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hellonoko 02-11-2012 06:47 PM

is this bid reasonable?
I just got a bid for an install of cast iron radiators in the lower level of my house that I am remodeling.

The area is all torn out as far as walls / ceiling / old insulation and so on.

The bid is as follows:

1 50 Gallon electric water heater
1 grundfos ups15-58 FC 3 speed circulation pump with isolation flanges
1 amtrol extrol 30 expansion tank
1 water and air purging piping assembly
5 myson wall mounted radiators, placed in maximum heat loss locations
1 heating zone, non electric control of individual radiators, including thermostat of the radiant heating system

total sytem cost $7,275.00

I just asked for a breakdown especially on the radiators as I want to use old victorian ones if possible and the contractor told me that portion was about 350 per radiator so $1750.00

Is this a reasonable bid? It seems a bit high to me considering the install of a water heater is simple as is the running of pipe.

Also what kind of water heater would be used in this? I am trying to look up all the parts prices.


dosy777 02-11-2012 11:04 PM

I don't think that discussion of pricing is allowed on here.................

plummen 02-11-2012 11:11 PM

Have you ever tried lifting a cast iron radiator?
Those things are insanely heavy even for the smaller ones,yeah id say thats a reasonable price for installing all that in a basement :)

hellonoko 02-11-2012 11:43 PM


Is it reasonable to ask the install for a breakdown of all the parts and labor?

I looked up the prices for the items I could. I asked him about a breakdown because I wanted to source the victorian radiators myself and he seemed hesitant.

It just seems like even if the water heater was about 2 grand I am paying for near 40 hours of labor. I have some idea of what setting up a system like this would entail.

I know radiators are heavy but moving things is not a high skill job and I will probably have them in place for the contractor anyways. :)

plummen 02-11-2012 11:58 PM

Well its a little more involved than just moving them around.
Are they using black pipe or copper the job?
Is there an existing heating system in there now? :)

hvac benny 02-12-2012 12:03 AM

It doesn't matter what you can get the parts for, unless you're doing the job yourself. If you think he's overcharging, get some other quotes, or see if there is some wiggle room on the price. I've done jobs where the homeowner helped out for a reduction in price, but personally, I'd walk away if they mentioned that they can get the material for less than I'm charging, because that just shows that they have no clue about pricing and all the other costs involved in running a business. You wouldn't go into a restaurant and say you could get your steak for less, would you?

plummen 02-12-2012 12:07 AM

Without seeing your actual layout its hard to really nail down total material costs for the job,but lets just say hes gonna have $5,000-$5500.00 in materials as a pie in the sky number .
How is the water heater getting vented,is there a chimney available,does he need to install a liner in it?
If hes using a power vent heater what kind of exterior walls do you have,drilling a 5" hole through 12" of red is something I always look forward too,just saying! :laughing:
How many ex football players are going to lug those radiators in?..............
Lots of things to consider here :)

hellonoko 02-12-2012 12:08 AM


They said they would be using PEX.

There used to be radiant ceiling heat :/ but I took that out the entire area is all open studs / joists etc for the remodel. Basically like new construction would be.

@hvac benny
Good point. I basically just wanted a break down because he said if I wanted victorians units he could give me specs but I would have to source them myself. So I wanted to know how much the ones he would be putting in were to adjust my potential budget. Cost of new vs old radiators.

hellonoko 02-12-2012 12:14 AM


Well now that you ask lol...

Here is the layout with radiator placement in blue rectangles.

The floor is slab but will be insulated XPS and furring.

Walls similar to about r30. The house is 3/4 below grade. Cinderblock all around.

The price is for a electric water heater. He mentioned some type that was suited for this type of use. I could also add about 800 for a gas boiler that would vent horizontally out the joists in the front through the cinderblock.

We calculated I would need 15,000 btu for this due to being in I think zone 4 in southern oregon but he wanted to aim for 25,000 output just to be safe.

4,000 btu for each radiator under the windows.
4,000 for the office
1,000 for bathroom
5,000 for the wet bar area

hanky 02-12-2012 12:19 AM

Get yourself 2 more bids to see where they all stand.
I've always used this simple formula for bidding work Cost of material X 2 = labor cost, labor cost + cost of material = Bid

hellonoko 02-12-2012 12:22 AM


yea the problem is that this is the only guy in the area so far i have been able to find who does hot water radiators and not just radiant floor heat. but i am looking!

hanky 02-12-2012 12:22 AM

I was wondering why you were going electric? In my area of north east us natural gas is much cheaper than electric so in long-run cheaper to go gas

hellonoko 02-12-2012 12:25 AM

I am not necessarily going electric. The guy also quoted and extra 865 for a gas boiler.

I am not sure why he thought it would be a good idea to use electric.

I think it might have to do with the fact that our city owns it's own hydro damn and electricity here is about 0.05 - 0.0g a kwH?

Maybe also that I am going to have a pretty buttoned up space. r30 all around plus 3/4 under ground.

beenthere 02-12-2012 04:18 AM

Bid sounds a bit low.

I don't give price break downs either.

tinner666 02-15-2012 07:15 AM

Don't forget to add in his travel times, fuel costs, Material p/u times, auto and business insurance, WC, and all the other OH he has to pay for.
I don't give breakdowns either.

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