Installing central air/heat in c.1890s 'folk Victorian'

We're restoring/renovating a c.1890s house in an historic district in San Antonio Texas.
We're just starting to look at heating and cooling systems (it has neither, tho does have gas lines which were used for wall heaters). I've called a few places who will come out to give us estimates, but we have no idea where to really start with what *type* of systems are available. Google searches yield 1000s of sites, but I thought I'd ask here for some advice.
Any particularly good websites which describe systems and compare? We'd like to get the most energy effecient systems possible (1600 SF house on pier and beam foundation). Suggestions for the best?
We're doing *everything* to this house: repairing foundation and roof, re-wiring, re-plumbing, installing insulation, gutting the entire interior....etc. So if you have any suggestions on other aspects for such a house, all are welcome!
Thanks!
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I don't have one, but I like the looks of Durham (www.durham.com) Duo-rad hydronic system. (Which is a radiator and fan combination through which you pipe either hot or cold water, depending on the season.)
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Uh, Durham Staffing?
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of the above. Or just to a web-search on "Duo-Rad" which is easier.
--Goedjn
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good luck, I lived as a child though one of these remodels. 1900's farm house in Iowa, did not even have toilets when we moved in.
http://198.147.238.24/ac_calc/default.asp
this will help you play what if
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Interesting site, thanks. That's useful for comparisons.
Quite honestly, Idoubt we'll ever use the a/c except when guests are over. We're mainly installing it for eventual re-sale, and because we do need to install the heating system, it's easier to do it all at once before we move in. We're planning to do Energy Star on everything though.
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I would take a look at the 'Space Pak' air conditioning system ; it utilizes a blower unit which is tucked away usual in the attic then small 3" dia. high velocity insulated ducts are ran to the corner (usually) of each room . There are round very unobtrusive looking ceiling outlets which are flush with the ceiling for a very clean looking appearance. The system is quiet and it is very popular in multistory homes or homes where its very important to keep its original look inside. Not sure if heating comes with this system or, if its just straight cooling. But you should check into it. Ive seen a couple and the owners were very pleased .
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I still think a ductless heat pump system is the way to go on a house like that.
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Dang..How can you possibly live in San Antonio and NOT use the AC? I live in Bastrop (Austin area) and can't imagine not using the AC in the hot humid summers. Heating is what I would expect not to use much here..
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I know, everyone tells us one can not survive w/o a/c, but we managed just fine since 2002 in a house w/o a/c. Fortunately both of us prefer it like that - the one thing I really hate about Texas in the summer is that you have to carry a bloody jacket or fleece with you everywhere you go thanks to the a/c. I've lived in much hotter climes in the tropics, so it's normal for me (and I grew up in east LA w/o a/c - not as humid, but much hotter). Oddly enough, DH is from Switzerland but also prefers the lack of a/c.
That the house was built pre-central a/c days, it is well situated with high ceilings, pier/beam foundation, lots of shade trees, windows in appropriate places, etc.
We're installing it due to aforementioned people who swear one can not survive w/o it. Since those will likely be the potential buyers in 5+ years time.
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If you are looking for the most efficient system look at a Geothermal system. Climatemaster and Florida Heatpump are two. They arent real cheap to install but you said you wanted efficient and didnt give a whole lot of other info. You will need room to add the regular ductwork though. If you dont have the room, a high velocity system cuts down on the amount of ducting you need but if you look at the match-ups of equipment, that system kills your efficiency and actual BTU's. Your best bet would be to go into detail with the HVAC companies that come out. Good Luck Bubba
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I'd spend a few dollars and have a mechanical engineer do heat loss/gain calculaions, size the ducts, locate the supply & return grilles, choose the equipment.
In an existing house that is being gutted, you have a chance to do a really nice job.
No one here can see the arrangement of rooms, exposure of the building and so on.
Tom Baker
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Thanks to all for the advice.
We're having a couple of people come out this weekend to work up estimates. I just wanted to have an idea of where to start. The volume of info is overwhelming. It's useful to learn about ductless, evaporating etc!
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