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Update old hot water system or convert to forced air?

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New poster here. I have been lurking for a few weeks and searched through old threads but couldn't find a direct answer to the question I am confronted with. I am going to apoligize on the front end if some of my terminology is incorrect.

My preganant wife and I just purchased a 1932 tudor style home in Memphis, TN. It was a short sale and sold "as-is" and I knew there was possibility the heating system would need a large update on the front end. The original home had a walk up attic which was built out in order to create more living space upstairs. There are 2 zones in the house. The upstairs has a forced air HVAC system for both heat and air. The downstairs has forced air and all ductwork installed though attic space for the a/c in the summer months. However, for the heating months, the downstairs has the original hot water gravity fed (I believe) system and the boiler is located in the basement. The boiler is an American Radiator Company Ideal Gas Boiler. Boiler # 1-G-4. The boiler is rated at 165,000 BTU and says it can heat 880 sq ft. I believe the boiler is original to the home based on information I found on this site. The home is 2200 sq ft. (1650 sq ft being downstairs). Some radiators have been removed when past renovations were done but there is still plumbing under every room for radiator connection. As a side note, the boiler pipes are all covered in the cardboard style white asbestos insulation. The asbestos has been encapsualted in the area above the basement but is exposed as the pipes enter the crawlspace. I had a licensed abatement contractor tell me the asbestos was in good condition and recomended I leave it alone unless i was renovating or updating the heating system. My wife would like the asbestos removed for peace of mind and I try not to argue with her b/c she is pregnant :sweat_smile:

I am trying to decide how and if I should update the system as I expect it is grossly inefficient in its current state. The reason for updating is 2 fold - abating the asbestos and getting better efficiency out of the system (killing 2 birds with 1 stone). The previous owner did replace the expansion tank as well as "tune up" the system according to him. It seems to be working properly and I have owned the house for 1 month.

I know we cant talk specific numbers but I am looking for a professional recommendation as cost of update is definitely coming into play here. I am getting mixed opinions on how to handle the situation. Some are saying live with higher energy costs and keep the system going as long as possible. Others are saying take out the boiler and radiators and use the current ductwork already installed for the downstairs to heat the home with forced air. Some say take out the old boiler and distribution lines with asbestos and replace with new boiler and pex tubing.

What would be the most cost effective way to handle this situation? I love the type of heat the radiators give off and in a perfect world where cost wasn't an issue I would update the boiler, get the asbestos abated, and continue to use the old rads. Also as a note - the area I live in has a shorter heating season and not nearly as many HVAC companies know how to service hot water systems properly as far as I can tell.

Would you have the old black iron lines and boiler removed and a new boiler and pex piping tied into the old rads? Or would you just get the asbestos professionally abated off the old pipes (basically scraped off then sealed) and update the boiler? Final option would be to take out all the old hot water system (pick up some sq ft in the process) and have the old downstairs HVAC forced air system overhauled to blow heat and air.

Thanks for your input.

Harris
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Comments

  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    Don't switch to forced air. It's not healthy. The sq/ft listing on the boiler is if it was set up as a steam boiler. Get the asbestos removed, then use the coming off season to get your ducks in a row for a boiler upgrade. You can do a heat loss, room by room, and make sure you have the right amount of emitters in each room. You have time and will get any help you need, here.
    ahjordan
  • ahjordan
    ahjordan Member Posts: 10
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    Thanks Paul. So you would leave the original black iron piping as opposed to removing it and use it with a new boiler? Or would you install new piping?
    To add a layer to this, I'm pretty sure the asbestos abatement would be cheaper if I just had the old pipes removed instead of scraping it off of them (less labor time).
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,766
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    Are you able to provide a couple pictures of the boiler , near boiler piping , mains with piping to rads and a couple of the radiators ? Maybe you could also post the room dimensions .
    L x W x H , length of outside walls , dimension and type of windows and doors in those walls , Floor coverings to be used , all known insulation values in outside walls , ceilings exposed to attics , floors ?
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,741
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    ahjordan said:


    To add a layer to this, I'm pretty sure the asbestos abatement would be cheaper if I just had the old pipes removed instead of scraping it off of them (less labor time).

    Did an abatement company tell you this? As far as I know they can not be disposed of together so no matter what the abatement company will have to scrape the pipes and I doubt if the same company will remove pipes. I know in the area I live that's the way it works.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    ahjordan
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    IMO, the most "cost effective" thing you can do before you do ANYTHING, INSULATE, INSULATE, and tighten up. It changes everything. It is the fastest ROI you can do.

    If the house was built in 1932 in Memphis, TN, unless there is evidence to the contrary, there isn't a lick of insulation anywhere. That large old boiler is sized for a 1932 uninsulated house. A fully insulated and weather stripped house stops 3+X the heat than an uninsulated house. The same applies to cooling. The summer cooling load can become really heavy and in Memphis, a big part of the cooling load is the humidity.

    You can spend money on all the efficient heating and cooling systems in the world. If you don't deal with heat loss/heat gain. you might as well just open a window and throw buckets of cash to the Wall Street Crime Syndicate. Which their Bankster Divisions will be more than happy to loan back to you at usury rates.

    Get rid of that asbestos covering. I get the creeps just thinking about it. ALL OF IT!!!.

    Insulation and the lack of it is like the elephant in the room. Everyone knows its there, but no one wants to talk about it.

    IMO
    ahjordan
  • ahjordan
    ahjordan Member Posts: 10
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    Rich said:

    Are you able to provide a couple pictures of the boiler , near boiler piping , mains with piping to rads and a couple of the radiators ? Maybe you could also post the room dimensions .
    L x W x H , length of outside walls , dimension and type of windows and doors in those walls , Floor coverings to be used , all known insulation values in outside walls , ceilings exposed to attics , floors ?

    I will take pictures and post them as soon as I get off work this afternoon. I also have a breakdown of the room size and layout from the appraisal that I will try to attach.
  • ahjordan
    ahjordan Member Posts: 10
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    icesailor said:

    IMO, the most "cost effective" thing you can do before you do ANYTHING, INSULATE, INSULATE, and tighten up. It changes everything. It is the fastest ROI you can do.

    Insulation and the lack of it is like the elephant in the room. Everyone knows its there, but no one wants to talk about it.

    IMO

    Everywhere I have looked in the attic, there is blown in cellulose insulation. The built out attic walls are insulated with fiberglass batting. There is no insulation in the crawlspace. The upstairs has double pain newer windows while the downstairs has the original single pane windows. I will post some pics tonight.

  • ahjordan
    ahjordan Member Posts: 10
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    KC_Jones said:

    ahjordan said:


    To add a layer to this, I'm pretty sure the asbestos abatement would be cheaper if I just had the old pipes removed instead of scraping it off of them (less labor time).

    Did an abatement company tell you this? As far as I know they can not be disposed of together so no matter what the abatement company will have to scrape the pipes and I doubt if the same company will remove pipes. I know in the area I live that's the way it works.
    No, that was an assumption on my part... an uninformed one. I guess it will have to be scraped regardless for abatement. Thanks for the clarity.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,426
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    I will go with the flow here!

    Although properly encapsulated asbestos is perfectly harmless, for peace of mind of the boss it may be better to have it removed. However, if you do that, reinsulate those pipes! There are a number of sources of good easy to install fiber glass insulation materials -- a do it yourself project -- and it isn't expensive.

    From there, I'd keep the nice big black iron pipes and hot water radiation. Properly controlled with a modern boiler it is far more comfortable than forced air, it's healthier, and every bit as efficient. For the rest of this winter I would live with what you have -- it's working, after all! -- and then in the summer I would investigate getting a nice new boiler -- natural gas if it's available and having it properly sized and installed.

    And we all will be glad to help out with suggestions and comments!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ahjordan
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,379
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    A slightly different opinion that may ease your wife's mind: asbestos is not poisoness. It's danger comes from breathing its particles which are like tiny daggers that logdge in the lounges and irritate the cells. Prolonged years of breathing these particles can cause enough irritation that will turn into cancer. The fiberglass in duct board has been asserted to have the same effect. As long as the asbestos is not disturbed, the particles will not be released into the air.

