Is It Time to Upgrade an Ancient Heating System?
January 13, 2020
We have many vintage homes in our area, and most of their owners love them and don’t want to make drastic modifications to them. But older homes are often difficult to heat. It’s not only due to less tight construction that allows for drafts and lower levels of insulation. It’s also the antiquated heating systems that can cost enormous amounts each winter to power. Old heat systems are sometimes Frankenstein monsters constructed of different parts, such as an oil-fired steam heating boiler, cast iron radiators, multiple different units for each floor, and electrical back-up heat. If your home heating in Acton, MA is an old-fashioned system like a steam boiler or gas-fired oil furnace, or you’re needing to rely on space heaters for extra energy, and all of this is costing a small fortune each winter, we highly recommend an upgrade. The changes don’t have to be as drastic as they may at first appear—at least not if you work with our skilled professionals.
Is natural gas heating an option?Not all homes have access to a gas line. If your house does, but you’re still using an oil heater or boiler, we strongly recommend making the switch to natural gas. It burns cleaner, provides the same level of heat as oil, is conveniently piped into the home, and is one of the most affordable fuels on the market. If you do not have a gas line, contact the gas company to see if it’s possible to connect your home to a nearby main.
Leave the steam boiler behindWe work with steam boilers, so we’re familiar with their operation. Most boilers today do not use steam, however. They are efficient enough with hot water. They are less expensive to run because they don’t use as much energy. They can provide heat through much smaller radiators or baseboard heaters throughout the rooms. They’re also safer. Look into what it will take to upgrade from a steam boiler to a hot water boiler.
Ductless heatingThe most flexible option for comfort in an older house is a ductless heating and cooling system. These are types of heat pumps (which means they also work as air conditioners) that operate through units mounted on the walls around the house. Installers can set up a full house heating system with almost no disruption to building material. You only need electrical power for ductless systems, and they are less expensive to run than electric furnaces or boilers. An extra bonus is that ductless systems allow for zone heating and cooling: you only need to use energy to condition the rooms that need it.
Dual fuel systemsIf you are interested in a ductless system or a standard heat pump (for a house that has ducts already), you can choose to have a dual fuel system instead. These are heat pumps with backup heating from a gas or propane furnace. These are useful for homes that are drafty and can become too cold for a heat pump to handle all the time.
Basnett Plumbing, Heating & AC has been trusted for over 30 years. Schedule an appointment to learn more about home heating upgrade options.