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Old 07-18-2011, 02:51 PM   #1
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Looking at putting a hydronic floor heating system. Maybe some dumb questions.


I've got a 1200 square ft house. I have a nice forced air heating system and my house is pretty tight after having my attic floor sealed and my rim joists in the basement spray foamed. I'm looking to improve the comfort of my house by using radiant floor heat.

I'd like to have multiple zones with controls in each room. In all but my kitchen and bathroom, my floors are hardwood and I really don't want to replace them. I've heard about a "staple up" system for existing floors but I haven't heard of any real world experiences with it. Anyone know if it's effective/any good?

My current water heater is an electric BW 50 gallon. It's ok, but a little on the expensive side to operate. That should be expected of an electric water heater though right? Well, if I were to put in a boiler or tankless heater to heat the radiant floors, would those be capable of replacing my electric tank and heat my domestic hot water as well? On Navien's site, I see that they have a "combi" unit which looks like it handles both domestic hot water and hydronic heating in one. Is that a good choice and an energy efficient or economical option?

Sorry if questions are dumb. I'm new at this. I did a bunch of searches but I didn't find my answers. Thank you.

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Old 07-18-2011, 10:53 PM   #2
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Looking at putting a hydronic floor heating system. Maybe some dumb questions.


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I've heard about a "staple up" system for existing floors but I haven't heard of any real world experiences with it. Anyone know if it's effective/any good?
Wood does not make a very good thermal conductor, and I'll hazard a guess that you have 3/4" subfloor with 3/4" finished flooring, so my answer is that I do not think that it would be all that effective/good for your situation. It's also much more labour intensive to install, as all the joists have to be drilled, as opposed to just laying it down in new construction.

Ad for the Navien combi units I have never installed/handled any, but have one for the domestic hot water in my home, and am very happy with it.

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Old 07-21-2011, 04:18 PM   #3
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Looking at putting a hydronic floor heating system. Maybe some dumb questions.


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Wood does not make a very good thermal conductor, and I'll hazard a guess that you have 3/4" subfloor with 3/4" finished flooring, so my answer is that I do not think that it would be all that effective/good for your situation. It's also much more labour intensive to install, as all the joists have to be drilled, as opposed to just laying it down in new construction.

Ad for the Navien combi units I have never installed/handled any, but have one for the domestic hot water in my home, and am very happy with it.
Thanks for chiming in.

My wood flooring is too nice to replace just because of a radiant heat system. When it is time to replace it and if it is me who replaces it, I think this is definitely the way I'd like to go.

I am planning to remodel both my kitchen and my bathroom however and I am at liberty to pick whatever flooring I want. I really want to install radiant floor heating in both areas.
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:28 PM   #4
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Looking at putting a hydronic floor heating system. Maybe some dumb questions.


If its just a small area you can use the electric floor mats that go under tile or stone for in floor heat, no sense in putting In a boiler unless your doing a large area.
The system I'm thinking about is call Nu heat you can google them, it's a nice product. With a forced air system you could put in a heat pump and keep it comfortable all year long.
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Old 07-22-2011, 12:18 AM   #5
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Looking at putting a hydronic floor heating system. Maybe some dumb questions.


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If its just a small area you can use the electric floor mats that go under tile or stone for in floor heat, no sense in putting In a boiler unless your doing a large area.
The system I'm thinking about is call Nu heat you can google them, it's a nice product. With a forced air system you could put in a heat pump and keep it comfortable all year long.
I don't think I'd put in a boiler, I'd use a tankless combi water heater. I'd start out heating the kitchen and bathroom. Then when I put in a new concrete basement floor, I'll put pex in down there, too. The tankless combi unit would also take care of my hot water.
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Old 10-29-2011, 12:16 PM   #6
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Looking at putting a hydronic floor heating system. Maybe some dumb questions.


Thousands of staple-up systems are done under 1.5" of wood floor - 3/4" sub plus 3/4" finished. The key to getting the heat to transfer is to use heat distribution plates, and leave a 2" air space under the tubing, then insulation with an R value about 10x that of the flooring material. Going under a hardwood floor, you want to keep the supply temps down - 110 deg. is often cited.

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