I just purchased a second home in the western Maine mountains, the house is curently heated with oil but has propane for cooking and the dryer. The house has 1,800 sq. ft. above grade and about a 1,000 sq. ft. basement that we will probably finish.
Right now the house has a poorly designed baseboard system; the radiator placement is terrible. I'd like to switch to forced air and ductwork so I can have central AC (it gets hotter up there than people think) and get humdification and air cleaning in. The hot water does come off the boiler, if I go to a furnace I guess I'd need a different method for heating the water.
My house in NY is much bigger, 4,400 sq. ft. above grade with 1,000 sq. ft. finished basement. I have 5 Rheem units for five zones, four of which are the super efficient modulating models and one regular 90 for the basement. Other than the fact that I can't use computer controllable thermostats (although we came up with a solution for that with relays, but that's a whole different subject), I like the comfort that we get (constant temperature, very quiet, etc.)
I have no experience with oil and am trying to figure out the best way to heat/air condition this house with three zones, one per floor.
Would one use three small oil furnaces (one for each floor)? I see that Trane and Thermo Pride have variable speed fans which should get me close to the temperature control of the Rheem modulating units. The zones would be about 1,000 sq. ft. for the first floor and basement (which is a walk-out) and about 800 sq. ft. for the second floor. 20% of the first floor has a vaulted ceiling the rest is 8 foot. The second floor is a small 800 sq. ft. as some of the rooms have sloped ceilings (cape style construction).
Would it make sense to get a super efficient modulating boiler and then some sort of air-handlers to push the air? Can you regulate the air speed in that situation so they are quiet and you can run the fan at a lower speed to get constant air flow? Is that idea a kludge or is it reguarly done? I want to be able to use either the HAI or Aprilaire controllable stats so I can handle the temperatures remotely (right now I'm using a FreezeAlarm, but that's not the best system).
I want to do this right but don't want to do something so complex that I run into problems and/or its difficult to maintain.
What are some of the good brands for oil equipment. Although we won't be there full time, we are going to keep it heated at around 50 all winter (and it gets real cold up there), so efficiency is pretty important.