I'm in contract to buy a townhouse. It currently has AC and oil-fired hot water baseboard (also an electric hot water heater). All systems are independent and all have reached their life expectancy except the water heater which is four years old. The condenser, air handler, and the furnace are probably original to the unit built in 1979.
My wife hates the bulky, unattractive finned baseboard, and wants it gone. I have more substantial concerns about efficiency and age. There seem to be many possible ways to change this system. Before going into that, I should tell you that I am in NY just below the snow belt. The systems are currently working. The townhouse has no basement; the attic is accessible and unfinished. Furnace is located ground floor in back corner of attached garage with master bedroom above garage section and bathroom above boiler room. There are two zones for heat, which I assume are level one and level two. The AC is a single zone. Don't know the capacities of either presently. Heat loss in living room ought to be substantial. It has a vaulted ceiling sixteen feet high, openings to a foyer w/door, ten feet of 60 inch windows, a fireplace (doorless) with a chimney flue at the top of the chimney pipe (metal) and is open on either side of the fireplace to the dining room which, itself, has sliders to a patio. Furnace room is only vented to the garage. No natural gas or propane available.
So, here's what I've been kicking around:
1) Get rid of oil altogether by investing in high efficiency heat pump to replace AC system. Concerns: not enough heat on cold days, poor heat distribution compared to baseboard. Cost of operation.
2) Convert one zone of oil furnace to run a fan coil in a new air handler which replaces the existing AC unit. Cap the second zone. Replace the AC unit with high efficiency unit. Replace oil furnace if it dies. Concerns: leaves some of the problem unfixed. Comfort.
3) Replace baseboard with radiant baseboard. Leave other systems as is for now. Concerns: $$$$ expense for decorating convenience. Insufficient output for living room.
4) Tell my wife to live with it until we see what we've got. Wait a year.
Thanks in Advance,