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Amlr912
Trying to decide HVAC or gas pack
Amlr912

My home is in SC and about 100 years old, 1950 sq ft. I recently had a 200 main breaker box panel installed and complete new water lines plumbing. Got rid of the 100 yr old galvanized clogged pipes.
The home is currently as it was 50+ years ago, heated by free standing gas heaters. Only one heater has a blower. and of course window units for A/C. I am planning to insulate the crawl and attic and install a new heat system. Wondering on which would be the best fit and most efficient, HVAC or Gas Pack.

keith3267
Re: Trying to decide HVAC or gas pack
keith3267

HVAC is short for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, so a gas pack is an HVAC system.

If your house is a two story, getting ducts to the second floor will be an problem, but it probably would be with a conventional split system also. By conventional split system, I mean a gas furnace with an evaporator coil for AC in a closet or utility room inside the house with the AC compressor coils outside. As for efficiency, there are high efficiency gas pack available so while there may be some state of the art split systems that are at the cutting edge of efficiency, there are gas packs that aren't very far behind.

In either case, make sure that all duct work in the crawl space is metal ducts, sealed and insulated. If you allow flex ducts to save money, you will soon find them full of holes made by critters that manage to get into the crawl space.

There are two other systems you may want to consider, especially if you have a two story house. One would be a mini-split heat pump. These can be very efficient and cost effective, especially if you are on propane. The ultimate in efficiency and low utility bills would be a geo-thermal system, but the up front costs is very high, upwards of $25k not counting the ductwork.

dodsworth
Re: Trying to decide HVAC or gas pack
dodsworth

Amir,

I would support the previous post by keith as one heating option you should consider; but also consider the hot water heating system elsewhere in this section, entitled "Heating Suggestions for 2nd Floor Addition" by Patrick Presti and Pelton; this would involve a gas-fired hot water boiler in the cellar supporting baseboard heaters throughout the house, and preferably a 40 gallon indirect hot water heater in the cellar to supply domestic hw needs for showers, dishwashing, etc.

You should also consult the Yellow Pages under "Heating Contractors" to have several installers over the house to give you free quotes and suggest the different types of systems that would best suit your needs.

keith3267
Re: Trying to decide HVAC or gas pack
keith3267

dodsworth, if this house were up north, I'd agree with you, but it is in South Carolina and it does not have a basement, only a crawl space. It has more cooling degree hours than heating degree hours. A forced air system really works best in this climate.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Trying to decide HVAC or gas pack
Mastercarpentry

Keith3267 is right; I'm in the NW upstate of SC myself and the rest of the state gets hotter than here in the summer. Winters are about the same as here. Utilities are assorted in SC- the many power companies vary by location and so do their rates. Natural gas isn't always available and LP gas rates are all over the map. One answer won't be right everywhere in SC.

Generally speaking Natural Gas is the cheapest heating option here but an electric heat pump may not be too far from that based on the utility serving your area (Duke Energy is pretty cheap up here). LP can rival these or cost 3 times as much based on the suppliers who deliver to your location. Do the attic insulation as it also keeps the attic heat out of the living space in the summer but crawlspace insulation isn't going to help very much so maybe put that money into wall insulation instead.

Forced air systems can heat and cool, plus they work well with the varied weather we get. They also get rid of the summer humidity and that makes for better felt comfort. Steam and hot-water heating systems are almost an unknown and few people work on them anymore up here thought there are bound to be some guys in Charleston who do them. Talk to any older local HVAC companies and see what they recommend for your specific location and your home. I'll bet they say a forced air heat pump with gas heat is how to go.

Phil

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