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boiler or forced air - need advice

Need some advice

Seriously looking at a 1300 square foot bungalow that has an original 60 yr old boiler and built in baseboard radiators (flush mount) throughout the home. The boiler looks like a relic from the Titanic and my first thought upon seeing it was to rip it all out and install forced air gas furnace with associated ducts (there is room to do this)

On sober second thought, and reading about some of the benefits of hot water heating, I am reconsidering.

boiler should probably be replaced with a high efficiency unit if we are sticking with the hot water, and then we have an ac problem. adding a/c to fa gas is straight forward, but if we stick with the hot water I guess our only option is a ductless split type unit.

If I install a new HE boiler, do I have the option of doing some radiant floor retrofit? I have access to the joist spaces and am fairly capable.

What would you do given the same scenario? buy a different house?


  • remodel
    remodel Member Posts: 68
    just did this

    Actually ripped out the forced air and installed a HE boiler. Fin-tube BB with some toe-kickers. I would not install FA for a boiler. We love our boiler even with fin-tube, I cannot stress enough that you get a good installer, worth every penny, make sure they do a heat loss, understand what you want, they buy the equipment and you get recommendations and see there work. If they cannot do a heat loss I would not hire them. Bungalows are fairly open so a split system for cooling could work well, I installed one on my first floor and have had no issue on the cooling side, old 1945 remodeled tudor. Where are you located?
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,295

    I would do exactly that. Put a HE boiler in, maybe a combo hot water and boiler, always recommend radiant floor when having a access to the bottom joist.

    With the HE boiler the radiant floor just makes it a home run.

    Ductless is just one option and the better of the three in my opinion.

    If you have access to the attic you can install traditional or high velocity duct in.

    I'd personally go with the ductless if you can.
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849

    Heat pumps you'll have heating cooling and zones. Then you can start with a micro inverter PV System and your on your way to free heating and cooling. A well insulated 1300 ft. structure would be fairly easy.
  • beaverpilot98
    beaverpilot98 Member Posts: 2
    it gets cold here

    Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,061
    Thunder Bay?

    and a Beaver pilot?  Glad to meet you!

    A word to Tony: he isn't just kidding: Thunder Bay can get a bit chilly.  40 to 50 below (Fahrenheit or Celsius, take your pick) is by no means unheard of.  And the last time I was there, it was a bit breezy, as well...

    I wouldn't go with a heat pump as my primary heat source in that climate, unless it was a geothermal type with a really good, deep water supply (frost can get to two metres plus).

    Snowmelt's approach sounds pretty decent to me...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 1,710
    smaller ducts

    AC only in Port Arthur can be smaller than for heating. If boiler uses natural gas and works,what's the hurry to replace?
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    OK forget the heat pumps

    Cant imagine that cold...dont want to. this 0 degree weather in eastern Pa was too much this year!
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,295
    Are you sure

    Ac ducts are bigger, I'm going to assume b/c it has to move heavier air at a faster cfm.
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 1,710
    smaller AC ducts?

    I figure cooling load in Port Arthur is a third of heating load there. Also cold air is less viscous than hot air. Another advantage of AC only is that registers don't have to be near outside walls. If beaverpilot can work in attic he can put the air handler and ducts there.
  • earl burnermann
    earl burnermann Member Posts: 126
    Mini split is a good idea

    You should look into having a high efficiency mini split installed. You get both ac and heat with most units. And they are very efficient when it comes to making heat. So you could put in the mini-split, and keep the klunker boiler as a back-up heat source.

    I figured out what it would cost me to do it in my home on Long Island. It came out to only about a $50 dollar a year savings over the oil. But I'm paying about twenty three cents per kilowatt. If your electricity is cheaper this may do the trick for you. Get heat and ac for the price of one unit.
    If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy!