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Radiant ceiling heat vs gas forced air w/heat pump?

Michele Robarge | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

Looking at homes to buy, need to install A/C, wondering about costs & efficency?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Michele,
    It's hard to give advice about a home you might buy based on the type of HVAC system. Any particular heating system might be well designed and efficient, or badly designed and inefficient -- regardless of the system type.

    "Radiant ceiling heat" means one of two things -- either a space heating system that employs electric-resistance wires embedded in the ceiling, or a hydronic space heating system with ceiling-embedded tubing and pumped fluid. Neither system includes ducts, so if you wanted to add an air conditioning system, you would either have to install a duct system or use ductless minisplits for cooling.

    A gas forced-air system includes ductwork. If it includes a heat pump, the heat pump might be reversible (in other words, it may already provide cooling). If the heat pump is not reversible, it could be swapped for a new heat pump that provides both heating and cooling.

    In all cases, the existing duct system would have to be evaluated to see if it is properly designed, properly sized, and leak-free.

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