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Thread: Home Heating

  1. #1

    Home Heating

    We just purchased a older home.(1947) Has a newer furnace in it, about 26yrs. old, forced air. Having some estimates done for a boiler for radiant heat. House is about 1500 sq. ft. I haven't had much time for research, seems like alot of different brands and models. Are there any i should steer away from, or one that works better than avg. ? If I did the math right I think its going to have to be about 75,000 btu minimum. Anyone?

  2. #2
    Why? Forced air furnaces have surpassed hot water in efficiency and cost. If you want to save money, add serious insulation and air infiltration protection and consider a 92% or better replacement forced air furnace. If you don't have natural gas (cheapest fuel per BTU with the exception of coal or wood), a heat pump might even make sense.

  3. #3
    I'd like to do wood, there is a very cool old wood cookstove that was the main heating source but I'm not really capable yet. My wife has bad allergies so we thought a boiler might be the ticket. I tried to explain that they make good filters for forced air, she was not convinced. Wish I had more time for research but we have to move in shortly. Thanks

  4. #4
    I have hot water heat in Mi and would prefer forced air. I have always been concerned about leaving the house for extended periods in winter. I bought a temperature alarm which calls my cell phone for just this reason. I would have a really good duct cleraning done and see if you can retrofit better filter system on your current system. Then, if you ever become a snowbird you can just turn the furnace down low, drain your water lines, shut off water and go South w/o worries.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by lonecoaster View Post
    I'd like to do wood, there is a very cool old wood cookstove that was the main heating source but I'm not really capable yet. My wife has bad allergies so we thought a boiler might be the ticket. I tried to explain that they make good filters for forced air, she was not convinced. Wish I had more time for research but we have to move in shortly. Thanks
    I have asthma myself. If allergies are the concern, your money would be better spent replacing any carpets with hard flooring and drapes with vertical blinds. The whole cleanliness thing with radiant is a bit of a myth. Human bodies generate most dust allergens. There is no question dust will be in your house. Baseboard radiators create convection currents just as much as a well designed FA. In floor radiant might be better but it's a 1947 farmhouse. In-floor is also very expensive. You will have air currents no matter what heating method you choose.

    I've spent considerable time in and out of the construction business over the last 35 years. Generally, hot water heat will cost you about twice as much as forced air. It your current ducts are adequate, a new FA furnace is the cheapest route by far. And if the main ducts are readily accessible, you might even replace them with duct board. It's a charcoal impregnated fiberglass mat covered by foil that prevents mold growth and damps almost all sound. In some ways it's like having your ducts be one continuous filter. When I finally built my own house 10 years ago I went with with all hard floors, FA, heat pump with backup natural gas furnace, and duct board. It's got a variable speed DC motor blower and 90% of the time you cannot hear my furnace run or feel any air currents. I haven't checked in the last few years, but for the first 5 years my total annual heating and cooling was running about $800/yr. That's for 2000 sq. ft. plus full basement located in northern MI.

    Whatever you do, do NOT get a Munchkin boiler. A few years ago my father replaced his 25 year old Slant Fin (installed long before FA became the better choice). The Munchkin has been nothing but problems and expensive repairs. It's a computerized nightmare. Check the web. Sadly, he could have converted to a better FA furnace with all the cost of ductwork for less than it cost him to replace the boiler and maintain that turkey.

  6. #6
    Excellent info. Thanks for your time. Heat pump? Not sure I understand how that works, but will do some looking into that and the duct board. You have helped a ton.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    if you are in cold country heat pump no good in my little opionion

  8. #8
    Senior Member DaleB's Avatar
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    We put in a geothermal system with UV anti-microbial lights and built in humidifier a couple years ago. It has shaved a full 1000kw/h off our monthly electrical draw for heating, during peak months! (It replaced a 15 year old air sourced heat pump). We went from ~2500kw/h peak down to ~1500kw/h at the same temp settings! On top of that, the outside unit is rated for 30+ years and it cools just as well as it heats. Geothermal, ftw!
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  9. #9
    That was kinda the dream we started with, passive block, geothermal, but time and reality have kicked in. Taking MSspouse's advice and going to start removing carpet tonight. Thanks for the input.

  10. #10
    Senior Member TomRL's Avatar
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    We found that a HEPA filter added to our last furnace (12 yrs ago) helped my wife's allergies. Depends on what is causing the allergies, of course.
    Tom

    "Blessed are the pessimists, for they hath made backups." Exasperated 20:12

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