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Old 06-09-2008, 12:38 PM   #1
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go from hot water heating to forced air


My house has hot water heating with in-wall cast iron radiators. The boiler is probably 50 years old although expansion tank and some other parts have been replaced some time ago. I am planning to install central air with duct work. Does it make sense to install hot air system along with ac and get rid of hot water heating? How much extra would I pay to install hot air along with ac? Also, comfort wise and monthly bills, does it make since to get rid of hot water system?

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Old 06-09-2008, 12:48 PM   #2
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go from hot water heating to forced air


I am not a huge fan of forced hot air. It will come down to a lot of things, personal preference. Duct location, etc. Forced air tends to be very dry but you could get a humidifier. Also if your cold air vents are going to be on the ceiling, this works wonderfully for A/C since the cold air sinks, but not that well for hot air which rises. We also have in wall cast iron radiators, but they are steam. The previous owner took out the boiler but we would like to get them going again eventually.

If you get rid of the heat, are you going to rip out all of the radiators. How much work is that going to be compared to keeping the old boiler, vs getting a new boiler.

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Old 06-09-2008, 01:41 PM   #3
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go from hot water heating to forced air


I would not recommend replacing FHW heat with FHA. It's not as consistent or as comfortable in my experience. Also it's loud.
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Old 06-14-2008, 07:13 PM   #4
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go from hot water heating to forced air


hot water is quite and comfortable the real benifit to forced hot air is you can condition it with filters humidifiers and rgf's which if done will make it more comfortable energy costs will go up inless you install a dual feul heat pump-condensing gas or the mack daddy geo thermal heat pump
a good compermise is to run 2 1"pipes from the boiler location to the air handler this will alow you to easily install a radiator in the ductwork called a hydro coil in the future or install a heat pump and have your boiler as second stage back up 50 years is time to start making plans and remember there will be asbestos insulation in that boiler so when its disturbed have your children out
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:37 AM   #5
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go from hot water heating to forced air


I have forced hot air and would love to go to a hot water system, but the investment is just too great right now.

How water is so much more comfortable and quiet, compared to the hot air. I am assuming that you are doing this so you can have AC.

We just use ceiling fans and one small window A/C unit and that works ok.
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:45 AM   #6
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go from hot water heating to forced air


I also don't like forced air. I haven't met anyone who liked them over a forced water system. With water systems the fluid takes time to heat/cool giving a more consistent heating, doesn't just turn on/off instantly like forced air. I find with forced air you're either too hot or too cold depending when the blowers turn on/off and their start-up can be noisy. They also can lose a lot of energy through ducts, it's not easy to locate duct leaks like it is for a water system (a water system it's very easy). I also prefer window ac units to central air conditioning. Although a central air unit more efficient when you consider duct loss I think them less efficient in the end. Window ac units have no ducts you get 100% of their cooling (I think them more efficient in the end) and can easily control the temps of the room. But, although I prefer window AC units they're not for everyone (lugging them around, and they're noisier). Our house just takes a single window unit to keep our house cool, and having it cool our house it runs constantly so it also keeps our humidity down. So, I'd stick with the water heating and add window ac units if you can. Doesn't sound like your house is very new the way you're talking, may need several window units and if your house is very old its electricals may not handle them.

Last edited by Piedmont; 06-16-2008 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:16 PM   #7
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go from hot water heating to forced air


I wouldn't want the forced hot air either, spend time in three houses that have it, seems you get it all at one time. I have hot water radiator heat, use a couple room air conditioners. My sister just added central air to their house, they have oil fired hot water for heat, only thing I can say about that is I'm glad I don't have to lug that heavy air conditioner no more. Might be off here but if I was looking to replace my furnace, I'd look into those geo thermal units you hear about. just my two cents
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:33 PM   #8
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go from hot water heating to forced air


one thing someone mentioned which i agree with which is nice is having the air filter on the blower. we catch all kinds of junk in there. i love our central A/C but would like to get rid of the heating aspect of it for radiators.

i also really like the direct vented room furnaces. these things are like 14 stage so the blower goes quiet frequently giving off less heat to maintain a consistent temperature. and also have a humidifier and filter built in.
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Old 08-02-2008, 06:18 PM   #9
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go from hot water heating to forced air


