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Thread: Extending Central Heat to 2nd and 3rd Floors

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  1. #1

    Default Extending Central Heat to 2nd and 3rd Floors

    I'm buying an old house with 3 apartments. Currently, there's an old FHA system for the first floor apartment, and just gas pipes for the second and third floor apartments. I'd like to convert floors 2 and 3 to central heat. I know putting in ductwork will be very impractical so I was thinking about using forced hot water instead. There is a closet that can be used to run the pipes up from the basement.

    Any advice would be appreciated!

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    High velocity ducts and outlet nozzles might be able to be used...depends on the layout.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua
    High velocity ducts and outlet nozzles might be able to be used...depends on the layout.
    When you say depends on the layout, can you be more specific? Thanks!

  4. #4
    36 Journeyman Plbr rudytheplbr's Avatar
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    Default Adding Heat piping

    First is your furnace going to be of sufficient capacity to heat the rest of the bldg? 2nd, if that closet is in a position to run hydronic heat piping, couldn't it also be used for forced air ducts? 3rd, how will the upstairs apartments regulate their heat?
    All these Q's need addressed, and the best way I can think of is to hire a heating/plumbing company to lay it out and price it. Many people think that all they have to do is add more pipe. Not correct.
    Your furnace or boiler needs sized to heat the whole bldg, in order that you don't get complaints of too much or too little heat. A reputable comapany will do the necessary calculations, sizing, and installation, and offer a guarantee, that the designed system will work efficiently for all concerned.

    Good Luck,
    Rudy

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by rudytheplbr
    First is your furnace going to be of sufficient capacity to heat the rest of the bldg? 2nd, if that closet is in a position to run hydronic heat piping, couldn't it also be used for forced air ducts? 3rd, how will the upstairs apartments regulate their heat?
    All these Q's need addressed, and the best way I can think of is to hire a heating/plumbing company to lay it out and price it. Many people think that all they have to do is add more pipe. Not correct.
    Your furnace or boiler needs sized to heat the whole bldg, in order that you don't get complaints of too much or too little heat. A reputable comapany will do the necessary calculations, sizing, and installation, and offer a guarantee, that the designed system will work efficiently for all concerned.

    Good Luck,
    Rudy
    I should have been more clear. The three decker was built in 1916 and back then, there were few options. Only the first floor has central heat by a forced air gas furnace. That furnace is at least 20 years old so should go. The vents are very strange looking as well.

    Each unit above will have its own heating system, which a web-based calculator figured out as needing a 50K BTU heater (1496 sq. ft. per apt.) Currently, each 6 rm. apt. has gas pipes in two rooms only, which are hooked up to stoves. BTW, the heat system is called "gas-on-gas" meaning a stove is connected to each pipe. Air distribution depends on convection or blowers only. There are no ducts.

    The cheapest way to go would be changing out the existing units and keeping the gas-on-gas. I have been pricing split-systems to add a heat pump and A/C to floor one. I'd like to add new central furnaces OR boilers to floors 2 and 3. Boilers are more expensive, but I'm thinking that ductwork would take up way too much space and be a bear to run. Then again, maybe a good, knowledgeable contractor could tell me the straight scoop. But that's why I'm at this forum...to gather ideas and some knowledge before contracting with someone.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    High velocity branch ducts are in the order of 4" in diameter. These get attached to a main trunk. ALl of the ductwork has to be designed for a high velocity system, it is not something you add onto an existing duct. But, since the ducts are small and the nozzles are too, they can be added fairly inconspicuously. The same ductwork can be used for cooling, as well. You need to talk to someone experienced in this (not me) to see if it would work out for you. Because of the high velocity, the actual size of the main trunk isn't as big as a normal system, either.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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