I live in the suburbs of Cleveland OH in a single-story, L-shaped ranch with hot water baseboard heating. As such, with no ductwork for forced-air ventilation, I have no central air conditioning.
Because my attic allows easy access to the ceiling of virtually every room in the house, I've been soliciting estimates for the installation of a central AC system, which would basically be a compressor unit outside plumbed to a fan coil (air handler) unit in the attic with an insulated plenum that would feed insulated flex ducts to each room of the house. Most of the contractors have spec'd one large single 'return' in the main hallway, versus returns in each room, tho some have spec'd that as well.
Anyway, that's all well and good, and the estimates are at least cosistent, coming in around $7-9K. However one of the contractors today threw out an option that I hadn't considered...he asked if I wanted a furnace up in the attic as well. The added cost would only be about $700 (I already have gas lines up there).
This is REALLY attractive to me, since I have little use for hot water baseboard heating (I know some folks LOVE it, but I'm sick of the maintenance, and just don't like the heat...takes too long to warm things up)
Is there any down-side to putting a furnace in the attic? Will operating in the sub-freezing ambient attic temps for the majority of the heating cause the unit any extra wear and tear, or cost me more to heat?
And for that matter, does the AC plan sound reasonable?
Any thoughts at all would certainly be appreciated.
Pete D Willoughby Hills OH