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Why two heating systems?

bspatuzzi
bspatuzzi Member Posts: 1
I a looking to purchase a 1965 built 4,000 square foot 2 story home. The downstairs has hot water baseboard heating with a boiler in the basement. The 2nd story has electric heat in each of the 4 bedrooms. I have a few questions:
Why two different systems?
Is heating this house going to cost a fortune?
Would it be worth switching to gas forced air? if so, for both floors?

Comments

  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,477
    Electric heat is dirt cheap to install but usually very expensive to run unless the house is super insulated.

    Do a heat loss of the house and see if the existing boiler has the capacity to heat the whole house, if it does extend the hot water system to the second floor as a second zone.

    A cheap improperly designed hot air system is not going to be comfortable or economic. A properly designed hot air system will cost a lot more than extending the hot water system.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    RobG4Johnpipe
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    The second story may have been an after thought and no one wanted to route piping from basement.

    Got a boiler already, if it's sized for the whole house, make a second zone for upstairs!

    You won't match the comfort of efficiency of bb heat with forced hot air.
    RobG
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,120
    what about cooling? Maybe add an air handler with a hot water coil for the upstairs.

    A load calc for the entire home first. then see if the boiler has enough capacity to run the up and down.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,275
    And it's a lot easier to run pipe for hot water heat to the second floor than it ever would be to run ductwork...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    1964 was an era of bigger is better. Chances are the boiler of that time is generously oversized for the house and would probably heat both floors. For some reason the system was not extended to the 2nd floor. May it wasn't finished. Are or were there bedrooms on the first floor? Some people didn't believe in heating bedrooms then, ( I know, water would freeze in the room).
    Is your 4000 square feet actually 2 floors times 2000 each?
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,517
    Built in 65'. The late 60s and early 70s were supposed to be the electric heat era. Everything was going neucluar power and electricity was going to be dirt cheap. All those houses had the aluminum romex wire. Nothing wrong with Aluminum wire either. It was the connections that were bad. All the wiring devices (sw. and recpt) were designed for copper and didn't play well with the aluminum. My guess is they put the boiler in later due to the cost of the electricity. Probably couldn't find an easy route for the second floor piping.
    kcopp
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    EBEBRAT-ED has brought up an interesting subject concerning pure aluminum romex wiring, something to be avoided or the consideration to be dealt with financially. At that time there was also copper-clad aluminum romex which looks to be copper but if you scrap it the aluminum shows up; it is also one gauge size larger than copper was. (#10 AWG equals #12 copper for 20 amps. ie kitchen ckts.) Special connections are needed at each box (outlet-switch-light) for safe operation. Thankfully this pure aluminum wiring mostly showed up in trailer houses of that era. (Don't get me started!!) A home inspection by removing the main breaker panel cover will tell you a lot.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,477
    If aluminum wire terminations is done right your ok, if not the danger of a house fire is very high. The problem is a copper aluminum interface will oxidize and that raises the resistance and that creates heat - a very bad combination.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,275
    BobC said:

    If aluminum wire terminations is done right your ok, if not the danger of a house fire is very high. The problem is a copper aluminum interface will oxidize and that raises the resistance and that creates heat - a very bad combination.

    Bob

    It doesn't just oxidize -- the aluminium also expands much more than either copper or steel when it gets even a little bit warm, and this loosens the connection -- just a little -- which then gets even warmer, which loosens... you can see where this is going. There are special devices -- switches, plugs, fixtures -- to use with AL or AL/CU wire. They don't have this problem, but they are hard to get. If one is going to replace a fixture in such a house, be absolutely sure that the replacement fixture is correct!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Jack
    Jack Member Posts: 1,047
    Where are you? Minot or Miami? It makes a difference.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    Depending upon where the OP is located?? Some local codes did not allow AL or AL/CU wiring at all. Hoping we don't scare them away from the house until the facts are actually known. We just hope to have them well informed of any potential minefields.
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
    hot rod said:

    what about cooling? Maybe add an air handler with a hot water coil for the upstairs.

    A load calc for the entire home first. then see if the boiler has enough capacity to run the up and down.

    That is what I would do as well..