In colder climates, hot water heating is considered by many to be preferable. The benefits of the hot water system are:
• An even heat is distributed throughout the house reducing the likelihood of uncomfortable drafts.
• Hot water heating is noiseless.
• The boiler (i.e. the central heating appliance) has less moving parts than a furnace. Therefore, it is less costly to maintain and repair.
• Boilers require very little or no homeowner maintenance. For example, there are no filters to change.
Some people find the cast iron radiators to be unsightly, however this is subjective in nature. One of the detractions of hot water heating is that it does not allow for the easy installation of a central cooling system. However, in most cases central air conditioning may not be required to maintain reasonable comfort levels.
The following represents a few recommendations to reduce heat gain and to provide comfort conditions during the summer months:
• The installation of a powered attic ventilator, with its own thermostatic control, will discharge the stifling hot air out of the attic promoting better air circulation in your house.
• The installation of three speed reversible ceiling fans will provide excellent air circulation and comfort, especially in the bedroom.
• A dehumidifier in the basement greatly reduces the natural damp conditions which manifest during the summer months.
• The installation of a medium size window unit air conditioner on the second floor may be all the refrigeration required to provide comfort if the above recommendations are also undertaken.
The aforementioned will not provide you with the same cooling effect as central air conditioning, but will certainly provide reasonable comfort levels at a fraction of the cost.
Copyright (2003) CBCG – Reprinted with permission