Is it possible to have CAC and radiator heating? Excuse me if my question doesnt make sense. I am house shopping and found a house that I am interested in, but it has radiator heating. I read in other sites that the radiator heating is more comfortable then forced air, but we would like to get central air. Depending on the responses will probably help me make a decision on this house. I appreciate any help. Thank you.
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Old 08-03-2008, 04:29 AM   #10
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go from hot water heating to forced air


yes they would just be 2 completely separate systems.
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Old 08-03-2008, 07:33 AM   #11
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go from hot water heating to forced air


Keep the radiators but defiantly change out that old boiler.
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:02 AM   #12
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go from hot water heating to forced air


my sister's cape has hot water radiator heat, they added central air, she did "lose" a first floor closet to get the duct work up to the second floor. I guess you would need to consider space requirements for ductwork.
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:07 PM   #13
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go from hot water heating to forced air


Someone mentioned that high registers for a/c are no good for heating. My home, built without a basement, has the duct work in the attic, connected to registers in the ceiling.
I have found that this is superior to floor registers.
Floor registers blow the heat to the ceiling, whereas the ceiling registers blow the heat down, where its needed.
Its my opinion that floor registers are a throw-back to the old gravity furnace concept, and this concept should be revisited.
A common complaint of forced air heating was that you got a blast of cold air before the heat came out.
This doesn't happen on my H/E furnace. I believe its because the blower comes on in stages.
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:19 AM   #14
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go from hot water heating to forced air


I'm going the opposite way, from 45 year old forced air to hot water heat. I'm running copper fin-tubed baseboards baseboards, connecting them with Pex tubing to a manifold. I've got a 93% efficient wall-hung modulating/condensing boiler that will also heat my indirect fired hot water heater. I'll get rid of the conventional old (15 year) hot water heater and my 40% efficient forced air furnace. This is all DIY. I've been designing this since February 2007. I used the free "The Radiant Advantage" from Embassy systems for heat load calculations for starters. You then have to figure out head loss calculations and balance your zones. Its pretty involved for a do-it-yourselfer, so you need at least a year figuring things out. It is a steep learning curve.

A high efficiency forced air furnace would have been much cheaper (maybe $2000 compared to $9000), but read the other posts and you'll see that hot water heat is preferred. I'm just a baker, and I needed to take out three loans for this. I had all the ductwork for forced air. You have all the radiators for hot water, plus they are all piped. That will save you at least $2000. It might be worth paying a professional two or three hundred bucks to consult on replacing your boiler with a newer one.

Good luck whatever you decide.
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Old 08-05-2008, 04:36 PM   #15
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go from hot water heating to forced air


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Warner View Post
I'm going the opposite way, from 45 year old forced air to hot water heat. I'm running copper fin-tubed baseboards baseboards, connecting them with Pex tubing to a manifold. I've got a 93% efficient wall-hung modulating/condensing boiler that will also heat my indirect fired hot water heater. I'll get rid of the conventional old (15 year) hot water heater and my 40% efficient forced air furnace. This is all DIY. I've been designing this since February 2007. I used the free "The Radiant Advantage" from Embassy systems for heat load calculations for starters. You then have to figure out head loss calculations and balance your zones. Its pretty involved for a do-it-yourselfer, so you need at least a year figuring things out. It is a steep learning curve.

A high efficiency forced air furnace would have been much cheaper (maybe $2000 compared to $9000), but read the other posts and you'll see that hot water heat is preferred. I'm just a baker, and I needed to take out three loans for this. I had all the ductwork for forced air. You have all the radiators for hot water, plus they are all piped. That will save you at least $2000. It might be worth paying a professional two or three hundred bucks to consult on replacing your boiler with a newer one.

Good luck whatever you decide.
Its said that h/w heat is more even. The problem is ducting for a/c.
There's no reason that that you can't have both.
My brother-in-law had an old h/w system that needed to be replaced, so he opted forced air heating with central a/c.
I use a programable thermostat and have it set drop back a couple of degree's at night.
We like it cooler at night.
Is this an option with h/w heating?

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