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Builing an addition

bilc16 Member Posts: 5
I put this in the oil heating wall but it' probably better here...

I'm raising my roof and adding a full second story on my 1 story ranch.  I currently have hot water radiators in my home, and the furnace is vented out of a chimney located almost right in the center of my house.  The oil burner is 60 years old and needs to be replaced.  I also have an old central air system that is going to be replaced if it's in the budget.  I was told that I can direct vent a new high efficiency burner out of the wall eliminating the need of my chimney (I don't have fireplaces).  The guy who told me that also said I should put forced air heating in the second floor because I can use the same air handler as the a/c and it's more efficient than radiators. 

I'm a plumbing/hvac novice at best.  Can you guys please help me with my options and what equipment will need to be purchased?  Do I go radiators for heat and a separate A/C unit or should/can I add all forced air in the addition (heat and cool)?



  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Fuel options

    Reading between the lines, it appears you do not have natural gas available?  How do LPG prices compare with oil prices there? is worth a few minutes of your time before you get too far into this.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,061
    Well now...

    forced air is not more efficient than hot water.  In fact, a properly installed and controlled hot water system is the most efficient way to heat your home.  Furthermore, it's a lot more comfortable than forced air.

    So -- I would recommend that you replace the old boiler with one properly sized to fit your home, including the new radiation (consider baseboards or even radiant floors in parts of the new second floor), with proper controls (including outdoor reset) and zoning.

    For cooling you probably should replace the old central air; you could use another unit, or mini-splits, in the new upstairs.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • bilc16
    bilc16 Member Posts: 5

    Oil is pretty much my only option.  There aren't any natural gas lines close to my street and I don't have the outdoor space to put in a propane tank.  I live in the northeast and need heat 6 months out of the year so electric isn't really an option either. 
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850

    If you are used to radiant heat I highly doubt that you will be satisfied with the comfort provided by forced air. Quiet comfort is priceless. I love my A/c after a hot day outside, but I HATE it when I am relaxing in my laZboy and the A/C kicks on blows cold air across me. I don't have a choice with the A/C, but I would never give up the radiant heat.

  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Raising the Roof:

    I may be contradictory again.

    If you are going to add a second story to your ranch, how wide and what pitch will the roof be? If the building is wide enough and the roof pitch is steep enough, put an air handler in the attic, fed from the boiler in the cellar. You can have AC as part of the air handler. Cold air falls. The second floor cooling ends up on the first floor. The baseboard heat from the first floor ends up on the second floor. Progress not perfection. As far as DHW, a oil boiler with a internal DHW coil can be a wonderful thing, connected to a storage tank. Some will say that it doesn't work. However, as an unintended consequence (by others) it seems to work very well.

    If the second floor is new though, some of us are of the opinion that our drills can go anywhere. That we can fish PEX tubing with the best electrician. It just depends on who you ask.  
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,610
    No ducts

    You have hot water , keep hot water . Add panel rads w / trvson your new second floor , do a proper heat loss , downsize the boiler to something appropriate . Make the panel rads homeruns to a manifold with some ECM circ , put a thermostat in a 2nd floor room and set it 2 degrees above the setting on that TRV .  DO NOT PUT DUCTS . Any connection between unheated and heated areas is BAD .  Don't get sucked into the bringing the attic into the thermal envelope tarp just so you can install garbage . Leave the thermal boundary at the ceiling and let the attic breathe . Use a ductless minisplit with as few or as many evaporators that you deem necessary , they do come in other than ugly wall mounted beasts .   
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833