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Old 11-03-2006, 08:17 AM   #1
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Radiant Floor Heat (ongoing questions)


My home has a boiler system installed, but I have not yet tested it to see if it even works since we bought the place. Getting colder in Ohio and home is getting to be about 65 degrees and wife is ready to focus on heat now. We both have seen so much on radiant floor heating on DIY channel that we demand that is what we have.

We will be using laminate flooring so looping the PEX either from the basement or just under the laminate is ok, either way. I personally think that it would be easier to just put a hole in the subfloor and lay it all out under the new flooring, then there would not be a second layer of oak to heat first before getting to our flooring.

I have so many questions and I planned for all of them to be more technical than a beginner's questions. The thing is I just seen a water heater being used for radiant floor heating. I assumed that we would have to use a boiler. Is this really ok? It was a big 100,000BTU water heater. Is this the standard way of running radiant heating?

If it is, my next question goes a bit further. If we can use a standard high use water heater for this could we also choose to use one of those tankless water heaters? We have just over 2,000 Square feet and 3 baths. Having two I assume could handle the hydronic heat and the potable hot water we would/could use and elimnate the electric hot water heater we currently have.

The main idea behind wanting to use a tankless system is when the thermostat says we are up to temp we would not have to pay for the system to then heat an additional 50 or so gallons as we would with a water tank. Am I learning or am I only dreaming? Many more questions will follow replies, I just don't wanna scare y'all yet. :P

Last edited by iGotNoTime; 11-03-2006 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 11-03-2006, 09:42 AM   #2
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Radiant Floor Heat (ongoing questions)


Another question is zoning. I assume that to create different heating zone on a hydronic system I would need some valves that would offer some sort of control. So to make things easier to visualize I will use one room/zone as an example.

My living room has a thermostat, and floor already has the radiant heat lines ready for connection in the basement. If I were to connect the line to the source (water heater?) I would use a valve similar to the one at the top of this page. Then the existing thermostat would simply be connected to this valve and the thermostat in the living room would then open and close the valve for the living room and zone is complete?

Well that would give water coming into the line, but at the end of the pipe, where does the water discharge? How does it circulate? I assume the water would need to circulate in some way to ensure that it is always hot correct? Is that what a taco pump is for?
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Old 11-03-2006, 10:49 AM   #3
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Radiant Floor Heat (ongoing questions)


Hi iGotNoTime

First thing you will need to understand about all of us you will hopefully get to confer with, have our own opinion and way we want to see things done. I hope that you get to use all of our options to your advantage. Before you get started with what would appear to be a lengthy remodel, my first suggestion would be to go to www.dunkirk.com and see what options they have. The best suggestion I would give is if you have the option is to do radiant floor heat. The Dunkirk site I just gave you has what is called a Q90 & Q95 boiler, these boilers have the option of a water heater attachment. The Q95 is just about the easiest and quietest 90 plus boiler you will find. And the biggest plus is its made in the USA. Anyway, do your research before you buy. In this industry it is so easy for people to not get what they wanted. Researching stops this problem. The other thing you will want to research is your zoning valves, I am not sure what is available to you whre you live. But where we are at the best options I have found hands down are Taco boiler accesories. Don't laugh its a real name. Make sure that if you decide to use a contractor that they are a very reputible one. the unfortunate thing about our industry is there are so many fly by nighters that could care less rather or not its good, as long as they got there money. It looks good from their house. Look for company's that have long term committments to their communitys. Hopefully you can get mdshunk to chime in, he seems to be very intelligent.

Good luck.
Rusty

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Old 11-06-2006, 01:18 PM   #4
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Radiant Floor Heat (ongoing questions)


I mean no disrespect toward you Carrierman but I am shocked that was all there was for replies to so many questions. My current boiler is actually from Dunkirk. I am not really looking at a boiler in all honesty though. I am trying to figure out if an on demand water heater could pull off the same trick.

Something like this image.


