Thanks Steve, I have seen central systems installed above and below in these old houses, I think you're right about the undesirable factors underneath. as for the foundation, I met with the most recommended shoring co. in the area specializing in older homes and he gave me a general rundown on what needed to be done and even said I could probably do it myself. So I was hoping to find a a book or website on the basics of shoring/foundation repair. Any help on this? I might mention that I have experience in old and new construction but this is something I havent tried, yet. Thanks.