Home Renovation - Replace Radiators with Hydro Forced Air?
I'm renovating a 1950 sqft 1920's Tudor home in NY (hot summers, cold winters). It's 2.5 stories with a finished half attic and an unfinished basement which I may finish. Currently window ACs and old cast iron radiators are installed. The home has a gas hot water heater and an oil burner (which I plan on converting to gas).
I'm definitely going to install central AC. Any thoughts on what to do for heat? I'm thinking hydro forced air since the additional cost is minimal as I'll already be installing the central AC. I know a lot of people prefer radiant heat (preferably under floor), but the cost differential is very large and I don't really understand the benefit. I know forced air can create more dryness, but won't a dehumidifier take care of that? Also I know forced air causes allergens/dust to move around the room, but doesn't that happen anyway during the summer when we're using central AC? The radiators are rather unsightly and take up space, so we'd rather get rid of them (unless it's possible to 'cheaply' replace the ugly large radiators with something more minimal).
Also, if I go with hydro forced air, is it really necessary to install vents at the top (for AC) and bottom (for heat) or can we get away with one vent?
Thanks for any advice!
Hard to beat the heat of cast iron radiators! Could be replaced with high tech looking panels like they use in Europe.
The type of heating system doesn't affect humidity level for the most part. That is a function of infiltration. Tight home, no dryness. Only way forced air can hurt is a leaky duct system that adds to the infiltration.
Location of vents is a compromise. Cooling best from above, heating from below. You likely can cool the place with registers in the 2nd floor ceiling and maybe a few down through closets to the first floor since cool air falls. That way you can avoid the cost of a 2nd system in the basement. That's if you keep the hot water system for heat.