We have a 7 bedroom Greek revival farmhouse near Pittsfield, MA ca. 1840. The main house is mostly original: wood frame with lathe & plaster and clapboards. It’s got oil-fired steam heat. Ceiling heights are less than 8 feet.
There’s a more recent kitchen wing which we will remodel. The kitchen wing heating will be separate.
In the main house, we must upgrade plumbing, electrical and replace the boiler. The piping and radiators are serviceable (presumably). The entire house has been drained and shut down after Thanksgiving.
We want to make an HVAC plan for the whole house but these questions pertain mostly to the original main house:
• Keep it as original as possible (walls, windows, etc.)
• Provide year-round heat in at least some of rooms.
• Add A/C everywhere.
• Restore the steam system.
• Make it reasonably (not extremely) efficient.
• Heat only some of the rooms and leave others at minimum temperature (if that’s possible without creating condensation/moisture problems)
• Use splits.
• Keep the steam system as a supplement or back-up.
• Rigid foam insulation under the shingles
• Upgrade the exterior storm windows.
• One contractor wants to create an interior separation barrier in the main house so there’d be a cold part and a warm part. He wants to use propane-fired forced air. It would require modifying the walls.
• How to control the moisture problems when heating only some of the rooms?
• Does adding insulation create moisture problems?
• Are splits a practical choice? Are they too ugly or noisy?
• Are splits cheap to use with solar incentives?
• Is the steam system too expensive to restore?
• Should we use an oil or propane?