I have a 1970's built 1200 Sq ft Ranch. I live between Binghamton and Albany NY. At the present time I have basboard electric heat that I wish to replace. I have looked at HW baseboard, w/oil boiler Burnham MPO, and Forced air w/Propane furnace Tappan and central air. I would also like to size system to heat basement, which I plan on finishing. I plan on staying in the home for 3-5 years and would like to increase it's value. I thought that adding Central Air would be helpful, although it may get used at the most for 2 months. I realize that there is a comfort gain with hot water baseboard, but the cost of equipment and piping is significantly higher than the other. I have prior experience with both hot water heat and forced air in different homes. Depending on the day I can talk myself into and out of forced air and then hot water. My wife is from North Carolina and after going through a warm summer for the north east last summer she is not thrilled about the window AC units that we used. I am looking for some good common sense suggestions, plus and minus for the two types of heat and any thoughts on Propane vs Oil. I do have a masonary chimney that presently serves a wood stove in the basement so any additional cost for venting is not an issue.
[Edited by pboerschlein on 06-14-2006 at 10:48 PM]
most new units will need a chimmey linner--
oil is probably better choice --
HW is good, but more $$
are heat pumps common in your area?
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It gets pretty cold here, I think that the winter design temperature is around -10. I have not seen heat pumps around here.
Propane will eat you alive. The fuel source probably needs to be oil for this application. Deciding between hot water and forced air will be a price versus comfort question; you'll have to decide for yourself. If you want humidification to go along with your heat, though, forced air heat is more amenable to that.
If you are going to install central air and your electric rates aren't murderous, it might be reasonable to use a heat pump instead of a regular air conditioner. It can do the same cooling job and also provide heat during the milder parts of heating season. As I remember, though, there isn't any affordable electricity to be had at any time of year in New York, so that may not be of much help.
I wouldn't want a heat pump if I was in your area. I would go with the oil fired hot water baseboard heating system now, save your money, and add the central AC when your finances allow.
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