I have two 8 unit buildings in Michigan. They are each heated by a large central boiler circa 1950. None of the units have A/C or individual thermostats. This results in HUGE operational costs and very low occupant satisfaction, as they can't control the temperature at all. The apartments range from 650 sf to 800 sf, and are on crawl spaces with a relatively shallow pitch roof above. The apartments are in the downtown of a fairly affluent area. I need to do something about the heating/cooling situation in order to bring the rents in line with the market.
I've spent a lot of time reading about the pros and cons of different heating systems. I'd like to investigate putting a series of high velocity heat and AC units in the attic space (1 per apartment). I'm considering this because the ductwork for a LV system is not feasible given the structure I'm dealing with (I think). Both buildings are single story, and the gas and electricity are already individually metered and available at each apartment.
Okay, so now you have some background, here are the questions: Are HV systems generally suitable for an attic space for both heating and cooling in my area? All of the houses I've ever owned/seen have the HVAC in the unit or in the basement. Has anyone ever heard of such a retrofit on an apartment building? Are the issues with drainage etc. that I've read about with HV systems avoidable via a knowledgeable installer or am I looking for a problem? What type of venting would be required for such an attic installation (assuming natural gas for heat)?
Thanks for any feedback you can provide.