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Old 10-19-2008, 08:18 AM   #1
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What should I do? Replacing heating system


Little about myself and situation. I'm 28 and live in north NJ. I'm an ironworker, I've worked for and done carpentry, electrical, roofing in the past and pretty handy when it comes to DIY stuff around the house and my favorite color is blue. I've been saving $$ for a long time now and just bought a 2 family house (upstairs downstairs), 2 bdrm + attic on 2nd floor and 2 bdrm on first. It has a gas/steam furnace in the basement 20+ years old, radiators through out the house and one thermostat on the first floor (I had the thing blasting and it works yet there are leaks and alot of knocking). I want to move in tenants upstairs asap but I have to separate the heating from first to second floor and have two meters.
When I looked into new heating systems I was overwhelmed by how much there is out there. I have had a few estimates and they all range from 10-15K. I have been told to keep the steam radiators and also have been told to switch to baseboard. I can thread pipes, solder, whatever. Yet I have never messed around with any type of heating system and don't even know where to start. I will be living on the first floor so I don't care if I freeze this winter. I just want to get the upstairs independent and on a reliable system and then I can do the downstairs later.
Don't know what kind of furnace or furnaces to get... baseboard, radiators, or whatever else there is to pick from. I want to get a new furnace for the upstairs and then determine whether to keep the existing one or replace it. I assume it is not efficient and since I will be living on the first floor I am going to opt for the lowest gas bill I can get. I close on tuesday and then its off to the races. I want to save money by doing it myself and also I'm sure it will be a good learning experience.

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Old 10-19-2008, 10:58 AM   #2
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What should I do? Replacing heating system


You have my respect, son. You sound like a worthy citizen. Can i fix you up with my daughter?

Justkidding

Hydroponic systems are something very complicated and needs a high level
of plumbing water flow and control knowledge.

Boilers are very expensive to repair and replace. For 10 to 15k you can run a a warm air ducted system with a/c.

if you want to stick with something you already have, than just wait on site here for a little while. We got specialists in your steam systems who can help.

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Old 10-19-2008, 11:37 AM   #3
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What should I do? Replacing heating system


You have a big job ahead of you.

I need to clarify a few things here.

You say that you want to move tenants upstairs. Does this mean they have a kitchen, separate entrance, bathroom i.e. complete living quarters?

Your goal is to have a rental upstairs.
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:54 AM   #4
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What should I do? Replacing heating system


mynd66, I lived in an apt. house for bout 30 years it had steam meat and I had the thermostat. every fall the people upstairs would cry like little babies! Its to cold I said just wait, and before long that ol steam boiler would finely come up to a head and the whole house would be toasty. The moral just because its old don't make it broke. That boiler could outlast you just get new air bleeders and then when you come home this winter and see the upstairs windows open scream at the people upstairs. (just add half the heating bill in the rent)
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Old 10-19-2008, 12:02 PM   #5
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What should I do? Replacing heating system


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mynd66, I lived in an apt. house for bout 30 years it had steam meat and I had the thermostat. every fall the people upstairs would cry like little babies! Its to cold I said just wait, and before long that ol steam boiler would finely come up to a head and the whole house would be toasty. The moral just because its old don't make it broke. That boiler could outlast you just get new air bleeders and then when you come home this winter and see the upstairs windows open scream at the people upstairs. (just add half the heating bill in the rent)

Were you selling meats from home sorry could'nt resist.
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Old 10-19-2008, 12:22 PM   #6
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What should I do? Replacing heating system


I would see about a forced air furnace,a/c in the attic feeding 2nd floor and do the same for the basement first floor. (2 zones ).

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Old 10-19-2008, 12:45 PM   #7
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What should I do? Replacing heating system


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I would see about a forced air furnace,a/c in the attic feeding 2nd floor and do the same for the basement first floor. (2 zones ) my co. is from the morris county area if you need a proposed price.My co. is small so I can price things out cheaper then your larger co.what is the sq. ft and what fuel do you have?
North East climates do not lend themselves well to ceiling supply air delivery systems.

The room would be cold from waist level down. Were this a Southern or SouthWest home I would agree with your assessment.

Being the top floor the wind effect and infiltration on colder days would be a real problem to keep the conditioned space comfortable.
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Old 10-19-2008, 12:58 PM   #8
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What should I do? Replacing heating system


Quote:
Hydroponic systems are something very complicated and needs a high level
of plumbing water flow and control knowledge.

Boilers are very expensive to repair and replace. For 10 to 15k you can run a a warm air ducted system with a/c.
I figured it would be complicated, yet I was hoping there was alot I can do. I am open to keeping what I have or switching to warm air duct... or anything just need to figure out what is the most practical/cost-effective.

