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Old 02-06-2012, 08:54 PM   #1
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What is a good efficient heating system for cold climates?


My husband and me are building our first house this year. We decided to build a 2.5 story prow front house. The top 1.5 stories will be the main floors with the bottom more of a gym/storage area that will slowly be finished. The area has to much of problems with flooding so my husband said no to any basements. He wants the house raised up anyway for a nicer view out the living room area. The prow end will be facing the West for the view and for the sunlight. We will be installing reversible ceiling fans.

I've been trying to search around for a good heating system. Not worrying about any a/c. We need something that isn't going to cost a fortune to run since we have long winters that can get down to -20 degrees. We don't have natural gas offered in the area. We pretty much have the choices of using propane or electricity to run the heating system. I did look into geothermal ground heating but it is way to expensive. We need something that isn't overly expensive to install.

I would rather not have ducts since my FIL's house has them and I have bad allergies and nose bleeds during the winter when it is blowing the dust all around. We prefer not to have a wood stove. My husband doesn't want to mess with one and I'm not sure how well I would do with one since I'm mildly allergic to trees. I've been in houses with them and I feel stuffed up with my eyes watery when I leave.

I've been looking at the hydronic radiant heating. I like the fact that it doesn't blow the dust, is good for high ceilings, can have different temperature zones, and is efficient to run. One thing that is bad is the cost of installation for the in-floor radiant heating. We would prefer to install it ourselves to cut costs with the help of certified relatives in electric and plumbing. Or maybe us install it and have someone come over and check everything out that knows about radiant heating.

I've seen different types of radiant heating but was wondering if any were better than others as far as cost to run, ease of installation, or cost for someone to install it. The ones I've seen so far are hydronic radiant baseboards, dry installation (inbetween subfloor and floor) of radiant in-floor, warm boards, and thermal boards.

I was thinking of maybe using one of the in-floor systems for the living room, kitchen, and dining room area since they will be all open. That would be probably around 500 sq.ft. and then use maybe the baseboards in the other rooms that will be less used till we have kids. We would most likely use a good water heater instead of a boiler for only the heating. We would have a different water heater for the sinks and showers if it is possible since we will have a well.

Does anyone have any information about radiant heating or maybe another alternative for heating? I'm completely stumped on what to use. This is probably the hardest thing to decide on that I've come across so far.

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Old 02-06-2012, 09:02 PM   #2
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What is a good efficient heating system for cold climates?


no ducts leaves you with a boiler and hot water heat.

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Old 02-06-2012, 09:20 PM   #3
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What is a good efficient heating system for cold climates?


Munchkin Boilers are very good and have 92% efficent

The nice thing about boilers are that zone heating can be done quite easy.
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:17 PM   #4
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What is a good efficient heating system for cold climates?


Radiant floor heat is a wonderful way to heat a home, we recently did a 35,000 sq ft mansion in Knoxville, we ran the equivalent of 10 miles of pex tube, on 3 different levels. Its a quiet, even and very economical way of heating a dwelling...........the draw back is you can not cool using the same method. we end up with 19 space pak systems, spread out all over the mansion. if you can afford radiant, and the additional cost of adding some type of A/C......then i say go for it, you will not regret it.
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:01 PM   #5
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What is a good efficient heating system for cold climates?


Thanks for the information. We don't mind using just window a/c's for cooling. We will mostly just want to cool the master bedroom, the kitchen, dining room, and living room. If we have any children then we would add an a/c to their room. Right now we have a small a/c that we use to cool a 10'5"x 16' bedroom and it does a nice job.

The heating is the main big issue since we can go without a/c if we had to since it usually only stays around 86 degrees during the summer. We wouldn't be able to survive the winter without any heat though.

I was looking at youtube videos last night on how radiant heat was installed under floor joists and it seems very easy but time consuming. I don't know about the hook up to the boiler/water heater. Are the parts (not including the boiler/water heater) expensive or is it more the labor? My FIL and me could easily install the plates and tubing to the bottom of the floor joists ourselves for free if it installs like the videos showed. Is there a easy way to calculate how much tubing is needed or could I draw out a scaled version of the floor and draw where the tubing is with the 8" spacing to figure it out? I would definitely want a professional to check out the system and hook up to make sure it won't leak.
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:16 PM   #6
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What is a good efficient heating system for cold climates?


Our home has hydronic heat. We didn't build the house, so I can't give you any info on installation.
There are pros and cons. I love the warm floors in the winter. We keep our thermostat set lower than in our previous home because warm feet just make you feel warmer.
The biggest con is if you feel chilly, and want to bump the thermostat up a degree or two, it's gonna be a while before you feel the difference.
Overall, I like it!
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:04 PM   #7
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What is a good efficient heating system for cold climates?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Blondesense View Post
Our home has hydronic heat. We didn't build the house, so I can't give you any info on installation.
There are pros and cons. I love the warm floors in the winter. We keep our thermostat set lower than in our previous home because warm feet just make you feel warmer.
The biggest con is if you feel chilly, and want to bump the thermostat up a degree or two, it's gonna be a while before you feel the difference.
Overall, I like it!
Thanks for the information. I don't mind the wait. I can always turn a heated blanket on while it is heating up or add more clothing. Can't be as bad as forced air ducts with the drafty areas.
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:26 PM   #8
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What is a good efficient heating system for cold climates?


This is the time to spend money. If you are planning on living there for many, many years in a home you bought the lot/land for and then are paying multiple of thousands to have built then don't cheap out on a good heating system.

Makes no sense.

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