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Plumbing Professional
Plumbing Professional, HVAC Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 1284
Experience:  25 years
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I suddenly need a new furnace for a 1914 home with radiator

Customer Question

I suddenly need a new furnace for a 1914 home with radiator heat. The heat source is oil. No central A/C so the oil provides only heat and hot water to a 1400 square foot home. I have quotes for three systems:
1) Williamson OWT-4-125 with Carlin burner
2) same Williamson with indirect water heater
3) Buderus G215/3 with Riello Burner and ST150 Indirect water heater.

Historically my house had a coal stove and there is still space for this on the first floor, hence my request for the ventless system. Am I on the right track? Is ventless impractical and so I would be better off looking for a ventless gas or pellet stove for the historic stove location (stove location = boiler location = one chimney). Also, I would not want to preclude future owners from converting to another heat system (baseboard, forced air) or adding a hot water storage tank if necessary (I don't necessarily need one).
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Plumbing Professional replied 7 years ago.
well their are many different answers for this based on time and experience and every one would have something different to say and still be right. The thing is don't you want AC? If you do then maybe go with a system that can give off heat and AC. This type of house and age i see all the time and even older , i have seen people convert the oil burners to gas and when said and done the efficiency is less then 50 % and burns more gas then a high efficiency unit would. Maybe instead of having a new boiler installed with old pipes and baseboards you might want to can the hole old system and gut everything and start with a new heat and air system. When you have a system as old as yours and you just install a new boiler their will still be problems to come later on down the road because the rest of the system is still 100 years old. The money always plays a part and if you don't have the money for a hole new system then just go with the first thought but know that its not a 100%. The vent less systems still need a in and out pipe , their just power vented with a blower motor so you don't have to use a chimney you can just run a new pipe out the wall and be done with it. The stoves as far as they go its historical , and never to be seen again so when a buyer that has the taste for a old house might want the original stove and set up the way it is. But you also have to say when is enough and make the jump between keeping it original or updating. The new stoves don't even compare to the old ones and so much easier to use. Also if the stove is old and the rest of the house is updated and nice then the next buyer might not even care and just like the fact that they have a old house and the beauty of it but also have modern appliances. If you do go with the new stoves just keep the old ones and put them in storage for when you do sell the house and make sure the contractor doing the work knows how to work in old houses, most people don't have a clue and mess up the structure integrity of the building because they don't know how the houses were built back then and they just want to get the job over and on to the next one and they can damage your home and cost you a lot of money and take away the historical valve of the home. If you have new stoves installed just keep the old chimney for the old stoves in place just in case the new owner wanted to put the old stove back in that you have in storage. just remember your house is worth what it is today right now AS IS , you can actually de value the house if you don't do something in the right manner , so this is a big decision on your hands.