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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 30 year old 2500 sqft colonial in Southeastern CT. The house is currently heated with a combination of electric baseboard (expensive!) and a wood stove, and is cooled with window units.

It is likely we will be in this house long-term, and so I have spent the past year trying to figure out what the best way would be to upgrade our heating and cooling. I posted a thread on this about a year ago (https://www.diychatroom.com/f17/attic-hvac-build-mechanical-room-649319/), and got quite a bit of help from you guys.

Long story short, I think I am narrowing in on what I'd like to do, and I'd like to hear from you guys as to pros and cons of this approach.

I recently found out about "hydro air". This is a new concept for me, and I really like it. The primary reason I like it is that it seems like it allows for zoning to be done very well. I have decided that I would really prefer a 2 zone system, but most of what I read about 2 zone furnaces is negative. So here is what I am thinking:

1. Ducted hydro air system for first floor, boiler in the basement.
2. Hydronic baseboard heat on the second floor. If I understand how a hydro system works, there will simply be a loop that runs from the boiler up to the second floor. It would run in the flooring around the perimeter of the 2nd floor, connecting all of the baseboard units.
3. We will wait a few years on AC, but eventually we'd add 2 condensers, one that would tie in to the first floor system, and then I'd run ducts myself on the second floor (within the heated envelope!!!) for the second system. I have an extra upstairs closet that I could put the blower in.

Here are my questions:

Is my understanding of how hydro works correct? Basically a fluid is heated up with a boiler, and then you can either blow air over the fluid to transfer the heat to a ducted system, or run the fluid through pipes as a radiant system? Or a combination of both?

If my understanding of how hydro works is correct, how hard is it to run the pipes for the second floor radiant system? Our second floor is carpeted, so I am assuming I can simply pull off the baseboards, pull up the edge of the carpet, drill holes in the floor joists along the walls which are perpendicular to the joists, and then connect everything up? I'm sure it's way more complicated than that, but I figured I'd lay out how I see it going and you guys can set me straight.

Thank you!
 

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Hmm... I'm starting to think my understanding is incorrect. Hydro air is new to me, and I think I misunderstood how it works. Is it incorrect that I could use a hydro air boiler for a forced hot water system on my second floor?
 
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