Quote Originally Posted by Bob-D659 View Post
Sal, if he was in a climate like yours, he likely wouldn't have a basement...
Around here the lack of basements means our tank-type water heaters are typically found in the garage. They're placed on platforms at least 18 inches high so any pooled gasoline fumes won't be ignited. Large wire-screened vents to outside are required near the garage floor and approximately 8 feet high. Not that I'd be too concerned about adequate combustion air anyway, given the huge gaps around those ill-fitting one-piece garage doors that are typically installed.

Quote Originally Posted by Bob-D659 View Post
...Nothing wrong with scorched air heating, it's usually more efficient than a boiler, and much lower in capital cost.
Nothing wrong with it if one is enamored of spreading dust everywhere and experiencing the thrill of wind chill indoors during winter.

Space heating with a furnasty is not inherently more efficient than using a hydronic system to accomplish the same thing. There is a complete range of efficiencies available from either appliance type. Since forced air has more than 90% of the US market, minimum efficiency regulations for furnaces are a few years ahead of those for boilers, but that's changing. Standing pilots will soon be gone and outdoor reset required. The only reason one finds 80% efficient boilers being installed today is that they are cheaper and still available. Modulating, condensing boilers with 97% efficiency can be purchased from a large number of manufacturers and are regularly installed for homeowners who understand their benefits.

While speculative home builders will always select space heating systems with the lowest up front cost, i.e. furnaces, anyone who takes a long-term view and values comfort opts for forced hot water instead. One can configure a number of different distribution systems with varying degrees of comfort, but even the least expensive of them (baseboard convectors) is much more comfortable to live with than forced air. Continuous circulation and proper sizing permit lower water temperatures that mean steady, even heat delivery. The most expensive emitter would be in-floor radiant; that approach delivers such comfort that occupants are regularly happy with thermostat settings a number of degrees lower than they'd otherwise require. Even smaller fuel bills is the result.

Unless the housing market returns to its bubble days of frequent "flips," I suspect more homes will be in the hands of individual owners for extended periods of time. Hopefully, that will encourage long-term thinking and a resurgence of hydronic heating systems. There's certainly no question that, when a house is constructed on the New Hampshire land I purchased earlier this year for retirement, it will be heated by hot water.

Now, what was the topic of this thread again?