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  1. #1

    HVAC system decisions

    I recently bought a 90 year old 3 flat in Chicago with a full basement and finished attic. I am going to rent the 1st and 2nd floors and duplex and live in the 3rd/attic. Each floor is 800-900 sq ft with 9 1/2' ceilings. The walls are uninsulated. The first floor is heated with radiators. I am going to leave it as is, the boiler has been serviced and is working well. The 2nd and 3rd floors currently have wall units. The attic is unheated. The 2nd floor is going to get central forced air in a fairly straight forward manner. The problems arise in the 3rd floor/attic. I have had several contractors come out and have gotten vastly different opinions for duct layout and what furnace(s) to get. Many of them require a lot of space that I would rather not give up. Here are my questions:

    I like the idea of using baseboard heat but that leaves an AC problem. Are the Hi-V systems worth it? Are mini-splits good for this application? I am only really concerned about noise in the attic TV room.

    For the mini-split scenario I was thinking of using 2 per floor. Basically back to back on the opposite sides of a wall in the middle of each floor. Good idea? How loud are the mini-splits? I understand that they are quieter than window units but do you have to talk louder when they are on?

    The most popular opinion has been to use 2 furnaces (1 for the 3rd and 1 for the attic) hence all the duct problems. Would one furnace work? It would be much simpler.

    Thanks for reading this and thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Round Rock
    Posts
    3,542
    You need to determine how much you plan on spending before you start planning on what to put in. Be realistic about it. Contact 1 or 2 contractors in your area to give you ideas after they look at it and give you options. You can spend a lot of money or less. What is your ROI? It does no good to put in high dollar equipment and you get it repo'd next year because rent won't cover what you spent to buy and fix up. As one of my former bosses told me one time, "This isn't a non-profit organization, we're here to make money."
    I like DIY'ers. They pay better to fix.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    2,677
    Quote Originally Posted by rec head View Post
    I recently bought a 90 year old 3 flat in Chicago with a full basement and finished attic. I am going to rent the 1st and 2nd floors and duplex and live in the 3rd/attic. Each floor is 800-900 sq ft with 9 1/2' ceilings. The walls are uninsulated. The first floor is heated with radiators. I am going to leave it as is, the boiler has been serviced and is working well. The 2nd and 3rd floors currently have wall units. The attic is unheated. The 2nd floor is going to get central forced air in a fairly straight forward manner. The problems arise in the 3rd floor/attic. I have had several contractors come out and have gotten vastly different opinions for duct layout and what furnace(s) to get. Many of them require a lot of space that I would rather not give up. Here are my questions:

    I like the idea of using baseboard heat but that leaves an AC problem. Are the Hi-V systems worth it? Are mini-splits good for this application? I am only really concerned about noise in the attic TV room.

    For the mini-split scenario I was thinking of using 2 per floor. Basically back to back on the opposite sides of a wall in the middle of each floor. Good idea? How loud are the mini-splits? I understand that they are quieter than window units but do you have to talk louder when they are on?

    The most popular opinion has been to use 2 furnaces (1 for the 3rd and 1 for the attic) hence all the duct problems. Would one furnace work? It would be much simpler.

    Thanks for reading this and thanks for any help.
    You will need to have everyone in the room be quiet and turn the TV off to hear the mini splits. They are that quiet. Worst thing is in Chicago, you will most likely need some form of back up heat for extreme cold days. I would consider using electric oil filled baseboards. The splits will heat probably down to 10-15 degrees, I think fujitsu's and mitsubishi's are rated to 0. Whatever brand make sure they are inverter systems.
    You can't fix stupid

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