Adding a/c to a home with boiler heat
Has anyone added a/c to a house that didn't have ductwork? I have gotten several estimates and each of the HVAC companies has had a completely different approach - I have no idea how to determine which will be most effective. Anyone have any experience or words of wisdom?
I have a 2600 sf center entrance colonial style home with a full attic and basement. It was built in the late 60s and has boiler heat which we are happy with, but we would like to add a/c.
Guy #1 is a family friend who owns the local Trane franchise. He did not come inside but told us to expect to do two completely separate systems, one in the basement for the first floor and one in the attic for the second floor.
Guy #2 says guy #1 is right but that if we put an air handler in the attic and use it to cool the second floor, it will do a good enough job for the whole house (because it will suck enough humidity out of the air to make the whole house comfortable). We could always add a second system later, but he feels confident we won't want to.
Guy #3 wants to put one air handler in the basement, run ductwork in the basement for the first floor and then shoot up through closets to the attic and branch out from there and down into the second floor bedrooms. The whole house would be on one thermastat.
Guy #4 says a new furnace wouldn't be much more expensive than the air handler, so he wants to rip out the boiler system and replace it with zoned gas-forced heat and air.
I have no idea how to evaluate the pros and cons of each of these methods. My main concern is that we get a system that can effectively cool the house. HAving done this once before (in a previous home, we ripped out a boiler and replaced with gas-forced air - we hired Sears to do it and were not happy with the results - ducts got placed where it was expedient and not necessarily where they would heat and cool well, and as a result, we had an inefficient and ineffective system for both heating and cooling - long story short, I don't want to make that mistake again - but how do I evaluate which of these guys has the best solution?
Thanks in advance for any advice