Heat pump in a 80+ year old masonry house

What do you guys make of a house that is at least 80 years old, 2 1/2 storey and is a legal triplex. i.e. each storey is a separate apartment. The house is heated by a hydronic heating system, yet the real estate listing claims the existance of a heat pump.

I’m assuming there is no ducting system because of the hydronic heating and I wouldn’t think that there have been modifications made to the house to incorporate ducts to all floors. That being the case, how would a heat pump be incorporated into this house? Is it possible that there is an air handler that supplies heat / cooling to one floor (the one occupied by the owner of the house)?

If that is the case, wouldn’t it be difficult to control the temperature of the other floors (the thermostat is probably on the main floor and it would be reading the temperature of the heat provided by the boiler, plus the heat provided by the heat pump - so then the other 2 floors would be cold).

Without having actually seen the property yet, I’m trying to prepare for what I might run in to.

Your experiences would be appreciated.

The control of heat for each level can easily be done by providing a thermostat on each level controling a zone valve for that floor.

Michael - I got the impression from the buyer (a real estate agent that is buying this house as an investment property) that it isn’t a zoned system.

Is there a chance that it is a steam system?
If so each radiator can have a manual valve or a thermostatic valve on the radiator.

Could also have hydronic space heaters (forced air units or baseboard) each individually controlled.

I don’t know why this thing is seeing me as a non member. No access to the members only section for the last two days.


The Owners/Sellers may have installed Heat Pump (Thru-Wall) Incremental units, normally used in Hotels, Sunroom type additions, Bonus Rm’s, Basement finishes, etc. We see it a lot in our area.
You won’t know until you get there of course, but unless accommodations we’re made for ductwork (in floors or ceilings), that’s about the only way I can see that what you are understanding from the owner, could be true.
I’ll be interested to hear what you find out.

Who did you tick off?

Hey folks:

Thanks for all of the great responses.

Here’s the scoop… the “heat pump” was a tiny window air conditioner in the living room of the house… I corrected the seller’s agent.

The rest of the job was un-fun. Lots of live knob and tube, oozing steel distribution plumbing, reversed polarity receptacles, abandoned live wires under a leaking kitchen sink, a 3 storey fire escape (wood) that was supported by 4x4’s resting on bare earth etc. etc.

Just another day at the salt mine…

Again thanks for the support - I think at least it was a good intellectual exercise.

Thanks for the reply Joe .
There was lots of thoughts traded from that Heat Pump ( Air Conditioner ).
I am sure much of the information posted will stick in many minds .
Great how information flows from a simple question .
Till the Next time
Roy Cooke