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I've searched the forums for a similar issue, but haven't been able to find something exact.
A bit of background: we live in New York in an older home that was built in the 1890s. It's 4 stories if you include the attic. It currently has steam heat delivered through radiators. No central A/C. The boiler is powered with oil. The radiators heat the house quite well. Given the age of the home, there isn't much in the way of insulation in the walls. However the stucco exterior does provide some.
The boiler and oil tank are on their last legs. We need to replace them by next season. We have three options:
(1) Stay on oil. Replace boiler and oil tank
(2) Switch to natural gas. Replace boiler, remove tank
(3) Scrap the steam heat. Install a dual AC and heating system
We want to stay away from option 1. It tends to hurt resale. We had been leaning towards option 2 until seeing the price tag. Natural gas rates aren't cheap in our area, so we are essentially paying for a new boiler that runs on a cleaner fossil fuel.
Option 3 is what I am seeking some advice on. We eventually want central AC (or perhaps ductless units). I understand that dual AC/heating systems are inherently inefficient. Does anyone have experience with Unico's system in this regard? Like I mentioned, I doubt the difference in monthly cost (electricity v natural gas) will be material given NY rates. Basically, is it better/more economical to scrap the new boiler and go with a dual system? Or replace the boiler with a nat gas fired one and do the AC separately?