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mynd66, I lived in an apt. house for bout 30 years it had steam meat and I had the thermostat. every fall the people upstairs would cry like little babies! Its to cold I said just wait, and before long that ol steam boiler would finely come up to a head and the whole house would be toasty. The moral just because its old don't make it broke. That boiler could outlast you just get new air bleeders and then when you come home this winter and see the upstairs windows open scream at the people upstairs. (just add half the heating bill in the rent)
Well there were two reasons I was leaning towards throwing the upstairs on a new system: one, I have never been a landlord and don't want to deal with tenants when the ancient boiler dies in the middle of the winter. And two, As you pointed out its probably pretty expensive to heat the house now and then I have to consider the case of tenants leaving windows open and wasting heat. Kind of stuff I got yelled at by my old man when I was a kid.

Quote:
I would see about a forced air furnace,a/c in the attic feeding 2nd floor and do the same for the basement first floor. (2 zones ) my co. is from the morris county area if you need a proposed price.My co. is small so I can price things out cheaper then your larger co.what is the sq. ft and what fuel do you have?
I would like to look into that. Does it matter that the attic is finished and may be occupied? I will go there today and figure out the square footage.


Thanks everyone for the input.
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Old 10-19-2008, 01:00 PM   #9
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What should I do? Replacing heating system


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... my co. is from the morris county area if you need a proposed price.My co. is small so I can price things out cheaper then your larger co...
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Old 10-19-2008, 05:55 PM   #10
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What should I do? Replacing heating system


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Were you selling meats from home sorry could'nt resist.
Same reason you're talking about hydroponic systems instead of hydronic.
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Old 10-21-2008, 03:45 PM   #11
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What should I do? Replacing heating system


Just wanted to update. The consenus has been so far by two plumbers that I should eliminate the gas/steam, rip out the radiators and put in two new furnaces with baseboard heating. It is a little over 1000 sq ft for the second floor if you count the finished attic which is about 200 sq ft. The first floor is under 1000 sq ft. Is there anything new and efficient (and cheap) out there that I might consider? Looks like I'm $12K in the hole with this. The best advice I got so far was to hire a pro to do it and work overtime in my line of work to offset the cost of this project.
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Old 10-21-2008, 04:39 PM   #12
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What should I do? Replacing heating system


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Same reason you're talking about hydroponic systems instead of hydronic.
My spell check is hvac terminology challenged
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Old 10-21-2008, 04:57 PM   #13
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What should I do? Replacing heating system


This is a little bit "out there" and I think it depends a lot what the layout of your house is like but I would look into direct vented wall units. They are not that pretty but the renters won't care. Very efficient (mine is 84% and vents right out the wall in a 3" pipe), not that expensive (roughly 800-1300 - up to 37,000 BTU) and very easy to install, zero maintenance. Again, depends all on the layout of your house. It may not work but its very likely that it could. You'd probably need 1-2 per unit. Only consider the Rinnai heating units... however there may be combination heat/Air units but I can't vouch for them. You could install these yourself very easily.

I am also 28 in NNJ - Midland Park here. Just bought our first house 1 year ago.

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Old 10-21-2008, 06:10 PM   #14
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What should I do? Replacing heating system


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This is a little bit "out there" and I think it depends a lot what the layout of your house is like but I would look into direct vented wall units. They are not that pretty but the renters won't care. Very efficient (mine is 84% and vents right out the wall in a 3" pipe), not that expensive (roughly 800-1300 - up to 37,000 BTU) and very easy to install, zero maintenance. Again, depends all on the layout of your house. It may not work but its very likely that it could. You'd probably need 1-2 per unit. Only consider the Rinnai heating units... however there may be combination heat/Air units but I can't vouch for them. You could install these yourself very easily.

I am also 28 in NNJ - Midland Park here. Just bought our first house 1 year ago.
hey thanks for the insight. How many square ft do you heat with those? Do you save alot on the gas bill? I know people spend up to $600-700 a month to heat a home. I just got an estimate, actually getting the price tommorrow, but the guy was talking about getting two new furnaces and keeping the radiators. I looked at the Rinnai site and they have those hot water heaters that only heat water when you use it. Pretty interesting I'm gonna look into it. Thanks again.
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:14 PM   #15
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What should I do? Replacing heating system


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Just wanted to update. The consenus has been so far by two plumbers that I should eliminate the gas/steam, rip out the radiators and put in two new furnaces with baseboard heating. It is a little over 1000 sq ft for the second floor if you count the finished attic which is about 200 sq ft. The first floor is under 1000 sq ft. Is there anything new and efficient (and cheap) out there that I might consider? Looks like I'm $12K in the hole with this. The best advice I got so far was to hire a pro to do it and work overtime in my line of work to offset the cost of this project.
Working the overtime is probably good advice.

I can get a feeling right away but the questions asked if the person is out of their league and this might be the case here. Doing HVAC to the extent you are asking is a major undertaking and not for those that haven't done some of this work before.

Before you proceed ask around about tax credits and rebates so you can get the best deal. Some of the tax credits are pretty good right now.

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