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heating system in a new house

chuck_6
chuck_6 Member Posts: 107
A friend is having a new house built (in New Jersey) and was wondering what the best type of heating system would be. I advised radiators and to have ducts for air conditioning (and zone the first and second floors). Others have advised forced air, baseboard and radiant heat. What are the pros and cons of each and relative cost of all?

Comments

  • BillW@honeywell
    BillW@honeywell Member Posts: 1,099
    A tough question

    Remember that the house is a system. If one component is poorly designed or fails, it effects the entire system.
    Insulation, windows & doors, siding & roof all influence heating/cooling system performance.

    Generally, it is wise to purchase the most efficient hvac equipment your budget will allow. You should look for about a 5 year cost recovery (payback) in energy savings. Do your homework, and visit the manufacturer's websites, and pay attention to the efficiency ratings of the equipment you are considering. Overall, "Energy Star" rated products are the most efficient. Highly efficient products are generally more costly to purchase & install, but cost MUCH less to operate(fuel & electric). You will be living with this system for the next 20 years or more, so make sure it is the most efficient you can afford, since energy costs are the third largest cost of home ownership after mortgage & taxes. Pay attention to the other energy consumers in your house, too! The water heater, refrigerator and your lighting system all should be as efficient as possible. Remember, your heating & cooling system effects your comfort on a 24/7 basis!

    The quality of the installation is just as important as the quality and efficiency of the equipment. The best equipment available will not make up for a poorly designed system or a botched installation. Do your homework with the contractors, too! Visit some of their jobs, visit their showroom! Check them out with the BBB & Consumer Affairs. Talk to their customers. To get started, use the "Find a Contractor" feature above and check out some of their jobs, and give them a call to discuss the options.

    Visit www.honeywell.com/yourhome and take a look at some of the accessories and options that will enhance and add value to whatever system you choose. Sorry this was such a long-winded post!
  • eugene hall
    eugene hall Member Posts: 1
    propane boiler versus furnance

    my wife and i purchased a 1000 square foot ranch in midwest connecticut with electrice heat. we have saved some money for a conversion but are confused on which system would be most advantagious. two contractors are convinced their system is the best, a hydro air system with a propane boiler in the basement and the duct work in the attic and the other wants us to buy a propane furnace to be put in the attic with the vents in the attic as well. which is the better system? we know the cost differential but we want to make an informed purchase. we are concerned about drying out the air with a furnace and also the drain line for the furnace(90% efficiency) in the attic could freeze. what should a man do with his money?

    eugene hall
  • John Mills_3
    John Mills_3 Member Posts: 221
    my 2 cents

    says put the 90+ LP furnace in the basement. Heat coming from ceiling vents often isn't comfortable. The heat hugs the ceiling, especially with high returns, and you are cold sitting on the couch. You are right, 90+ furnace drain in the attic will freeze.

    As for drying the air, the heat source makes little difference. How much air leaks into the house makes the difference. 2 identical houses with the same heating system but different levels of tightness will have vastly different humidity levels. Cold air leaking in and being heated by whatever method is why houses are dry. Hot air holds much more moisture so when 20 degree air at 80% is heated to 70%, it may have only 20% relative humidity.

    The 90% gas furnace will be much less expensive than a 90% boiler and separate air handler!
  • tombig
    tombig Member Posts: 291
    Drifted Post

    > my wife and i purchased a 1000 square foot ranch

    > in midwest connecticut with electrice heat. we

    > have saved some money for a conversion but are

    > confused on which system would be most

    > advantagious. two contractors are convinced

    > their system is the best, a hydro air system with

    > a propane boiler in the basement and the duct

    > work in the attic and the other wants us to buy a

    > propane furnace to be put in the attic with the

    > vents in the attic as well. which is the better

    > system? we know the cost differential but we

    > want to make an informed purchase. we are

    > concerned about drying out the air with a furnace

    > and also the drain line for the furnace(90%

    > efficiency) in the attic could freeze. what

    > should a man do with his money?

    >

    > eugene hall



  • tombig
    tombig Member Posts: 291
    Drifted Post

    It seems this post has drifted. Eugene you should have posted seperately but I'll address your query. Does you ranch have a basement or a crawl? If it's slab your options are limited. I'm thinking slab because both contractors are suggesting attic ducts. Let us know.


    Tombig

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,714
    There are

    more choices than that. First off, unless handled properly, propane can be much more dangerous than oil or natural gas. I'd seriously consider using oil if you can't get natural gas. A modern oil-fired boiler is just as efficient as a gas-fired one, and unlike old units it burns with zero smoke.

    The hydronics industry offers many different systems to choose from. Many of us Wallsters like in-floor radiant, but that can be difficult to retrofit in some cases. Then there's fin-tube baseboard, cast-iron baseboard, convectors, free-standing cast-iron radiators (my personal favorite, and yes, they still make these) as well as hydro-air.

    Any of the above can be part of a hot-water distribution system. If you're way out in the sticks where power failures might last a while, you can get around the possibility of pipes freezing by installing a steam system. These were traditionally installed with radiators, but can be used with other types of heat transmitters also.

    Try the Find a Contractor page of this site to locate one of us near you. We can do better than scorched-air. You'll live with the system you decide on for a long time, so go for maximum comfort!

    To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • kevin
    kevin Member Posts: 420
    good advice...

    your friend needs to sit down with a contractor or two to properly asses his needs,lifestyle and budget. There are too many variables to be talked about for this one short post. kpc
  • mike celiano
    mike celiano Member Posts: 6


    Chuck,
    We have been in the HVAC business since 1925.I am 3rd generation and over the past 8 years we have become radiant heat experts intergrating them with conventional hi-efficient split systems. Our comfort engineering techniques have satisfied neumerous customers throughout NJ. Just imagine how your bare feet would have felt on your tile bathroom floor this past winter? Good luck.
  • Tom Meyer
    Tom Meyer Member Posts: 300
    Chuck

    When considering options, don't just look at the upfront cost (initial installation). Make a list of what you want your heat system to do for you. This sounds silly, but really it's the only way to compare systems. I've seen things on my clients' lists such as:

    "I don't want to know it's running."
    "Long term fuel costs."
    "Comfort"
    "I want my kid to be comfortable on the floor."

    Next, don't let the salesman tell you one system is better than the other because of the efficiency of the heat source. It's not just the heat source driving your fuel bill, the the total SYSTEM efficiency. How much bang you get for your fuel buck.

    Senior Designer/Trainer
    Precision Hydronics Corporation
    www.precisionhydronics.com
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