    Abating asbestos became a big health scare 30 years ago and federal, state and local governments spent billions having it removed. Mant times, ceiling tiles that contained it and that had been covered with several layers of paint were removed at great expense because of the panic. I stated repeatedly at the time that far more asbestos was being released into the air by doing this than had they left it alone for the next hundred years. As it turned out, the same goverment had studies done that said the same thing after it was all said and done: namely, it should have been left alone in most cases.

    But some folks made billions through government contracts by removing it. It's funny how certain businesses and individuals always get these lucrative contracts.

    My brother-in-law did asbestos abatement for 10 years in the naval shipyard in Norfolk and confirms all of this, too.

    I've not heard of a single case of anyone coming down with asbestosis from casual exposure to pipes or other areas containing it. I've known of several people who did contract it and every one of them worked handling it for a long period.

    If your asbestos abatement contractor, who stands to gain financially from removing it says it doesn't need to be done, then I'd take his advice.

    I definitely agree that you should not get rid of the hydronic system in favor of fored air. And, most likely, your old piping does not need to be removed (except around the boiler) unless there are issues with it.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
    RobGSWEI
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    Its been my understanding that there are two types of asbestos fibers. 95% of one type of fibers won't bother you. The other 5% is deadly. The only way you can tell the difference is by analysis. Because the 5% is so deadly, and because it is so difficult to tell the difference, they just decided to outlaw all types.

    A lot of workers that worked in Brake Shops had issues. They don't use asbestos in auto brakes anymore.

    I knew someone that had to retire from the Navy. He spent his career on aircraft carriers. He was stationed in the room that controls the cat shots. They use a big brake to stop the steam sled that launches the aircraft. Then, they have another one to trap aircraft. It has to be set for the weight of the aircraft. Another giant brake. All that brake dust. He had a serious case of COPD. Smoking cigarettes isn't good for you either.

    There isn't any kind of foreign object that is good for your lungs.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,699
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    I struck a conversation years ago, asbestos expert told me non smokers are more imune to negative affects of asbestos than smokers are, seemed like a plausible reality.

    Amyway, YES, you can have some of your system with old steel pipes and some of your system with pex, it's done every day.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
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    Concerning your original window; please don't replace them. take off the trim and insulate that area. then get some well-made, good-fitting storms, either exterior or interior. The R-value will be in the same ballpark as new, disposable windows. Seal 'n' Peel is a wonderful product for any gaps in the windows until you can do the above. Oldhouseguy.com has some wonderful links to government sites for further advice on keeping, but weatherproofing old windows.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
    KC_Jones
  • ahjordan
    ahjordan Member Posts: 10
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    Below are some pics I snapped this afternoon.

    The radiator has been removed from the kitchen when it was remodeled as well as the blue bedroom in the pics below. I hope these attachements work... first time I have done this.

    The living room has 12 or 13 ft ceilings. Every other room has 8ft ceilings. All floors are hardwood with crawspace below. Like previously mentioned, single pane windows downstairs. The french doors and back door have double pane glass. There will be area rugs in the dining room, living room, and bedrooms. The ceiling of the living room, dining room, green bedroom have insualted, floored attic space above them. The other rooms have primarily upstairs living space above them.

    I am not sure of the insulation values of the walls but the house is brick with plaster interior walls. There is blown in insulation all over the attic but I dont know how much of this made in down into the walls.

    Dimensions:
    Living room: 13X21. 2 windows. One very tall (12ft).

    Dining Room: 14X12. 2 windows as seen in picture below.

    Kitchen: 11X22 (radiator removed). 2 windows and mud room with 4 windows.

    Green Bedroom: 11.5X12. 2 windows .

    Blue Bedroom: 11.5X14.5 (radiator removed). No windows. Insulated french doors.

