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Old 03-11-2010, 11:59 PM   #1
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Baseboard and Radiant Flooring Dilemmas


Some Background:
I currently have a 100 year old home (2 bed, 1 bath) that is approximately 1100 sqft that is heated by hydronic baseboard on a single zone. The current boiler (ng) is around 50 years old and about to rust away, also the last room on the loop never sees any of the heat. The house has a small crawlspace and sits at 6200' in Colorado.

Then there's my water heater (also ng) that seams to store just enough hot water in the winter to take a 7 minute shower. So it would seem I need a new boiler and a new hot water heater.

Now the Dilemma:
Our family is growing, me, wife, 13yr old, 1.5yr old, and another on the way. We need a bigger house and we have decided to make use of our detached garage and turn it into the new living room, thus turning the current living room into a bedroom. The garage is 18' away and the plan is to build a hallway connecting the house to the garage and include a second bathroom in the hall while were at it. This would give us 3 bed and 2 baths and bump our sqft to 1800. The garage is a slab, and I'm still trying to decided what foundation would be best in the hall/bathroom.

My question is:
What should I do about heat. The wife wants radiant flooring in the new bath. So I'm thinking why not put radiant flooring in the new hall and garage too. Or would it be better to use radiant flooring in the whole house eliminating the need for a new boiler all together. Can a single water heater supply hot water and provide heat for 1800 sqft too. Or would it be better to get a new boiler and use it to heat everything but the bathroom leaving that duty to the new water heater. And then there's the question of thermal board or gypcrete, pex or copper.....

I'm really at a loss on what to do, I've talked with 4 plumbers all with different ideas, and with the intention of retiring off this job it seems. I'm hoping someone here might be able to settle my nerves and point me in the right direction. I'd really like to be able to do some of the work myself and that's why I have been leaning towards radiant flooring, it just seems diy friendly, any help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

-Jeremy

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Old 03-12-2010, 09:26 AM   #2
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Baseboard and Radiant Flooring Dilemmas


Quote:
Or would it be better to use radiant flooring in the whole house eliminating the need for a new boiler all together. Can a single water heater supply hot water and provide heat for 1800 sqft too. Or would it be better to get a new boiler and use it to heat everything but the bathroom leaving that duty to the new water heater.
Ayuh,... As you know, there's More than 1 way to skin a cat...
I'd buy a new Boiler, with a DHW coil in it....
A boiler can be sized for heating,+ Hotwater... Especially with a Heatmate tank..
Radiant Heat is no doubt the Best way to go, but you can still run the baseboard set up til whenever you'd like to upgrade the rest of the house..

Regardless whether you go with radiant or baseboard, you need a Boiler, Not just a domestic water heater...

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Old 03-13-2010, 06:29 AM   #3
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Baseboard and Radiant Flooring Dilemmas


Many water heaters are not rated to be able to be used for space heating.
And if you use one that is. It will need to be much larger then your current one is, if you want to be able to shower and heat the house at the same time with 5 people in the house hold.

Don't get a boiler with tankless heater in it. Its a waste of gas.

List the equipment they are quoting.
A condensing boiler is far more expensive then a conventional boiler.
And a mod/con is more expensive yet.

A mod/con with an indirect water heater, will be more efficient/less costly to operate for heat, with a radiant system.

Converting an existing house to infloor radiant heat is very labor intensive. So its not a cheap upfront thing to do.
Talk with your contractors and see if they will allow you to do some of the work yourself.

Some won't. Because they don't want the liability later down the road if something doesn't work right.
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:08 AM   #4
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Baseboard and Radiant Flooring Dilemmas


First off I doubt you can even get a gas boiler with a coil in it, but if you could it would be a very poor idea. Tankless coils are very expensive because they require the boiler temperature to be maintained year round.

As for using a water heater, yet another bad idea. The efficiency of these units is horrible.

As for radiant loops. In a 100 year old house, unless the insulation is up to par and the windows and doors are tight, the chance is pretty good that you will not be able to get enough radiation tubing in the home to meet the demand, but if you think you do then have a heat loss done to be sure.

The most cost effective thing would be to replace the boiler with something in the 90 - 95% efficient range and add another baseboard loop.
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:12 AM   #5
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Baseboard and Radiant Flooring Dilemmas


There is still one gas boiler made that has a tankless coil. Forget the brand name. I almost fell over. When I found out they made it. What a waste.
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