Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 14 to 22 of 22
  1. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    4
    Thanks again for all the responses!

    The hydronic network website is wonderful; I've bookmarked it, and will use it as a starting point for my research. I like the idea of using the boiler to supply our hot water. We don't place huge demands on our hot water supply, and had been thinking of going with a tankless hot water heater next.

    Yes, I imagine that hot air can be quite comfortable if competently installed. My biggest concern is whether it can work effectively in our old, uninsulated-wall house (and yes, I agree with the suggestion that adding more insulation would be money well spent; however, we are not willing to tear up the plaster walls, and I'm a little concerned with the dust factor of blown-in insulation). Anyway, the pro-hot air people I've spoken with typically have newer houses. The people I know with old houses, and our European friends, think we'd be crazy to give up the hot water heat.

    Since a new boiler + separate C/A (ducts can go in attic) will probably equal the cost of forced air + C/A, we are seriously considering this option. Yes, we made the living/dining/kitchen area into one large open space, so I will look into the minisplit system. I am not familiar at all with this; but I am wondering if it would be similar to (though possibly more effective) than our current (through-the-wall) AC unit. (?)

    Although I like the idea of both the baseboards and radiant panels, I think it's unlikely we will see a return on that investment; so the dollars are more likely to go to CA instead.

    ps, I don't know our cost per therm offhand of electricity and gas. Our highest monthly gas bill this winter was about $175; our electricity is typically minimal, around $25-$30. Would we expect to see much higher electric bills with a forced air furnace? (In general; I know this depends on our cost of electricity).

    I really appreciate all of your input; it gives us a lot to consider!

  2. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    483
    The motor used for the blower on forced hot air uses more electricity to run than a small circulator pump. The amount isn't large though, our winter time bills increased about $20 per month with the forced hot air, and that includes the burner motor as well. Again the actual cost will vary depending on your local utility rate. The minisplits are similar to a thru the wall unit except the condensing unit ie compressor and condenser are located outdoors, they are much quiter than window or wall shakers. The downside to a minispit is the cold air comes out in one area, just like the thru the wall units. C/A will provide more comfortable even cooling provided the ductwork is designed properly.

    [Edited by jdenyer on 03-03-2005 at 11:45 AM]

  3. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    150
    lm - I have no personal knowledge of the tankless (instantaneous) water heaters, but much of what I have read notes that these units can be problematic. Not to mention that these units usually require some additional electric work (they use 220V and you may need a service upgrade if you are maxed out). Not to mention that it may be difficult to find an experienced installer in your area.

    Your bills are pretty low (electric & gas). Expect to see your electric costs increase substantially (relative to what you pay now)if you go with any air system (furnace and/or C/A), gas will decrease some unless you go with gas heat in the furnace (likely).

    Gas bills should decrease with new boiler and tankless or indirect. Electric should remain stable.Be sure to include either option (tankless or indirect) with new boiler. It is probably be more cost effective to scrap the existing water heater when you go with the new boiler, unless it is < 5 years old.

    As someone stated here - you will never see as good a payback in terms of comfort and costs as you will with upgrading your insulation. I would have a good blown in company (or 2) do an evalution and provide a quote. This will be even more advantageous if you decide to go with any air system (heating or cooling). Keep your radiators and spend the money on the insulation. You may find that your old wall-banger can handle the house after a good insulation retrofit.

  4. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    654
    Originally posted by lm20032
    Thanks again for all the responses!

    ....Since a new boiler + separate C/A (ducts can go in attic) will probably equal the cost of forced air + C/A, we are seriously considering this option.
    Whoa...a hot water system with a quality cast iron boiler for heat and a separate C/A system will cost substantially more than a single warm air system with C/A. Probably 75% more actually. Stand alone C/A systems for the size and quality of house you described could exceed $10K. A warm air system including C/A would probably be the same, but it includes heat.


  5. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    150
    Depending on the area, replacing the boiler and water heater should be about 50% more (with additional C/A) than the furnace & C/A option. If you need substantial plumbing work and new emitters, also - the cost can easily reach 75% more.

    I don't know the expected lifespan of the furnaces, but a good boiler can easily last 20+ years. This factor is especially important if you are looking to sell in the near (< 5-10 yrs) future. I wouldn't think twice about a quality boiler job that is 10 yrs old - not sure if it was a furnace. No question that if C/A is required and heat to be upgraded, air furnace w/ ac is most inexpensive initial cost.

    [Edited by ps on 03-03-2005 at 12:28 PM]

  6. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    483
    Originally posted by ps
    lm - I have no personal knowledge of the tankless (instantaneous) water heaters, but much of what I have read notes that these units can be problematic. Not to mention that these units usually require some additional electric work (they use 220V and you may need a service upgrade if you are maxed out). Not to mention that it may be difficult to find an experienced installer in your area.

    PS, What I meant by tankless was the tankless coil built into the boiler, and not one of the stand alone units. I personally am not too wild about the instantaneous heaters either. Parts can be hard to get after 5-10 years.

  7. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    4
    Perhaps I am off-base in assuming I can get a new boiler + separate C/A at similar cost as hot air + C/A. I know we can't post exact prices in this forum, so let's just say that my estimate for hot air + C/A came in just under $10K, versus a new boiler costing about 1/3 that. And this is for the high efficiency equipment; the "economy" equipment came in somewhat lower. Furthermore, my plumber indicated that he could install separate C/A in my attic (my house is only one-story) with ceiling vents, which would be less expensive than putting in the basement ductwork for hot air + C/A.

    So...I figured I could take my original estimate, subtract out the furnace, the cost of removal and disposal of the old cast iron pipes and radiators, and the difference in the ductwork costs. I don't know that subtracting out these costs would equal a new boiler, but I thought it might come close.

  8. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    150
    jd - I know you were referring to the integrated coil. The original OP had (I believe) referred to the instantaneous heaters in her last post. With the low DHW demand lm has, I believe a boiler with a tankless DHW coil would be the way to go. I would stay away from the instantaneous heaters.

  9. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    483
    PS, No problem, I wasn't sure if we were on the same page, but I see we are, posts get a little hard to follow at times when they start getting long Im, why is your plumber doing your C/A? Is he qualified to install C/A? I know in some areas plumbing companies do heating and cooling as well, just make sure that whoever you choose to do your install is qualified. Check with neighbors and friends to see who they recommend. Ask potential installers if they have taken any continuing education (CE) courses within the last year. CE courses are an excellent way for people in this trade to keep up with the latest in technology and modern knowledge of HVAC systems. Finally go to the wall of pride section and check out what a good install looks like. The guys on this site are top notch as far as I'm concerned, and the pictures of their work shows their true proffesionalism, you should expect and receive nothing less from your own installer.

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Comfortech Show Promo Image

Related Forums

Plumbing Talks | Contractor Magazine
Forums | Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M) Magazine
Comfortech365 Virtual Event