Upgrading Heating and Cooling System
I’m moving into a 1920s house in Zone 5 with baseboard radiators and a single wall-mounted A/C unit. It has a rather old, low-efficiency natural gas boiler that probably doesn’t have much life left in it. I’ve found a reputable energy auditor who I plan to hire before I do anything else, and am leaning towards investing in some air sealing and insulation prior to getting serious about heating and cooling upgrades.
I’m also considering installing radiant flooring (and maybe ceilings), at least in some areas: in the case of my finished attic it would be to introduce heating, and in the case of other living spaces it would be to replace baseboard radiators. While I think I want to do basement waterproofing and air sealing/insulation first, I haven’t quite figured out the sequencing of my HVAC and other house upgrades yet. My priorities, in order, are interior air quality, comfort, mother nature, and cost efficiency (with maybe 5 to 10 years in this house with which to get an ROI prior to selling).
Some basic questions, to help inform my research and discussions with local pros:
-Is there a significant difference in load requirement for radiant floor heating vs baseboard radiators?
-Can anyone speak from experience about Ecowarm (it seems like a cheaper alternative to WarmBoard, which I’ve found discussions about on this site)?
-(If there is something approaching a generic answer for this): is it typical/wise to account for heating contributions from heat pumps when sizing boiler equipment? Or do lower operating costs/complexity/disaster preparedness mean I should plan on heating with natural gas alone?
-I’m hoping to repurpose the brick chimney my boiler is currently using as a chase when I get a high-efficiency boiler (which I will vent out a basement window). Is it practical to run PEX for hydronic radiant flooring up two stories’ worth of a poorly-insulated chase between the basement and attic?
-Am I missing anything important?
Thanks for any help.
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