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What would you do? Keep steam, covert to hot water or go straight HVAC?
Good morning. I purchased a historic home recently that needs mechanical upgrades and a large renovation. The property is 4 units and I would like to keep it that way. It totals 5700SF with a large amount of historical details remaining which I am looking to keep in tact. The house had a fire (prior to me purchasing it) on the ground floor unit, which spread a bit to the 1st floor. Knob and tube wiring throughout. I just hired a electrician to upgrade the service as well as the entire house. We spent a lot of time together on this to be sure to keep the damage minimal. My dilemma is the heat.
The house currently has a huge boiler and a steam system. I have all but two of the radiators, the rest are there.
There are hot water heaters on every floor which I would like to remove and have them in the mechanical room. Majority of them are located in the kitchen of each unit. Ideally I would like to separate all of the utilities to be on the tenants expense. I have narrowed down a few of my options and open to further suggestions and input.
1. I keep the steam system and forget about separating it and zones. I either get the system working as best as it can or upgrade the boiler. I guess this would be my cheapest option but still leaves the house without air conditioning, and I still have all of the huge steam pipes in the bottom floor apartment I am looking to rebuild and finish. I also don't know what kind of shape the chimney is in and may need a liner which would be a large added expense.
2. I switch over to a hot water system with a condensing boiler. Since this is a historic home, I really do not want to put baseboards around the entire house. It would completely ruin the look. I would have to purchase all new radiators. I could either run them off of one large boiler or 4 separate but maintaining 4 boilers is certainly more expensive then one. I would look to run the new system in the exact spot as the steam was previously. This still leaves me without any air conditioning throughout the entire house but I believe I can get the ceiling height I need back on the ground floor.
3. Go straight HVAC with wall mounted hyper heat units in the ground floor apartments (they can't be on the floor) and install floor units everywhere else in the exact spots where the cast iron radiators are now. I have these hyper heat type of units on my own home and have no complaints but this house is much larger, much older, and it is much colder in that location. This would be a primary heat source and the most expensive I would imagine but it also gets me AC in every apartment and full ceiling height in the basement apartment.
Thoughts? Thank you!