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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    HVAC Design/Conversion Advice Needed

    Hello - new to board, homeowner loooking for some general advice and direction.

    I know VERY little about heating/cooling but the high prices of Oil and Electricity are pushing me to consider re-engineering my home's heating & cooling. However, I do not know what is practical or advisable and am just beginning my research. A little guidance would be GREATLY appreciated.

    Here is where I stand:

    Home: Split level built in 1961. 3 Bedrooms upstairs, open LR/DR, Kitchen & unheated but well enclosed porch on main floor, 1 BR bath & garage on a lower lever, then the basement (unfinnished & unheated).

    Current Heating System: Oil boiler (about 11 yrs old) cleaned annually, 275 gal oil tank in basement (original but in decent shape), hotwater baseboard heating. Tankless domestic hotwater from the same boiler.

    We currently burn about 1100 - 1200 gal of oil a year, filling the tank about every 5 or 6 weeks during Nov - Mar (depending on temp) and then one other time to carry through the summer & fall. But the oil prices have doubled since last year's lock in and we're looking at $7000 or more for heating this year.

    Current Cooling System: Older (10 yrs) window A/C units in upstairs bedrooms.

    We just added last fall about 13in of blown fiberglass insulation to the attic (only had 4in of fiberglass batting), replaced all the windows with decent Sunrise triple paned argon vinyl replacements, and all exterior doors. Also added an insulated garage door (garage is directly under the front top level BR).

    We did notice a decent drop in our use of oil this last winter, but with the prices continuing to skyrocket I am starting to get concerned about the trend. I'd like to get away from being dependent on oil, but I am not sure economically what makes sense at this point with the various options & need for retrofitting. Geothermal Heatpump sounds interesting to me, but I have no ductwork in place and not sure I have room for ducts (house is 2x4 framing & wallboard). We do not have natural gas lines on our road (we're at the edge of town and the lines stop about 300' down the road). Solar hotwater looks interesting and we have a fair amount of southern exposure on our roof, but being in the mid-Hudson area of NY (Cornwall - near West Point), we'd still need some sort of back up. Woodstove - we don't really have a good location in the house for one.

    So - I am guessing we'll need to replace our heating system soon anyway given the age of the boiler, and I am looking for options to reduce our personal dependence on oil as a heat source that would make economic sense for our future. If we can aid the environment in the process that's a plus. We are in our mid forties and hope to stay here at least another 15 yrs. I will likely need to take an additional home improvement loan to do this work.

    I realize this is a very broad question, but if you have any thoughts on what CAN or CANNOT be considered given this information, I'd appreciate your thoughts so I can focus my research on options that would actually make sense.

    Thanks for any advice anyone can offer.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    11 year old boiler isn't that old.
    I'd have an electric water heater installed. Instead of using that tankless. And depending on model of boiler, convert it to a cold start boiler.
    That could drop 250 or more gallons a year from your bill.
    Plus install a outdoor reset control so teh boiler only heats the water to a temp hot enough to heat the house for the outside conditions at that time. Instead of heating the water to 180 every time, when 150 is hot enough.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    You are in the same position as many other people.

    I would not dismiss wood, pellets, corn, coal, etc. so quickly. There are boilers for those types of fuel. Perhaps more than one freestanding stove to augment the oil.

    (Posting of links to other forums is against this sites rules.)
    Last edited by ARPA; 07-02-2008 at 04:25 PM.

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