Live in a typical New England Colonial, outside of Boston.
Presently have a 30 year old Hydrotherm, gas, Forced Hot Water furnace.
2 Zones, via two individual circulators. Original system.
What we really love about this furnace is that it came with the Thermopile
ignition system (pilot light is always on and lit). We lose power often in
the winter, and by running it as a gravity system (just open the two check
valves, and put the switch in the position where it just cycles between the
high and low furnace temp. limits) it works incredibly well.
We are always amazed at how well it works as a gravity system. Makes the
house totally habitable even in the coldest of times, and therefore no need
to drain the system, or seek shelter. Just wonderful.
Have been told that these thermopile type of systems are "absolutely" not
available any more. Apparently there is some law regarding energy
conservation and the way that is impacted by the always-on pilot.
a. Is this true ?
b. If so, any way around this, or alternate possibilities for power out
(other than an outside gas driven generator)
c. Who makes the "best" gas, forced Hot Water furnaces these days ?
Should I go with Hydrotherm again? Are they still in business ?
d. What, if any, options and bells and whistles with the furnace would I
want to consider ?
What else should I probably be asking, but am not sharp enough with this
stuff to really know what I don't know ?
Appreciate the help.