That system is about $2700 and pushes out 175k btu. I wanted to build a system like this myself but don't know if it would be advantageous to try. The heater would run about $1000 and there are at least 5 taco pumps on there, pressure relief valves and many manifolds. I just honestly don't know if I could build one cheaper than what they are selling them.

I would like entire upstairs to be divided into about 5 zones. Then the entire downstairs and theater room in the basement to be the other 6 zones. I am pretty confident that I would be using at least 2 of those boiler-room-in-a-box systems because I don't think the 175k btu would be enough. All three bathrooms will likely be using electric radiant heat, so they are not included for this zoning.

Too I have to consider that I am replacing the concrete on the driveway and sidewalks and might consider running some PEX under there so I don't have to shovel the snow when the kids are gone. So the big question is can I build one of those systems for less than what I could buy one?

Please feel free to answer any of the questions in the thread as they are all unanswered and I am at a stand still sort of.
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Old 11-06-2006, 01:52 PM   #5
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Radiant Floor Heat (ongoing questions)


Hi iGotNoTime

No problem wasn't exactly sure what you were getting at. The picture of what you have using the tankless heater is quite puzzling. I see that they are using it for radiant heat, but not exactly sure what the heat exchanger is about. Is that for heating the potable water? Not sure I see the benefit over a 90 plus boiler with a domestic water heater attached. Not sure what model dunkirk you have but a Q95 modulates to the load. It can go anywhere from 80k to 225k, this makes more sense to me. It by itself would be able to do the total load. With what it looks like you are trying to do, your going to tie a bunch of money up in a perpetual problem. The tankless water heaters do not save you enough per year to justify using them for this purpose. We actually did some rough calculations, for the BTU's required for heating water, the only advantage we found with the tankless is you did not have to keep a resivoir tempered. Believe it or not that only calculates to about $ 45.00 dollars a year. Take that times the cost of the system you are considering and I believe you will answer that for yourself. The other draw back that they don't tell you about on tankless water heaters are the cost of the rebuild kits and the fact that they need rebuilt about every 2-5 years depending on the water quality and the usage. My vote would once again be with the Dunkirk Q95. Good luck, and if you decide to go with the system pictured I would be interested to know the outcome.

Rusty
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Old 11-06-2006, 02:16 PM   #6
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Radiant Floor Heat (ongoing questions)


Thanks for the reply Carrierman, I really meant no offense by it. I value everyone's opinion and was hoping for more replies for this reason. I guess not many here work with radiant heat. Oh well.

$45 per year! I am totally amazed, I assumed it would be about 20x that amount on an 80 gallon tank. No it is not a Q95, it is in fact a Lennox boiler sold by Dunkirk. I was thrown by that so I went and checked the label on my boiler and the address matches the address from the contact us page on their website. Did they recently begin producing their own line? I assume the Lennox is about 8-10 years old by looks. Perhaps they were a dealer before they started their own thing?

As far as the all in one type system pictured above I think it could be used for potable water however I would prefer it not be right off. Space is a small factor sitting in the back of my mind too. Those tankless systems can just be mounted on the wall but that is a minor issue in comparison to the "could it work" theories.

What about the valve pictured a couple posts up, is that the cornerstone to the idea of zoning the home? Or is that not the type of valve I would need to connect to the thermostat's receiver?
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Old 11-06-2006, 02:56 PM   #7
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Radiant Floor Heat (ongoing questions)


Hi again iGotNoTime

Dunkirk has been building boilers for many years, they have built a line for alot of different manufacturers. The thing I have been impressed with about them is the efficency ratings. They build a line for Carrier that is similar to the Q90 series, they are probably the most impressive condensing boilers out there today. There was no offense taken, I have always had to work hard for what I attain, when I see something of true value. I will always pass it on to those willing to listen. Check out the website I gave you if you havent already, look at the value they offer. Then if your not satisfied at least you have done your homework.

Good luck.
Rusty
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Old 08-23-2007, 03:55 PM   #8
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Radiant Floor Heat (ongoing questions)


Give Watts Radiant a call and discuss your needs. There are people who will be happy to fine tune your system for you there as well.
800-276-2419

Ask for hydronic technical help!

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