Hot water heat or forced air heat

Old 02-25-03, 09:07 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Question Hot water heat or forced air heat

I have a 1979 burnham boiler that heats my house threw copper pipes in the ceiling and walls. I want to change my heating system so that I either have hot water baseboard heat or forced air heat. After getting alot of quotes, it seems that they will both cost me about the same price to install. Do to the fact that I will need a new boiler and baseboard heat vents installed or a forced air furnace and duct work installed. I will want to have air conditioning installed later, so I am leaning toward the forced air furnace. My question is, How will this major change effect my gas and electric bills? They are enormous now with my existing heating. Another question that the heating contractors still cannot answer me is, How can I compare the energy saving between a new forced air furnace and a new boiler?
Old 02-25-03, 12:17 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
How much heat your house looses has more to do with how much your heating bills cost, not how the heat is put into the house (hot water vs. hot air).

Basically, if you want to cut down on your heating costs, you need to reduce the amount of heat your house looses.

A new boiler or furnace will be more efficient, and thusly, reduce your energy costs by the amount of the increased efficiency of the new heating system (for example a boiler that is 65% efficient vs. one that is 80% efficient), but the real savings come from making you house "tighter".

Many people believe that hot water heat is more comfortable than hot air heat. You said that you have pipes in the ceilings and walls, which sounds like you have radiant heat. Many people swear that this is the best type of heating system to have, because it is the most comfortable.

The best heat/AC system are two seperate systems.: Heating system from below (in the basement), and cooling system from above (in the attic).
Old 02-25-03, 07:15 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Question hot water vs. hot air

Thanks for replying back. I have recently found out that the previous owners have never insulated the walls. I guess they felt that having brick walls outside was good enough. Although I don't fell the same way and am about to fill them with blown insulation. I do have another question if you have any advice to pass onto me. I am in debate about what type of forced air furnace to get. I would be satisfied with a standard 90+ furnace but with my house, beeing on a crawl where the supplies will be I have been thinking about getting a standard 90+ two stage. Which do you think would be better for eliminating cold drafts? Also the two furnaces I have been looking at are the Carrier and Rheem. Do you know which is better?
Old 02-26-03, 11:47 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
The two-stage is supposed to be more efficient, but I don't know which furnace product is better. But I can tell you that in a hot water heatng system, cast iron baseboard radiators are much better than fin tube baseboard radiators. Being in a room full of hot cast iron is kind of like standing in warm sunshine. You can feel the heat radiating and warming you up.

Forced air heat, by it's very nature, makes drafts in order to move cool air from the house to the furnace to be heated and then back into the house.

If it were my house, I'd put in a hot water boiler & cast iron radiators (if radiant heat were not an option). Up where I live (western Mass), you need heat pretty much every day between late October and early May. You only need AC for July and August, and then only for the really, really bad days and nights, (which are less than about 20 times per year), and can easily be addressed with window AC units.
Old 02-26-03, 06:00 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Talking hot water vs. hot air

Thank you again for the advice. Seems like we both have the same cold period. I live in (North Ohio). Our cold weather seems to come on the very first day of fall and continues till April. With the winter we are in now, who knows when it will be warm? Well thanks again for the help.
Old 03-01-03, 05:37 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a

sorry to butt in.... but......

I am buying a house with baseboard heating throughout that has been abused (banged up with furnature and kids bending the fins )

I was wondering if I could just re-route the zones under the floor with a new radiant system to save floor space.
OR should I just replace the baseboard with "slant-fin" (finned copper tubing)
which is better?

any thoughts on "slimline" or should I just R&R what I have

My wife hates not being able to place furniture against the wall. My wife would like to install big cast iron radiators salvaged from old buildings but I fear not being able to find them big enough or mismatching the size for each rooms.

Any thoughts?
Old 03-02-03, 06:50 AM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 1,856
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Angry New post...

Start a new post if you have a question K.I.S.S.
Old 03-03-03, 07:06 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Radiant is better than baseboard, but there are many factors to cosider before determining if radiant will work, such as amount of insulation, condition of windows, type of floor covering, etc. Radiant needs to be designed properly, and to get an answer to your question that is worth anything, you need to have someone who knows what they are doing come out and evaluate your house.

You CAN put furniture up against baseboard heat, but only in the summer. Doing so it the winter reduces its output. Put wood blocks behind the furniture to keep it from sliding up against the baseboards in winter. In summer, move all the furniture up against the baseboards.

I had fin tube baseboard in my last house, and cast iron baseboard in this one. Cast iron baseboard is MUCH better, hands down.

With regard to replacing your existing with the same or something new, get some one (or several people) who can do a heat loss calculation, come in and give you estimates for new radiation. The heat loss calculation is very important and should not be skipped.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: