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Heating/Cooling 3,500 'Sq ft. Victorian Home

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Posted by janzen200@yahoo.com on August 8, 2005, 6:04 am

We just purchased a 130 year 3 story old brick home with an Armstrong
gas furnace and only one register on the second floor.  We are
finishing off the attic and there is no source of heat.  It is
extremely hot in summer and cold in winter.  We will insulate it and
put in some type of ventilation.  With only single pane windows I am
afraid of the bills if we go with conventional heating/cooling systems.

I was told that pulling air out of the attic and sending it to the
basement will help the movement of cold air in air conditioning but
this is probably of minimal value.

I am considering the wood-fired outdoor furnace or boiler as one

I have to put in drainage around the home and was considering trying to
devise some tpye of heat pump system that did not require so long of
lines.  I could lay in water lines in the drainage tile ditches and
circulate water through the ground to cool it and then run it past some
coils and blowers in the furnace to distribute the cooled air through
the existing ductwork.  This is probably only going to be marginally
effective so I am looking for alternative ideas or means to improve
this idea and ensure the most efficiency.  I am also told that it is
difficult to design a pan to collect condensation that will not impede
the blower.

If I put in a wood-fired outdoor furnace then I would consider
connecting it to the drainage lines to increase the length of the
system.  Is there any relatively low cost means to produce energy for
air conditioning through burning wood?  Are such units sold or
adaptions made for the outdoor wood-fired furnace?

Could someone provide some advice?

Posted by GeekBoy on August 8, 2005, 6:58 am

I decent sized efficient wood burning stove could heat the whole house.
I kept a 5000 sqft home warm with a big and small sized stoves and used
about 1 cord a month in wood

Posted by Vaughn on August 9, 2005, 1:01 am

     First of all, as others have noted, you should not neglect insulation and
sealing to reduce your heat loss/gain.

   If you decide to go with forced air, it is amazing what the right craftsman
can do in those old homes to get ducts from your basement to your attic without
opening up walls.  You just need to find the guy who knows how.  Many years ago,
I used to "help" my father tackle these jobs.


Posted by barry on August 8, 2005, 3:03 pm

First, you've got to cut your energy losses- sounds like yours are
huge.  Winter or summer, there are (3) means of loss- infiltration,
conduction, infrared.  (Masonry is a lousy insulator, as are your
windows, against both thermal and ir conduction.)

What, and how much of it,  will give best payback depends on local
climate, which we can only guess at.  Thinking longer-term, you really
can't have too much sealing, insulation, and ir-blocking.  (Once it's
tight-enough, air-air heat exchangers are of interest, but that may not
happen for 130-yr-old.)  Lots of free gummint publications on such

Then, I'd think along lines: what part(s) of house need how much
heating/cooling.  You don't need the same in all parts of the house.
But, you need to contain it- heating lower floors open to above will be
expensive. And, frozen pipes are bad.

For such zoned heating, reasonable-size woodstoves can work great.

Depending, other items of interest include thermostatic attic
ventilation, shades & awnings, shade trees, veranda.  While "finishing
off attic" you might want to give some attention to properly
ventilating (thus cooling & preserving) the roof- not roasting the
shingles off it, or charring the roof-deck and framing.


Posted by Arnold Walker on August 8, 2005, 10:08 pm

If you have a boiler ....vaccuum eductor.
Canneries freeze dry product all the time .......
Single stage will do for your air conditioner temperatures.

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