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  1. #1

    Question

    I live in central New Jersey and have a 1935 center hall Dutch Colonial that my wife and I have spent the last six years restoring ourselves. We have steam radiators and a 40+ year old furnace that is on its last legs. It seems like now is the time to consider investing in not only a new furnace, but AC as well. A Unico system seems like the way to go for the AC (since I am NOT redoing the walls again!), but will it work well for the heat too? I really like the steam radiators. What pitfalls should I be aware of, or questions I should be sure to ask my contractor?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    1,936
    keep the existing heating sytem, replace boiler is this gas or oil the unico is a good choice just make sure contractor you chose is good and get at least 3 bids and dont necessarily go for the cheapest

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,125
    Keep the rads, or you'll regret it.

    HV system is a good choice, just make sure the contractor has experience with them.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,635

    beenthere

    If we only have experienced Unico installers install Unicos, then how did the currently experienced Unico installers ever get experience? Do you install them? If so, did your first few Unico customers get royally screwed because you were getting experience on their dime? Or was it that you're a smart enough contractor to figure out new things and an ethical enough contractor to back your work even if it makes a job unprofitable?

    That's all rhetorical of course. Everything I've read of yours thus far indicates an above average contractor. But if I ever get an opportunity to install an Unico then I'll guaran-damn-tee you that my very first install will be worthy of the wall of pride. I'd do anything and everything necessary to make sure that was the case.

    Having said all that, you might want someone with Unico experience handyman. LOL! And you might want to have a fat wad of cash ready. Those things aren't cheap.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,125

    Re: beenthere

    Originally posted by Irascible
    If we only have experienced Unico installers install Unicos, then how did the currently experienced Unico installers ever get experience? Do you install them? If so, did your first few Unico customers get royally screwed because you were getting experience on their dime?

    LOL...

    Actually, I was a helper when I first heard of Unico, or Space pak. And I did all the grunt work. So by the time I did my first solo HV install, I was experienced.

    But, your right, I should have said, if this will be your hvac contractors first HV install, ask them if they atleast went to a seminar on them.


    Personally, I prefer Space pak.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,635
    You were once a helper??? I know it has to be true but I just can't imagine it. It's like that grandfather who was a grizzled old coot when you were a kid and still remains a grizzled old coot. You just know he had to be young at one point in history. But you just can't imagine it.

    (This is usually where BigB chimes in with a joke about being old but still being able to... ahem.)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    68,125
    He will after the 4th .

    Oh, and when I was a kid, I had to walk to school 10 miles in 6' of snow up hill in both directions. LOL...
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  8. #8
    Thanks to everyone for the input.

    Two of you say keep the rads and put in a new gas bioler for the heat. I like the look of the old radiators and have always heard that the steam heat is best, but that seems like personal preference. Why would you as professionals recommend I keep them? My brother-in-law's brother (true story) is an HVAC contractor in Virginia. He said he would never again replace an old steam boiler due to the number of leaks in the system that developed throughout the system afterwards. Is this a reasonable fear?

    Been There, why do you prefer Space Pak over Unico?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    68,125
    Space pak is phsyically smaller, so it fits into places easier.

    When replacing an old steam boiler, you do have to examine the old pipes.
    You can run into trouble, but if your careful, and not just looking for a quick sale/install, little to no trouble with the change out.
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