Heating/cooling setup question

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Old 09-10-18, 08:02 PM
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Heating/cooling setup question

Hi. New to the forum so take it easy on me if I violated any rules here.

New to owning a boiler, we purchased our house in Michigan in December 2017 and this will be our second season having boiler heat. Anything I should review prior to the season advise would be nice. I had a local company review and they seemed everything was solid.

For my question. We have what I'd explain as a bit of a unique setup. We have radiant heat in the basement and in our four season room. The rest of the house is heated via forced air but the air is heated via a hot water coil/radiator within the air handler. We had three companies come look at the system because the air handler is older and less efficient, all the companies are suggesting a full replacement of our HVAC system with a traditional furnace for all the parts of the house that are forced air and leave the boiler for hot water and the 2 zones.

The boiler is 2 years old and is an 85% efficiency.

What are your thoughts? Is it inexperience of the places around here in handling or is trying to figure out a new air handler for this system that complex. I figured this would be easy since in my mind it reminds me of a outdoor woodburning system.

Thank you

Liam
 
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Old 09-10-18, 10:54 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

One problem I can see already with that plan is that the boiler is going to be too big (oversized)
for the lower/reduced demand on it.

Is the boiler natural gas ?
What size is it ?
 
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Old 09-11-18, 05:04 AM
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I do not know how much efficiency you will gain from a whole system replacement, but the pay back on the new investment will probably be around the "turn of the century". If the coil in the heating duct work is finned tubing and the fins are clean I would have to ask these companies, "where is the cost savings and the increased efficiency coming from". You will gain a little savings from the increased efficiency of a forced air system but that is it . (unless I am missing something) I would go into my "thinking room" and and contemplate my next move with all these experts. My 2 cents.
 
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Old 09-11-18, 07:32 AM
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Loving this forum already.

Pete. It is Natural Gas. I'm at the office and don't have my notes on the unit here.

Steamboy.. can you tell my wife I need a thinking place, this might help me.

For your main point, I've argued that with the companies. Both gave me quotes for new AC/Furnace/Heat Exchange for 10-14k. If I save 25% on my bills a month switching that is 15 years to break even.

So the uniqueness of my setup with the forced air over fins, coils, tubing(Haven't looked to see what it is), I'm once again stuck looking for a solution just to replace my air handler.
 
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Old 09-11-18, 08:24 AM
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Since you are the customer and you want to replace just the air handler, tell the HVAC companies exactly what you want to do and say that you are happy with the system operating as is. You could have them replace the whole system as they suggest if they can justify their reasoning and explain what you will gain. If it makes sense to you great, if not show them the door.
 
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Old 09-11-18, 08:38 AM
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Air handler with a heating coil is not that unusual--why replace it unless it is not satisfactorily heating the house? Is air conditioning an issue?

If the coil is clean and not leaking--no problem. If it is dirty--clean it. If it is leaking--replace it.

If the fan is running at correct RPM and delivering sufficient air (CFM) to heat the house--no problem. If the fan is running slow or noisily it can be serviced or the motor replaced.

Replace the filters.

If the ductwork is dirty--have it cleaned.

When thermostat calls for heat the zone pump will start (or zone valve opens) and boiler starts. Typical fan coil unit controls sense hot water in the coil and turn on the fan. When thermostat is satisfied fan and zone pump (or zone valve) shut off. Boiler will cycle on-off based on water temperature settings.

Simple!
 
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Old 09-11-18, 03:09 PM
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2john, that has all been done. The system itself is amazing and heats very well. I've cleaned the coil and no leaks. I've had the ducts all cleaned. The AC unit works great.

This discussion all happens because I know the fan is not efficient and I'm big on ensuring that where I can we reduce our overall power consumption. After asking the first place to work on it, I then started to get worried because they made it seem like I could NEVER replace or get parts of the existing system.

Pictures to follow when I get home.

Thank you all again for being amazing,

Liam
 
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Old 09-11-18, 03:41 PM
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This discussion all happens because I know the fan is not efficient and I'm big on ensuring that where I can we reduce our overall power consumption.
If you mean because it's not an electronic variable speed fan...... don't sweat it too much. Yes..... they do save on energy costs and what you save on reduced energy use you can use towards the replacement of that $1000 motor.
 
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Old 09-11-18, 04:28 PM
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Don't call back the people that recommended replacing your system. They say your hot-water air handler is inefficient? Where do the energy losses from the air handler go? Totally nuts.

Best not to call anybody whose references - people you know and trust - you have not checked. When you call a company out of the yellow pages, you are likely to first get a person who is a salesman, working on commission. Boiler salesman are comparable to used car salesmen - but that comment is unfair to used car salesmen. Based on your obvious inexperience, your are a patsy.
 

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Old 09-11-18, 06:31 PM
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Images included for feedback and thoughts. I understand the efficiency of the system isn't where it should be. I think they replaced an aging system prior to selling and didn't go top end. It was still the cheapest I've ever heated a home in the winter gas(wise).

Thank you,

Liam
 
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Old 09-12-18, 02:29 AM
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Looks great; I would not change anything. There is no money to be saved!
 
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