    3rd Bedroom: 9.5X13. 2 windows.



    imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage
  • ahjordan
    ahjordan Member Posts: 10
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    vaporvac said:

    Concerning your original window; please don't replace them. take off the trim and insulate that area. then get some well-made, good-fitting storms, either exterior or interior. The R-value will be in the same ballpark as new, disposable windows. Seal 'n' Peel is a wonderful product for any gaps in the windows until you can do the above. Oldhouseguy.com has some wonderful links to government sites for further advice on keeping, but weatherproofing old windows.

    Dont worry! Definitely dont want to replace them but they will need storm windows at some point. I found some old aluminum storm windows behind the shed but they are pretty damaged. I'm hoping I can salvage the frame and put new glass in them. Thanks for the info on Seal "n" Peal and the info for restoring them. Definitely helpful.
  • ahjordan
    ahjordan Member Posts: 10
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    GW said:

    I struck a conversation years ago, asbestos expert told me non smokers are more imune to negative affects of asbestos than smokers are, seemed like a plausible reality.



    Amyway, YES, you can have some of your system with old steel pipes and some of your system with pex, it's done every day.

    Thats good to know that pex can be used in conjunction with old black steel. Thanks.

    Through my research I learned that smokers have an exponentially higher chance of experiencing the negative affects of asbestos fibers... so yes I agree. My wife used to smoke but quit almost a year ago.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,426
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    That place has a lot of potential! Keep the old gravity heat, do -- you will love hot water heat! But also check the floors -- some thought to refinishing and they should be really nice (well, maybe the bathroom...). They might be shellac, in which case refinishing is very straightforward -- and doing the new finish in shellac would be the way to go.

    And vaporvac is absolutely right on the windows. Keep the old ones -- a good craftsman can do wonders at tightening them up if they have gotten loose -- and use either exterior or interior storms. The end result will be much better than modern replacement windows (unless you spend a fortune on them) as well as keeping the historic look and feel.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ahjordan
    ahjordan Member Posts: 10
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    That place has a lot of potential! Keep the old gravity heat, do -- you will love hot water heat! But also check the floors -- some thought to refinishing and they should be really nice (well, maybe the bathroom...). They might be shellac, in which case refinishing is very straightforward -- and doing the new finish in shellac would be the way to go.

    And vaporvac is absolutely right on the windows. Keep the old ones -- a good craftsman can do wonders at tightening them up if they have gotten loose -- and use either exterior or interior storms. The end result will be much better than modern replacement windows (unless you spend a fortune on them) as well as keeping the historic look and feel.

    Thanks Jamie! The floors are a mixture of different types of white oak, I believe. I'm not sure if they are shellac or not.

    The living room & dining room have mixed width beveled wood. The original bedrooms have thinner strips, and the kitchen has new white oak installed. Instersing having 3 different types of wood but I think it adds to the charachter of the home. I am planning on getting them refininshed.

    The windows are actually painted shut so I probably need to work on that. They are sealed up tight but I can't open them, ha!
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,741
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    Since the topic of windows came up and it does relate to heating I will throw this one out there. Personally I HATE storm windows with a passion. I don't like dealing with them I think they ruin the look of the house because they are covering the window that you are working hard to preserve. That being said I have been using this product on my windows. http://www.advancedrepair.com/weather_stripping.html
    Along with a couple other tricks I have figured out. My kids room is the warmest most draft free room in the house and it doesn't have any storm windows while all the other windows have storms on them. These weatherstrip kits work and work very well. If you don't mind doing the work I think it's a great alternative and (in my area) it is significantly cheaper then new good quality storms. I also use the repair epoxy from that same website and can tell you it is the best filler/repair that I have ever used. It's pricey, but at twice the cost it is cheap to me. I should also add that when I redo rooms in my house it's a full gut to the studs insulation leveling floors the whole deal so I fully appreciate not everyone wants and or needs to do it the way I do. Just wanted to present another alternative for the old windows.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • AlCorelliNY
    AlCorelliNY Member Posts: 63
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    Those radiators!
    How nice and warm they look!
    Al Corelli

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
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    Do you still have the radiators that were removed?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • ahjordan
    ahjordan Member Posts: 10
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    Steamhead said:

    Do you still have the radiators that were removed?

