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Adding Hydronic Basboards to Forced Air??

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by jessem, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. jessem

    jessem Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    SW VA
    I currently have an OWB with forced air, however I have come across some 4-8' hydronic baseboards, would it be beneficial or cost effective to add baseboards in conjunction with the forced air to the exterior wall(s). The house is an 1.5 story 1920's farm house, so their is a good bit of cool air that comes in @ the floor.

    Thanks

    JM

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  2. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    14,749
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    Jessem . . . this question would best be posed in the Boiler section . . . the guys there should be able to help you out better. Perhaps a moderator will move this for you.
  3. willworkforwood

    willworkforwood Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    459
    Loc:
    Central Ma
    Adding BB to your existing FHA would only be beneficial if your OWB is over-sized for your current heat load (on cold/design days). You would need to do a heat-loss calculation on everything that's being heated, and compare it to the output of the OWB. But a rough indicator - if it idles much of the time (even on the coldest day), good chance it's got extra capacity. But, if it's not over-sized, then adding another load would just redistribute the available BTUs, and probably not provide better heating.
    Cost effectiveness is a completely different issue. In addition to the cost of the BB, you would need a pump, some fittings, and a bunch of pex (much less $ than copper). Plus, you would need some kind of controller for the BB. It might actually be fairly complicated to control a system where 2 separate emitters heat the same space. Materials may be much more than you think, and if you're hiring out the work then of course the total cost takes another big jump.
    IMO, you would be much better off putting those funds into tightening things up. Naturally, this isn't the time of the year to do lots of weatherstripping or insulation (except for the attic and/or under floor). But you might be very surprised what some 3-4 mil poly and/or a couple rolls of packing/painters tape might be able to accomplish in reducing infiltration. A cold windy day is a great time to walk the house and mark off all of the problem areas, to be addressed in a warmer season. But at the same time, apply some tape or plastic, and you will notice an immediate and significant benefit. Not pretty, but very effective. Then in the other 3 seasons get the job done the right way. Most of this work is very much DIY. In any case, good luck with it!

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