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Looking for ideas and thoughts for new heating system in old house

chaz_56 Member Posts: 1
Greetings and Salutations!

I just signed up here in search of some ideas regarding options to consider for our unique situation in our home in Northern Vermont.

We have lived here for over 13 years using the rather unconventional heating setup that was here when we moved in. The house is a split level - Gambrel on one side with a ground floor and 3 bedrooms above. The other side has a full basement with Living/Dining Kitchen above it. The two are joined together in a tee with a split staircase.

In the living room, we have heated with a forced air LP stove. I can't recall the BTU value at this point, but it basically serves as home heating on its own down to about 20F. On the ground level of the Gambrel, we have a Vermont Castings Woodstove we fire up to supplement, and to ensure the core temp of the house stays within a comfortable level.

Previous owners had baseboard heat that had been extracted likely at the time when the propane heater was installed. The obvious remnants are all of the extra wiring that is still in place. I believe baseboard was in place when the house was originally constructed around 1980.

We would like to upgrade to a more comprehensive home heating solution and remove the propane heater, while leaving the wood stove for at least backup and aesthetics. We already have a 500 gal. LP buried tank. We also have an LP water heater and cook stove.

Without much research, I have considered a multi zone boiler system in the basement. There is an existing chimney that could be used for exhaust.

The obvious issue here is without a more conventional heat distribution of either piping or venting, I don't know what that would take to install radiator/base board. Is it reasonable to consider installing, or would it be cost prohibitive? Are there other options I should consider?

I'm looking for ideas and opinions and appreciate all responses!


  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,244
    start off with a room by heat load calculation. Slant fin and US Boiler have free online simulators. Then spend the first dollars upgrading the structure, reduce the load
    All sorts of hydronics will work, radiant, panel rads, fin tube, etc
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,074
    As Hot Rod stated above.
    However don't bank 100% on your existing chimney serving your needs.
    Often boiler choice is dictated by available chimney.

    Do the heat loss calc's and you will probably see that one of your largest heat losses is air infiltration. Windows will be a big number but unless the glass is rattling and curtains moving in the wind, may not be good ROI replacing.