    A local guy, who was referred by the previous owner, is currently holding 2 rads that would fit this system and can install them in the kitchen and the bedroom that is missing one. HE is the one that tuned up the system and got it running again.

    I am going to get a quote from him but wanted to figure out the best course of action before I proceeded. The rooms are definitely different temperatures but not enough to make it uncomfortable.

    The funny thing is 2 other companies less familiar with boilers came out and said the whole system needed to be replaced and switched over to forced air. The local "old timer" came out and had the system up and running in a day (This is according to the seller). It had been inactive for at least one winter.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    First thing..........Get the heat loss done. You need it to determine radiator sizing, for the rooms that need radiators. It is the foundation that everything is built on. You need to know, room by room, how much heat needs to be applied to the house. You can do this yourself, if you want. Here's a link for a free download of SlantFins heat loss calculator. http://www.pvsullivan.com/Downloads.html
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
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    Love that bathroom, too. A lot of similarities to my 1914 house. The tiling just looks older than the 1930s.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    That's an urban legend about storm windows.

    There are basically four types.

    Single pane with no storms,

    Single Pane WITH storms (aluminum storm windows)

    Double pane insulated (Anderson type)

    Triple pane (Double Pane with outside storm panel, Anderson type.

    The window with the highest "R" (Resistance) valve is the Triple Pane. The second highest is the single pane with aluminum storm window. Because the air space (which provides more resistance) is greater.

    If you have odd colors for outside trim, you can get quality windows fabricated in any color you want. If you go with the highest R-value window, it is a double pane with a full sized storm panel that takes the place of a full screen. That you have to remove if you want fresh air.

    The last house I built has Anderson "Perma-Shield) windows with a 1/2" air space. (They used to be 1/4"). It always irritated me that if I had normal 6 0ver 6 double hung windows with aluminum storm windows, I would have had a greater R Valve that the Anderson's.

    If you look in the IBR/GAMA H-22 heat loss guide or the Slant Fin Heat Loss Explorer, it is in the calculations. Many don't understand the programs, and make mistakes.

    If you have old windows with sash weights, remove them, fill the cavity with insulation, cut the sash down, and install weather strip sash balancers.

  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
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    @icesailor , going off-topic again, but what are weather strip sash balancers? Can I still use my double-hungs as designed ie. opeinig top AND Bottom? I'm pretty happy with the interior storms I built. No one even notices them, but there's always room for improvement concerning air infiltration. :)
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,426
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    It is true that the channels for the sash weights have a heat loss associated with them, as they are -- of necessity -- not insulated. However, it isn't that much area. In a good double hung, there should be very little air infiltration; almost always what one finds is that over the years the window, the stops, and the parting strips have all gotten worn. Properly refitting (and granted, now and then replacing them -- particularly the parting rail) will reduce the infiltration to a real minimum, but keep the full original operation of the window.

    Weather strip sash balancers -- at least the ones which I have seen -- do work, but they require altering the sashes which may or may not be all that simple, particularly if the glazing is old.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    edited January 2015
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    Thanks for the info. I really try to keep on top of my window maintenance, but I have ALOT of them. I just find the design ingenious. I have 1/2" thick lead crystal glazing and would hate to damage it.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    @vaporvac:

    You use the old window sash over and modify the existing antique sash to make the jams work.

    It was done regularly where I lived and worked because the hysterical district commission wouldn't let you throw out old windows unless they were so bad, the glass was falling out.

    Its not all that difficult to do. You just pick the correct side sash spiral balancers, and trim the window widths to fit.

