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First home -- Where do I start with updating heating system and adding cooling?
I'll be closing on my first house at the end of the month. I'm excited, but I feel like I'm going in circles trying to work out a plan for heating and cooling.
Things I know:
- Aprox. 3000sqft, four bedroom two bath home (it's basically a raised ranch with living space added to what would normally be the attic)
- Aprox. 1000sqft of unfinished space split between the basement and second floor
- The boiler is a 1977 oil fired Weil-McLain that is original to the house
- Hydronic baseboard convectors in all rooms
- At least 4 existing heating zones
- No central air, some small wall unit air conditioners
- The hot water heater is electric and is at least 30 years old (!!!)
- I have access to most rooms on the from the unfinished 'attic' on the second floor
- I have access to all rooms on the main level except for one from the basement
- The walkout basement has a good extra foot of headroom over typical basements
- Located in Central Pennsylvania, so we can get some decently cold weather
Things I need:
- Air conditioning!!!
- A hot water heater that isn't older than I am
Things I want:
- Even more zones (it's a huge house and some rooms will spend days or weeks mostly unoccupied)
- The ability to inexpensively expand both heating and cooling systems as I finish off additional interior space
- To be able to control heating and cooling without multiple thermostats per-zone
- The ability to tie everything in to home automation (I'm a software developer by trade)
Things that I wish I could do:
- Getting rid of at least some of the ugly baseboard convectors
I also have a number of general questions:
1. My assumption is that the boiler is rapidly approaching the end of it's life and that a modern replacement would likely pay for itself in terms of efficiency.
2. The hot water heater obviously needs to be replaced ASAP. Would it be foolish to install another electric water heater when I could do an indirect water heater in combination with a new boiler? How do I figure out which would cost less to operate? How do the hybrid heat-pump water heaters compare in terms of efficiency?
3. How blasphemous would it be to completely eliminate the hydronic heating and move to ducted multi-split systems? (FWIW, I've never had anything other than forced air so I have no idea what I'm missing)
4. How do I go about finding the right people to do the work the right way. IE: I want to find someone who will actually do the math and design an appropriate system to meet my needs, rather than just eyeballing it and throwing a system together.