Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Which heating system???

Have a single story 1900 sf home with full basement on a lake in central Maine. The home is being gutted to the studs (2x4). Going to spray foam (closed cell) the whole house, including basement walls and attic. All new windows and Doors. Will have 4 sliders (3 6 footers and 1 12 or 14 foot). My requirements / wishes for a heating/cooling are:
1 system, efficient, propane fuel source, air exchanger, domestic hot water, able to do radiant for about 20% of the floor space (bathrooms and entry), balance should be some type of air system.

One contractor is suggesting a propane boiler with an airhandler. the vents would be located about 12 inches off the floor. The airhandler would do both the heating and cooling. Would have 3 zones for the radiant (master bath, 2nd bath, entry). Super stor for the hotwater requirements. System would not be as efficient but it's one system

Another is suggesting a distributed heat pump in the attic and an oil boiler backup. Run the heat pump 8 or 9 months of the year and the oil boiler the balance. Would have radiant in the tile areas and wall recessed units in the balance of the house. Don't like the idea of 2 systems and concerned the recessed wall units would be noisey over time (internal fan). Domestic would be either on demand or off the boiler.

Is there another reasonable choice?? Do not want hot water baseboard.


  • njtommy
    njtommy Member Posts: 1,105
    This is what I would recommend.
    The outside unit to be a heat pump with a hot water coil built into or on top of your air handler for back up heat or ran down to balance point of the house. If hot water coil is designed currectly it would able to supply 140 water on a design day. I would recommend a propane high efficiency mod con boiler. With 140 supply water temp it would be able to keep your system at around 90% efficient or slightly higher depending supply water temp of the floor heat.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    Don't forget fresh air with the house that "tight".
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,417
    There is a very definite advantage to the air handler approach: as @Paul48 notes, you need controlled fresh air, but you don't want to lose more of the heat than you can help. The solution to that is an air to air heat exchanger on the fresh air inlet/exhaust ducting. You'll be a lot happier if you do that...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,433
    When you say air handler, do you mean HRV/ERV or do you want to blow air around as part of a heat system?
    Do you have cooling needs?
    Is this a second home with a septic? If so is the tank and line deep enough so condensate from a high efficiency appliance would not freeze?
    It sounds like you are trying to do a few different things. Is there a budget?
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    Sounds to me like you need to decide on a budget, and expectation of your comfort system. fuel cost comparison should be in your decision also.
  • Brewbeer
    Brewbeer Member Posts: 616
    Is this a full time residence or a second home? If second home, when would it be primarily used? That would factor into what I would decide if it were my house.
    Hydronics inspired homeowner with self-designed high efficiency low temperature baseboard system and professionally installed mod-con boiler with indirect DHW. My system design thread: http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/154385
    System Photo: https://us.v-cdn.net/5021738/uploads/FileUpload/79/451e1f19a1e5b345e0951fbe1ff6ca.jpg