    As far as your beloved inside storm, you still have to take them off and store them for the summer and put screens on the outside. Most windows have a blind stop which moves the storm inside the outside plane of the existing trim. 30 years ago, they had windows and they came in two patterns. New England/Boston where the outside window trim was nailed to the actual side jam. You had to install the storm on the outside of the casing. which made the storm project well last the casing. The other is a "New York Pattern, with a blind stop nailed to the side jamb, and the casing is nailed to the stop. The Storm is fit to this blind stop. If you don't fit the storm to the blind stop, and you fit it to the outside of the casing, you can't get the storm panels and screen out through the window.

    Next time you are driving down the road, start looking at windows. You might be surprised at what you see.

    Those inside storms you have are better than changing to 1/2" double paned insulated glass windows without the storm panels.
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
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    Windows are one of my pet peeves...or rather replacement windows, so I do look at windows all the time. Interesting about the two types of storms.I wasn't familiar with that so I will have to start looking out for it.
    I have so many windows...I never open them all so I leave some of the interior storms (and seal/n/ peel) up year-round, especially on the first floor. I originally saw the interior storms many years ago in Sweden and thought , "how clever". I'm still perfecting my technique. I just like to see the shadows and beautiful glass on the "real" windows and by making them myself, it was much cheaper.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,767
    edited January 2015
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    Hmmm.
    I thought double pane windows are not just an air gap, but have a vacuum pulled on them?

    My 1987 Anderson's in my livingroom certainly never feel as cold as my 1860s windows + aluminum storm windows. I only have a few of the 1987 Andersons but many, many 1860s + storm windows.

    Sadly, my original windows will never be restored as they were made terrible. If I ever have the money to spend on it, I'll be buying the best windows I can to replace them, likely Anderson 400 woodwright series windows with 2 over 2 style to match my originals.


    That said,
    I would never, ever, rip out a hot water system to install forced hot dust. Keep the system and repair what you need to. The asbestos is up to you. If it was mine, I would do whatever repairs to it that I had to to make it intact, sealed and safe. Perhaps even measure it's outside diameter and buy fiberglass to put over it, adding more R value to the pipes. But I'd never disturb it if I didn't have to.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    "" I thought double pane windows are not just an air gap, but have a vacuum pulled on them? ""

    The air/vacuum space provide the resistance. The bigger the air space, the greater the resistance.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    @vaporvac:

    Its not the storm window, it's the blind stop. All wood framed double hung windows and stationary ones come with a "blind stop", 3/4" X 1 1/4", nailed flush to the back and extending 1/2" past the inside edge of the casing. The front of the jamb is still flush with the finish framing. The storm sash is screwed into the blind stop On Greek Revival windows with the 1/2 round casing trim, it has the blind stop. You don't put the storm on the 1/2 round, you put it on the blind stop. Like louvered shutters did. And when you do, the storm doesn't stick past the finish casing.

    Some who measure windows for aluminum storms don't know how to measure and where the windows go.

    The devil is in the details. Every window style is different. In Europe where they have a lot of stucco buildings, the window detail may be different and the only place to put a panel is inside. I'm not suggesting that it is wrong. Just that there other ways of doing it.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,767
    edited January 2015
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    The main problem with my original windows is there is no stop between the two sashes, I think may be called the "interior stop". So, the lower sash rubs against the upper shash when you open and close it.

    Also, the sashes don't fit right, are loose left to right and overall just stink. No sash weights and due to the lack of a stop separating them you can't make them too tight or you can't open them.

    I guess I can't complain, a lot of things don't last 150 years.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Options
    That's what vinyl jambs are for.

    Sounds like the original windows were replaced with something that doesn't match.

    You might look into vinyl jamb replacements with the spring loaded sash balances. If they are standard 1 1/8" windows, the vinyl jambs fit them. Its only when you get into the antique 1" thick sash where it gets interesting. If you don't have a parting bead to keep the two sash separated, you don't have window weights, and the sash will swing side to side, something was there before.

    If you had cast iron window weights with the cords, the sash is plowed out for the ropes. You fill that space in so it is flush, take out the pulley, put the vinyl jamb in, trim the window edges to fit, and you now have a weather stripped window. But what you describe, doesn't sound original.

    The terminology has changed. What I have been describing as a "Blind Stop" is actually the piece that they push the vinyl jamb against. The storm sash goes on the other side.

