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Old 12-16-2009, 05:24 PM   #16
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Been playing around in excel with this and think it's worthwhile. At 5.8 cents per kwh it would cost me 36 bucks per month if I use a 3kw heater. That's assuming the heater would be on non stop durring the whole operation of the system, which is probably not the case, it would cycle while the water keeps circulating. I'm not considering the pump but that's a small amount and over aiming will componsate for that. That's running it from 10am-1pm and from 3pm-6pm. Those are the times where I would want it running, the other times I'm not home or I'm upstairs.

Now if I go ahead with this, keeping a DIY spirit, what is the best and safest way to heat water to be circulated into such system? I was looking at tank less hot water heaters but WOW they expensive. I was even thinking of one of those garage heaters that heats a copper coil but I'd have to totally enclose it in a small insulated space to avoid loosing tons of heat, and that would become unsafe.

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Old 12-16-2009, 06:14 PM   #17
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If you want the heat up to temp at 10a & 3pm you might need to start it 2 hours early
That means you are better off running it from 8a-6p
Does the 5.8 include delivery charge & all taxes ?

I'd be inclined to possibly use a water heater
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:34 PM   #18
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Regular electric water heater.

Although you may have trouble finding one apprved for building heating applications.
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Old 12-16-2009, 11:13 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
If you want the heat up to temp at 10a & 3pm you might need to start it 2 hours early
That means you are better off running it from 8a-6p
Does the 5.8 include delivery charge & all taxes ?

I'd be inclined to possibly use a water heater

Yeah took the 2 hour start time into consideration but I also made the assumption that the source of heat is powered on non stop. Chances are it would cycle on/off while the pump keeps going. That price does not include delivery but it seems delivery is pretty flat rate, I pay around 20 bucks no matter what. Some months I pay more for delivery then the total bill!

The more I think of it though, I will probably make this a future project and just do it with a system designed for it. The cost of a safe heat source + the cost of a pump that can handle that heat may be high. I was thinking of using a sump pump that pumps to a large PVC pipe then have smaller pex tubes break off that PVC so I have a more equal floor heat, but then started to think, a sump pump is not designed to handle that type of heat.

...or could it handle it? What type of water temp am I looking at for an effective system, is it near boiling?
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Old 12-17-2009, 04:49 AM   #20
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I can think of a dozen code violation that might not allow you to install such a system.

One in particular states ..and I am paraphrasing..."No mechanical device for home comfort cooling and heating shall be deemed acceptable unless said device has been certified for said application by a nationally recognized testing authority or agency."

Might want to check with Termite. He is an inspector.
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Old 12-17-2009, 05:22 AM   #21
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You'd have a very noisy system if you used a sump pump.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:10 PM   #22
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Hmm never realized the code violations. Guess for it to be to code it would have to be UL listed among other things right?

Provided whatever I do is safe, code violations would be mostly an issue if I want to sell my house. Would an inspector actually ask for the system to be totally removed, or just not used / disconnected?

Come to think of it how much does a real system go for anyway, abouts? I found plenty of sites that "sell" them but no sites that actually let me order one so I can see the price. I might just install a real one and that way I know it will work and be to code. It sounds more fun to DIY so at the end I can see the result and see my very own work in production, but I'm starting to think I might be better off buying the real thing, provided I wont get raped. :o

And about how loud is a sump pump? I never actually operated one before, so I did not even consider the noise it might make.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:20 PM   #23
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Its not the pump itself that will be loud.

Its the water going through the pex and pipes too fast. That will give you lots of noise.

You have to use a circulator. Not a pump.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:21 PM   #24
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a sump pump is real loud an residential motors go and they pump way too much volume. They are intended to pump out a sump and shut off. Not intended for continuous use.



in your calculations, did you figure in the cost of running the pump as well?

maybe the HVAC guys could step on this but there is such thing as a thermosiphon heat system.. I know how and why they function but do not know enough to be able to give you any specifics of a properly designed system.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:33 PM   #25
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Yeah I did not take into account the pump, I thought of it but given there are lot of different types out there not sure yet what I need/want.

The main thing too is, how hot exactly does the water need to be to be affective? Does it need to be scalding hot, or just warm? I'm guessing it has to be quite hot to be affective.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:53 PM   #26
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Ontario is the STRICTEST province in terms of everything meeting code. All HVAC trucks have some dept of labor # on them and they enforce all the rules. Move to Alberta, Wild West no rules, anything goes there.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:55 PM   #27
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The water temp is determined some what by the design of the system.
Good design, relatively low water temp.
Poor design, high water temp.
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Old 12-18-2009, 04:28 AM   #28
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Quote:
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Ontario is the STRICTEST province in terms of everything meeting code. All HVAC trucks have some dept of labor # on them and they enforce all the rules. Move to Alberta, Wild West no rules, anything goes there.
Yeah, I hear it's so rough and tumble there even the deer and moose ignore the no hand gun law
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Last edited by hvaclover; 12-18-2009 at 04:33 AM.
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:33 PM   #29
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I think I found a 3000w small HW heater that may just do the trick if I do decide to try this out.

A few more questions, what is typical size of piping I want to be working with, is it 1/2"? I just want to use something that is typical so that it will be easier to find fittings. Also since I'll be using pex, what type of fittings do I need to put it all together, I'm guessing things like valves etc are different and made for pex, so I should not have to solder anything right? For connecting to the HW heater, is it welded on or is it actualy screwed on using teflon tape? I've never done any plumbing before so this will also work as a nice learning experience and if anything goes wrong it will be minor compared to if I did something with the main water.

For the manifold, I would use short pieces of pipe with T connectors, would I want to put a valve on each line so I can control the individual flow? I'm guessing if I just put them all full blast then there wont be enough flow as it will be 1/2 going to a bunch of other 1/2, so the first pipe will probably get most of the water, I think.

Also what should I look for as far as pumps go? Do garden fountain pumps use 1/2 connections? I'm thinking this may be the best bet. I'm guessing I don't need too high of a GPH rate right? Guess I still want something high enough so when it pushes in the manifold it then converges through all the tubes which will be the same size but have valves to regulate how much can go through. This will allow me to have more control over different zones.

And lastly do they make programable timers that can work with 240v and high enough amperage? What I'm thinking may be the easiest way is to install a small sub panel and just have the timer control the entire panel. The panel would feed the HW heater as well as the pump.

This is what I'm thinking as far as how it will go:


Pump => HW heater => Tube going up to ceiling, with check valve => Manifold => separate tubes for different sections, with each their own valve => Come back into a manifold to combine back into 1 tube => back to HW heater

I would also add a valve to bleed the system, and also a valve to fill the system using the house water, given I have a water line passing very close by anyway, so this would be the fastest way to fill. There would also be a "vent" valve for when I'm filling so the air can come out, and it would basically go to a small tap where I can put a water bucket. Once water starts coming out then I know the system is filled. Also what about pressure/temp gauges, should I have some?

Think this will work?

This will end up being expensive enough, so a prebuilt system would work if they're in the same price range, but I can't seem to find any places to buy one. I also kind of want to have the experience of doing it myself anyway as long as I do it right.
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Old 01-05-2010, 06:26 AM   #30
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1/2" pex.
Pex has its own fittings.

Make a drawing of your planned set up. Then its easier to answer questions.
Don't put the system on a timer.

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