Upgrading a Heating System
Hi all – Hoping to get some help making decisions related to potentially upgrading our heating system. We’re in the middle of a pretty extensive renovation of our 1892 colonial revival near Boston (climate zone 5a). The house is just under 5000 sqft, with three levels of living space (finished attic). We currently have a high efficiency natural gas steam boiler that was put in in 2016, connected to essentially the original steam radiator system on one zone controlled by a Nest thermostat, for which we have numerous “comfort sensors” to help us control heat it specific areas (eg at night, temp is set by an upstairs comfort sensor instead of the downstairs thermostat). We are now putting in AC and doing a few other updates that have many (though not all) of our walls open. I’m trying to figure out if there are upgrades we should make to our heating system as part of this. Aside from being single zone and the drawbacks of that, the current radiator system clangs quite a bit and we have some leaky radiators that probably need to be replaced. We’re paying quite a bit for natural gas right now and we’re a bit high on electricity too. Also worth noting that we know we have some insulation gaps and are working to remedy those in the next several months as well.
edit to add: we also have all new windows put in in the last 4 years. There are certainly drafts around them from bad insulation (we’re working to fix) but the windows themselves are solid.
I’ve spoken to several contractors and the typical recommendations have been to either add heat pumps onto the HVAC system we’re putting in for AC, or to go hydro air, which would require us to trash our current steam boiler and get a wall hung water boiler unit. I’m wary of making a total heating system switch, but maybe I shouldn’t be. I’m attaching the first floor plan for our house – second and third floors are stacked right on top of the first, with the exception of the bump out on the kitchen only, as well as a few different proposals I’ve received.
Would greatly appreciate any advice/ reactions to these proposals and guidance on what we should consider with some of these decisions. Thank you!
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