We recently purchase a central Ohio home built in approximately 1870. The home has a fuel oil boiler with hot water baseboards; therefore, no duct work is present in the house. We have been having significant problems heating the downstairs and have to sleep open the window in the upstairs because it is so hot. We recently had it serviced and we were told that there is no way to reduce or shut off the hot water flow to the upstairs only use rising heat from the downstairs to heat the upper story. We were also told, based on the fact that our system is over 20 years old and not efficient at all, that it would probably be beneficial to replace the system prior to next winter.

I have been doing a lot of research on the internet and have yet to come to a conclusion of what is the best system for my house. My end state is efficient and consistent heating and cooling throughout the year with the least amount of utility increase (NOTE: I am seriously considering the instillation of a solar or solar/wind renewable energy system, but that could be several years from now).

The options as I see it are (not in any specific order):

Option 1: Multi-zone Natural Gas or Electric Heat Pump -

Advantages:
Electric
1. Upgrade to high efficiency system (80% AFUE)
2. Consistent heating/cooling

Natural Gas
1. Upgrade to high efficiency system (80% AFUE)
2. Consistent heating/cooling
3. Less expensive utilities than electric

Disadvantages:

Electric
1. Not as efficient as radiant heat
2. More expensive utilities than natural gas
3. Loss of square footage within the house due to running duct work

Natural Gas
1. Not as efficient as radiant heat
2. Cost of gas line installation is high
3. Loss of square footage within the house due to running duct work

Cost Estimate:
Electric Natural Gas
1. New gas line installed ≈$ N/A ≈$ 2,000.00
2. New gas heat pump ≈$ N/A ≈$ 3,500.00
3. New electric heat pump ≈$ 2,800.00 ≈$ N/A
4. New multi zone controller ≈$ 250.00 ≈$ 250.00
5. Installation cost (w/duct work) ≈$ UNKNOWN ≈$ UNKNOWN
Total ≈$ 3,050.00 + ≈$ 5,750.00 +

Option 2: Multi-zone Natural Gas Boiler/Water baseboard radiant heat with window or ductless A/C (i.e., Bosch Greenstar Combi 151)

Advantages:
1. Radiant heat is more efficient and consistent than forced air
2. Switch to natural gas, which is more efficient and cheaper than electric or oil
3. Upgrade to high efficiency system (hoping 95%+ AFUE)
4. Combine house heating and DHW system to increase efficiency
5. Combine house heating and DHW system reduces electric cost
6. Combine house heating and DHW system reduces space requirements
7. Combine house heating and DHW system allows hot water on demand

Disadvantages:
1. Cost of gas line installation is high
2. Reusing window A/C units results in high electric utility costs
3. Reusing window A/C units results in inefficient and inconsistent cooling
4. Window A/C units are loud

Cost Estimate:
1. New gas line installed ≈$ 2,000.00
2. New boiler combi system ≈$ 3,500.00
3. New multi zone valves ≈$ 400.00
4. New multi zone valve controller ≈$ 300.00
5. New multi zone switch ≈$ 300.00
6. Installation cost ≈$ UNKNOWN
7. Reused window A/C units ≈$ 0.00 (already own window units)
Total ≈$ 6,500.00 +


Option 3: Ductless Heat Pump (i.e., LG Mini Split 8 Room System)

Advantages:
1. Upgrade to high efficiency system
2. Individual room temperature adjustment
3. Upgrade to high efficiency system
4. No indoor reconstruction required
5. Indoor units can be blended with Artwork

Disadvantages:
1. Limited to 8 rooms
2. Drill 8 holes through exterior walls
3. Louder (26 dB) than radiant or heat pump systems
4. Not as efficient as radiant heat
5. More expensive utilities than natural gas

Cost Estimate:
1. New Outdoor Inverter ≈$ 5,000.00
2. 8 New Indoor room units ≈$ 8,000.00
3. Installation cost ≈$ UNKNOWN
Total ≈$ 13,000.00 +

Based on a decision matrix, it would appear that Option 2 and Option 3 are tied (the matrix was NOT weighted, the highest number of advantages received the highest score, the lowest number of disadvantages received the highest score, and the lowest cost estimate recieved the highest score)

Questions:
1. What are additional avdantages and/or disadvantages for each system?
2. What recommendations would you make in order to add weight to specific advantages/disadvantages?
3. Do you agree/disagree with my assessment? Why?
4. Are there other considerations that need to be accounted for?
5. What are your individual personal/professional recommendations?

Thank you in advance for your response(s).

Kevin