Hello, I'm looking for some help because I've just been told by my
furnace company that the pipes for the steam system in my house need to
be replaced. I just inherited the house from my mother about two years
ago, and have been planning on doing this already a preventative
measure, just in about the next five years or so - not before next
(2005) winter. We're planning on pretty much gutting and renovating the
house in toto over the next year or so anyway.
A little background on the situation:
- The house is 3 floors, approximately 4,000 sq. ft. (old victorian,
four floors counting basement).
- The furnace was replaced in October of 2000 with a Peerless
semi-commerical unit (don't remember the model mom chose off the top of
- As I said, we're planning on a complete renovation of the house, so
insulation will be added to the exterior walls, and the single pane wood
windows replaced (yay).
- Right now we go through about 2,000 - 2,400 gallons of oil a year for
heating and hot water. I expect with the measures above, that would
hopefully fall to the 1,500 - 1,800 gallon a year range. Is that a
- Since we're looking at a LOT of black pipe to get replaced (was told
$5,000 ballpark after a quick eyeball by the heating contractor when he
was checking the radiators, as opposed to about $500 for pex tubing if
we switched to hot water), the cost of getting a new furnace and
converting to hot water and staying with steam are about the same.
- I am NOT planning on doing any of this myself. I'm smart enough to
know I don't know enough to even think about doing anything but opening
the door for the people doing the work and writing a check when all is done.
So what I'm really wondering is would there be any economic advantage of
one system over the other? Is one system more efficient? Considering
the costs involved, I'm tempted to go with the hot water since I know in
30 years there will still be people alive who know how to
diagnose/repair a hot water system, but I really don't know much about
heating systems in general - grew up with steam, every apartment/house I
lived in was always steam.
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