We are faced with a dilemna in our 75 year old house. We have hot water radiator heat system in the main house (3 floors) and it works wonderfully. We have an in-law suite in our basement where oddly enough heat was never installed even though we experience bitterly cold winters.
The original owner had the house for over 70 years and the basement remained unfinished. Newer owners only lived here for one year and made several errors when renovating throughout the home. One being not installing heat in the basement apartment, not installing insulation in the basement and opting for electric space heaters instead of getting the job done right.
We have received various suggestions for heat in the basement apartment from licensed HVAC pros we have interviewed. They are:
1) Hot water baseboard radiators. Extended from the existing gas hot water boiler (35-40 years old).
2) Add new forced air gas furnace and create duct-work for in-law suite.
Our concerns are the following:
1) Price. Some contractors have said that gas forced air heat total cost is more expensive (purchase + installation) and we are better to stick with baseboard hot water radiator system in the basement. Others have said that in the long run, gas forced air will be more effective and more cost efficient than hot water heat - plus easier and less invasive to install than baseboard radiator system (a few of the walls/baseboards are concrete).
2)Noise factor. A newer model Gibson was suggested by 1 contractor. He stated that the older models were noisy but the newer ones are very quiet. A few suggested a Frigidaire system.
3) Effectiveness or inadvertent problems with addition of radiator baseboard heat in basement possibly stressing old school radiator heat system in main house, or we need to purchase a new boiler to handle larger heating system. (A few HVAC guys said we would need a new boiler and others have said that even though it's old it's fine.)
Even with all the varying advice from HVAC pros we are left wondering: Which system would be better in the long run?
In case this info is needed: The main house has two floors which total 3,300 square feeet. Our attic which is full-sized is approximately an additional 1,200 sq ft. The in-law suite is 1,500 square feet. At this time, gas is only used for boiler and hot water heater which is going to be changed to larger unit (40 gallon presently - changed to 50 gallon). We will also be upgrading from electric range/oven to gas in the main kitchen. In-law suite oven will remain electric. We do not have air-conditioning anywhere in the house (including in-law suite)other than window units.
Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions!