MF home, one heating system, 3 heat zones.

6 Replies

Hi everyone, I had an offer accepted on a MF home in Somerville, MA. It's an older home built in 1900. Currently has one heating system (hot water baseboards) for both units, but there are 3 heat zones (one for unit 1, and 2 for unit 2). How easy would it be to split the heating system into 2? Have folks done something similar and what did it cost approximately? We've heard it should be easier since there are already 3 heat zones, but curious to hear others experiences. 



@Allison Park are you looking to split it to let each tenant control their temperature (which it sounds like they can already do), or pay for their own heat?

Assuming it's split it to pay for their own heat, you'd need to invest in 2 new boilers. It's possible the existing boiler could be used for the larger unit, but it might be too large and end up short-cycling.  One new boiler is probably around $6-8K installed (but of course varies based on a lot of things)

More specifically, what does it run on?  Gas/oil?  Do you already have 2 gas meters in the property?

@Wendy Patton I think your situation is a bit different.  I'd assume a 9-unit property likely isn't zoned.  So to set up 9 new zones, you'd need to completely re-plumb the whole property, plus whatever equipment would be required to zone out each unit from the main boiler.

I know some medium-sized MF properties switch over to PTAC units (sort of like the type you'd see in a hotel room).  Some also are using Mini Split systems.  I don't have much experience with PTAC units, so I'm not a good one to provide advice, but maybe it'll point you in a good direction.

@Mike McCarthy  thanks for your response. Yes looking to split so tenant pays gas. It does not have two separate gas meters so would have to split that as well. Do you think 20k would be a reasonable estimate for everything? 

@Allison Park that sounds reasonable. Splitting gas meters is normally not a huge deal - the piping can be ‘included’ in the price of the boiler install. The gas company will usually add a meter at no cost (at least around here) as long as the property is properly zoned. 
It might be worth a call to your gas company to confirm what their process is and if there’s any significant cost associated.