Heat Pump in Attic

We have an just placed a contract on an old brick home in maryland (over 100 years) currently it has steam radiators. (gas) No duct work just radiators. During inspection of the current system I asked about putting a heat pump in the attic. I am just exploring my options here an would love to get a bunch of opinions.
I was told that our gas steam radiators are going to cost us dearly to heat our home.
Our main concern is the the second floor and attic. Currently the attic is unfinished. We plan on refinishing it with an office/playroom or master suite with bath. It is big enough for that.
We are interested in being more energy efficient. We would like air conditioning on the second floor and in the attic. We would need heating in the attic. In two of the four rooms on the second floor the radiators have been removed, so technically there is no heat in those rooms.
We saw a number of old homes in our search where the duct work from the basements went through closets and what not and frankly I think ruined many lovely features of those older homes. Not to mention took up too much needed space.
It has been suggested we put a heat pump in the attic with ducts to vents in the ceiling to cool the second floor. It would be a zone system with controls for the attic and 2 floor. The first floor is something we will deal with at a later time.
What are your thoughts on this? What concerns would you have? Will it be loud? Will there be a indoor and outdoor unit? How does this work? What should I ask my HVAC contractor? What can I expect to pay for installation?
Thanks so much for your insights.
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You do have other options other than traditional Central HVAC. High velocity systems such as Unico and Spacepak are a favorite for historic buildings due to the size of the ducting and how they can become part of the architecture. I suggest contacting these manufactures directly for local dealers and do your homework before signing a contract. Keep the boiler though...I lived in Frederick for awhile w/ heat pump, nothing beats the radiant heat as opposed to the "cold heat" you will get with the heat pump.
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On Sun, 17 Feb 2008 14:21:58 -0800 (PST), katiesmiling

I guess you need fries with that order? What about the thermostats? The thermostat "makes" the system. Besides, it's almost always the thermostat. Bubba
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katiesmiling wrote:

Have you considered upgrading your boiler to a 90% 'er? And put back those radiators that were leaking / removed. On the top most converted attic, maybe a ductless unit?
All and all, ask the contractor you'll be asking to service when your equipment breaks. And "becauseofjunk" has some good points as well.
Good luck!
--
Zyp



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