In the past couple of weeks I have run into two potential houses that use boilers for heating. One house had a separate AC system with ducts and the second did not have any ducts. I'm thinking that the 2nd house will need a new furnace, AC and ducts. On the first house I can probably use the AC ducts for heating and cooling. I'm working in the NE Ohio region where it gets pretty cold in the winter.
Any one have any thoughts on boiler systems. Should they stay or should they go?
I'll let others chime in on potential issues of having a boiler system in a rental or flip since I'm not familiar with that aspect, but I will say that if you read up on HVAC forums it seems that radiant heat from boiler systems is preferable from a comfort standpoint. Provides more even heating without drafts etc. Especially when the alternative is retrofitting ductwork or using potentially improperly placed retrofit ductwork. Apparently A/C "mini-split" systems are a good option for installing A/C in a house without existing ductwork these days as well, particularly in older homes with original plaster where installing ductwork would be a big issue. Again these perspectives are from a homeowners standpoint, so may be less relevant when looking at cost/benefit for a potential flip.
It really depends on the entire system itself (age, efficiency, type of distribution). Many will argue that hydronic gives a "nicer heat" because it does not dry the house to the degree a forced air system does.
Most hydronic systems found in houses use baseboard or radiators which suffer from the same problem as any form of convection heat - slow recovery time. Some may include heating coils with fans in areas like foyers to help with recovery.
Hydronic radiator/baseboard systems are generally heat only. You will need a separate air conditioning system or heat pump to provide cooling.
If you have radiant distribution system (in floor, wall or ceiling) then it is often possible to use the distribution system for heating and cooling. You will need an air-to-water heat pump or chiller to provide the cooling. A radiant system is also suitable for connection to solar thermal hot water, so you could effectively heat the house with solar energy (not to be confused with photovoltaics), using a tank or in-line water heater as your backup heat source.
The boiler itself, if it is a newer, direct vent, condensing, natural gas unit, it could be up to 95% efficient. If it is an older natural draft (uses a chimney) boiler, then if could be as low as 70 - 75% efficient.
Completely agree with Dan T.
I would rip it out and install new forced air systems.
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