I have a hot water heating system (with radiators) in my one-story, 1000 sq ft 1920s bungalow. The 20-yr-old Sears boiler that came with the house needs to be replaced. If I convert to forced air heat, with central air, a high efficiency system (with ductwork) will cost about 3x the cost of replacing the boiler.
Here is some more info that may be relevant: my house is old, and certainly NOT air-tight. I have new windows and doors, and insulation in the attic, but there is no insulation in the walls. We keep the thermostat around 60 degrees during the day (while at work) and while sleeping. We turn it up to 64-66 for a few hours in the morning and evening. We are not the type of people who keep the house toasty warm all the time, and prefer to warm it up only when needed (ie when we are there, and awake).
My impression is that the investment in a forced air heat plus C/A would increase the value of the house by about the same amount. Such systems are the standard in my area (South Jersey). However, before spending the money, I want to be sure that forced air heat plus C/A is a superior system to my hot water radiator heating. I would hate to rip out the old system, only to realize later that it was the better one.
I have been trying to research this topic, but am still in the dark as to which system (forced air vs hot water) is the more efficient, cheaper to run, and more comfortable.
If anyone could provide opinions or advice, I would be so grateful. I am a new homeowner, and would like to be able to make an informed decision on this matter. Thanks!