors,ceiling ,walls and panel radiators work well at low temps. I think my next house will be a mix of all of these.

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Armand_Colorado
    Armand_Colorado Member Posts: 8
    gut it

    But realize that you will want to fix everything if you do: electrical, plumbing, insulation, windows, ...

    My recommendation is to do very little or go all the way. If you gut, then putting in pex in the ceilings (not to heat from above, but to heat the floor above) is cheap and easy. You can also install it from above if you are tearing out subfloor, but it isn't the best way IMO. You can't put in too much pex and insulation as long as you keep the runs under around 300-350 ft. I have had rooms where it was impractical (I was lazy) to fully gut and so I put pex along the lower few feet of the walls and it worked very well. I put in a lot of rigid foiled foam and built a "false" wall.

    On the other hand, you might just go with forced air because you can also easily add A/C for those muggy summers.
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