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  1. #1

    Old boiler and a badly installed central A/C system

    Ok, here's my situation. I recently purchased a ranch style house built in the late 70's. Everything is in good shape except the hvac. Heat comes from the original boiler, I have no idea what brand it is. The previous owner also "installed" a central A/C system by himself. It's a Goodman unit, installed about 6 years ago. The duct system is one of the worst I have ever seen, with duct tape holding most of it together, and the duct work takes up half the space in the basement. Since the house did not have vents, he installed 4 of them in the floor, one in the kitchen, one in the living room, one in the main bedroom,and one in the hallway between the bathroom and 2nd bedroom. Air only comes out of 2 of them, and then it's barely enough to be felt in the kitchen and hallway. I had 2 contractors come and look at it, the first one suggested I replace the boiler with an Olsen Quantum 90 boiler, and go with a split wall A/C system, which i'm not to familiar with. The second contractor said I should replace the boiler with a forced air furnace, since the vents were in place. That's the way I would like to go, however the quote he gave me to install is high, since the ductwork all needs to be replaced.The system he wants to install is a Luxaire Acclimate 9.v furnace, with a Acclimate 5t series heat pump, which is rated at 15 seer. My question is, would the high cost of going with the forced air furnace/heat pump be worth it in the long run? Any help would be highly appreciated.

  2. #2
    If it is of any help, I have Natural Gas for fuel, and live in norhteast Iowa.

  3. #3
    I have some pictures of the current setup, how do I post them on here?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    If the ductwork is a lost cause

    might be easier to just put AC in the attic.
    Boiler is for baseboard heat. Better then hot air IMO.

  5. #5
    Unfortunately I don't have an attic. And are the 95% effecient furnaces really worth the extra cost over, say, a 90% efficient unit?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by chevyvan0 View Post
    Unfortunately I don't have an attic. And are the 95% effecient furnaces really worth the extra cost over, say, a 90% efficient unit?
    shouldn't be much of a cost difference, most manufacturers are 95% and above now. If you are going to put in a furnace that is not a way to cut cost.
    It's hard to say without seeing where the previous HO positioned the vents, and how important comfort is. As stated before a boiler is going to give you more comfort.

    Pix would help
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes...that way you are a mile from them and have their shoes

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    I would stick with the boiler. If the vents are in the right place, you could have a new central A/C system installed. And Olsen makes a good boiler, and they're affordable, so it probably wouldn't make sense to pay the extra money to have a high eff furnace and heat pump installed.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Chicago, IL
    keep the hot water heat, replace the boiler if you want.

    If the goodman A/C system is the right size, keep that too and have a new ductwork system installed

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Before deciding on a solution, please do yourself a favor and decide specifically what TYPE of heat you really want. Just because you have a boiler doesn't mean you need to stick with that. Or maybe because you have a boiler you'd like to keep it. Make up your mind to that and you'll have an easier time shopping. I can give you some food for thought if you like.

    Boiler: The heat cycles are "slower", meaning the distribution system heats up and cools down more slowly than an air system. You can derive domestic hot water from it via an indirect water heater. You can do radiant floor heating if you desire warm tootsies in the morning. A good, high efficiency mod/con boiler will set you back many thousands of dollars if it's properly installed by a company that has the know-how to come back and service it should it need work.

    Gas Furnace: A high quality, high efficiency, 2-stage furnace with variable speed blower is closer to radiant heat than even the boiler, IMO. It has faster recovery from a nighttime setback. It can be equipped with indoor air quality improving items, like electronic air cleaners, ultraviolet lights and humidifiers (you can also get independent humidifiers to go with a boiler) and you can add cooling to make the duct system a 12-month investment and you can make it a dual fuel system to help control you greenhouse gas emissions as well as cutting your gas bill.

    It sounds like your duct system is junk. That being the case, you'd want to replace that no matter what, right? So the first thing I'd do is get someone to do a Manual "J" load calc, Manual 'D' duct design and get a price on a proper duct system, sealed and insulated. This will likely end up needing more floor supplies and returns and yes, it's going to be several thousand dollars just by itself. Once you've done that, you can then decide whether you just want to add AC to it and replace the boiler, install a proper gas furnace w/AC or a gas furnace with dual fuel capability.

    Keep in mind, there's no right or wrong answer to the questions you've posed. You just haven't had enough information to begin to make a decision by yourself. Just be comfortable with the decision you make. That starts right here, getting some ideas. Then selecting the right contractor(s) by asking how they do load calcs. Experience, square footage and by the size of the old unit are not the right answers. By load analysis, engineering analysis, Manual 'J' load calculation or similare answers are the companies to go with.
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

  10. #10
    Thanks everyone. I had another contractor here, and I think I am going to go with him. He did a manual D and a manual j calc, looked at the vents, and quoted me what I feel is a very fair price. The system included in the quote wiould be a Armstrong, with a 93 II ADVANTAGE furnace and a 214 LE heat pump, a/c. Are armstrong systems reliable? and should i get more quotes for the same setup? there's a trane dealer in town, are they any better than armstrong?

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