    If you're really in to such things, there is a magazine called Journal of Light Construction, JLC.com that you can join. If you do, they give you a 2 disk CD with every article they have published for 25+ years. Articles written by people in the trades. All searchable. Its like Youse Tubes by and for professionals. Vinnie the Plumber/Oil Burner guy don't get published. They cover it all.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,767
    Options
    icesailor said:

    That's what vinyl jambs are for.

    Sounds like the original windows were replaced with something that doesn't match.

    You might look into vinyl jamb replacements with the spring loaded sash balances. If they are standard 1 1/8" windows, the vinyl jambs fit them. Its only when you get into the antique 1" thick sash where it gets interesting. If you don't have a parting bead to keep the two sash separated, you don't have window weights, and the sash will swing side to side, something was there before.

    If you had cast iron window weights with the cords, the sash is plowed out for the ropes. You fill that space in so it is flush, take out the pulley, put the vinyl jamb in, trim the window edges to fit, and you now have a weather stripped window. But what you describe, doesn't sound original.

    The terminology has changed. What I have been describing as a "Blind Stop" is actually the piece that they push the vinyl jamb against. The storm sash goes on the other side.

    If you're really in to such things, there is a magazine called Journal of Light Construction, JLC.com that you can join. If you do, they give you a 2 disk CD with every article they have published for 25+ years. Articles written by people in the trades. All searchable. Its like Youse Tubes by and for professionals. Vinnie the Plumber/Oil Burner guy don't get published. They cover it all.


    Sashes measure 1 1/4" thick and 29" x 27"

    I doubt something was there before, but you never know. Almost all of them match except a few that were added in the late 1800s that are 1 over 1 and have weights.

    The glass is clearly cylinder glass in the older ones with many imperfections and the style of muntins also agrees with 1860s.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    Options
    Going further off-topic, now I need a pic of your windlow.. @chrisj. I'll pm a link later for excellent info on old window compiled by the Parks service who look after all things historica here in the USA. I didnt know your house was so old. n Anderson rep came to my house years ago (for something unrelated to MY house) and gave me an esimate for one room...18k. Since I had 0 storms, I decided on the interior route.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,767
    edited January 2015
    Options
    vaporvac said:

    Going further off-topic, now I need a pic of your windlow.. @chrisj. I'll pm a link later for excellent info on old window compiled by the Parks service who look after all things historica here in the USA. I didnt know your house was so old. n Anderson rep came to my house years ago (for something unrelated to MY house) and gave me an esimate for one room...18k. Since I had 0 storms, I decided on the interior route.

    Yep,

    The realitor told us it was built in 1920 when we bought it. My dad found type B cutnails and said "no way it was built in 1920". Then the town told us 1901, but I noticed every house had the same date. Then I found some 1890s maps showing it, and then an 1874 map showing it. I'm fairly sure I found the correct census records showing the original family and as they had children. The third child's birth year agrees with when the third bedroom looks like it was added onto one of the maps.

    I have an original copy of the 1874 map now and it was hand colored which is cool. I think it's 12" x 24"
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,426
    Options
    ChrisJ said:




    Sashes measure 1 1/4" thick and 29" x 27"

    I doubt something was there before, but you never know. Almost all of them match except a few that were added in the late 1800s that are 1 over 1 and have weights.

    The glass is clearly cylinder glass in the older ones with many imperfections and the style of muntins also agrees with 1860s.

    Not unusual in older windows -- the fancy "modern" sash weight system is a little later. Yours should have stops or pins to hold them in various vertical positions so they don't come crashing down on your head. They are a little more difficult to get really weathertight, but it can be done with careful attention to the details. This is not something which Joe Carpenter can do, really, but a good craftsman who is willing to take some time can get those so they slide well and stay open at various heights -- and are still pretty draught proof. At least I've been able to do that for the older sections (1810 to 1870) of the place I care for...

    Double pane windows were at one time sealed with a vacuum or, sometime, nitrogen. The seals usually leak over time.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England