going hi-tech?


Old 05-09-03, 10:23 AM
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going hi-tech?


In december I bought a two story brick rowhouse in DC. Supposedly renovated. To make a long story short all of the ductwork serving the forced air (gas) furnace and ac is currently exposed. the system has been bodged from the start and doesn't work very well. the duct routing is bizarre and takes up way too much space. the returns are likely too small. the ac system is brande new but has never been used, and does not appear to be charged. the hot water heater and furnace are vented together into (barely) a tile lined (cracked tile that is) chimney.

All of the appliances are brand new as of december. the space they take up and the $$ and effort it will take to get everything up to something resembling code (not to mention working properly) has me thinking in an entirely different direction.

If I shoot these units between the eyes and replace them with an on demand tankless hot water heater, a mini-split a/c. (with heat) and a gas or solid fuel appliance in the fireplace chimney (will need to be reapired as well) and then replace the washer and dryer with a single unit (the size of a regular washer) that does both washing and drying, this will enable to me to take back almost
1/3 of the living space on the 1st floor of my house. not to mention increase the available sunlight 3x. its not that these traditional appliances take up alot of space, but the way the sapce is laid out toi accomodate their presence means that the space as a whole is not effectively utilized.

I was hoping that I could do all of this for aabout or maybe even less than $10k, but I am holding out for more opinions, experiences, etc.

I have a pdf file of a drawing of the layout for both floors of the house, but currently cannot access the server whre it is stored. but I am impatient so I decided to post this anyway...

well, fire away!

dave bobeck
washington dc
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Old 05-10-03, 04:40 AM
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Dear Dave--

Sounds like a good plan to recover the space but forget the idea of doing it for less than 10k. The minimum equipment you are talking about using will set you back a third to half of that. Then by the time you include chiminey repair, outside labor you will need (presuming you do the majority yourself), finishing materials, little extra's you either want or construction problems require, permits needed, taxes, etc,...you'll easily chew up the other half.

On the good side, you'll recover most of the costs through utility savings, resale value, and most of all, enjoyment of your space.

Good luck to you
Old 05-10-03, 11:25 AM
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hey, thanks.

I guess I was thinking "in the vicinity of $10k." I will likely contract the chimney and fireplace insert, the split system a/c install, and the hot water heater install. I can do all the demo to prepare the space plus all the construction to cover the new components and outfit the new space. my greatest concern is whether or not the mini-split will adequately heat and cool the house. I think it is possible for a good solid fuel appliance to heat this house on its own. I understand that heat pumps are generally not used this far north (washington dc) since winter temps can drop to the teens on occasion and oftne run in the 20's and 30's. but my gas bills were $250 during this winter (temps in 20's for two or three months) and I can't imagine it getting much worse. Plus with the zone control afforded by the mini split I think I might get more efficient usage of whatever power I do consume.
But I don't have any expeience with this or nkow anybody who does and I am looking for some input in that regard. If anything it should b quiter without the forced air and less drafty without the negative pressure created by tha system. I have a pdf file showing a detailed floor plan of my house but the server is still down. total living space is about 1050-1100 sq. ft. windows are new double pane. doors have weatherstrip, attic has r-30 and first floor crawlspace has diddly...

thanks again
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