HELP! Radiant floor.

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Old 04-29-13, 05:53 PM
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HELP! Radiant floor.

I am soon going to be renovating our new home and our heating system is in desperate need of a face lift. The old oil burning furnace converted to electric is still working but is not only a hazard but is not very efficient.

I really want to go with radiant heated floors and want to achieve it through a hot water tank and pex system. I was just wondering if one could layout the pex pattern on say some 3/4 plywood then use a router to make the 1/2 inch channels? Would it be wise to lay some aluminum sheeting down under the plywood where the channels are going to be made? I just need some input on methods of doing it without buying a system that is going to cost me a crap load to get shipped to northern Canada.
Thanks
 
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Old 04-29-13, 07:14 PM
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Do you have access to the joist spaces under the floor? You can run the tubing between the joists rather then laying it on top of the floor. Laying it on top will raise it quite a bit, in cost and height. Even if you had to pull down a ceiling, it still might be cheaper. Drywall is cheap!
 
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Old 04-30-13, 02:35 AM
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The basement is 3/4 finished and yes they used drywall. I guess it would be the better route considering completely re sheeting the house would be a bit more expensive.
 
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Old 04-30-13, 04:11 AM
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I don't know your exact plans, but you will most likely not get enough heat out of the radiant floor to keep your house warm. You will need to do some calculations to figure this out. Even if it isn't enough, you can still have the heated floors and add another form of radiation for those really cold days.
 
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Old 04-30-13, 04:50 AM
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Welcome to the forum.
Where are you located (noticed your profile didn't specify)?

I also noticed you said "Hot water tank" supplied?
If you are thinking of going with a domestic hot water tank instead of a boiler... You are going to have some troubles. A DHW tank won't provide enough hot water when needed and you'll burn it out pretty quickly. The efficiency will probably be less than your existing boiler as well.
 
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Old 04-30-13, 06:40 AM
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Start by doing a room by room heat loss estimate. You need to have an idea of how much heat you are going to need to pump into the home. Without this information, you are shooting blanks.

There is a 'sticky' post at the top of the forum list for a site to download the SlantFin software package that you can use to do this. It takes a few hours to measure up the home and input the data into the program.

Only when you know how much heat you will need should you continue to plan.
 
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Old 04-30-13, 08:27 AM
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HELP! Radiant floor.

Thanks for the replies guys.

Welcome to the forum.
Where are you located (noticed your profile didn't specify)?
I live in Labrador City where during the winter it can get dip to -40c. I had been doing some reading and talking to local contractors to see if anyone here has done it and he said he does remember a few houses running PEX under the floor joists. I will look into an electric water boiler. Electric is cheap here plus we get a 1500 rebate at the end of the year. I wish we had gas but Electric is all we have. Even with a boiler I guess I could go with heated floors and baseboard heating.

NJ Trooper
Start by doing a room by room heat loss estimate. You need to have an idea of how much heat you are going to need to pump into the home. Without this information, you are shooting blanks.
I was going to try that with the kitchen.

Thanks,
Mike
 
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Old 04-30-13, 09:14 AM
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Mike, don't stop at the kitchen! Do the whole house to see the 'big picture' while you are at it.
 
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Old 04-30-13, 09:23 AM
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Labrador City.... Too far from the ocean to be an East Coaster....
I'm a bit south of you in "Northern" (Really central if physical geographics is considered) Ontario.

As NJ Trooper stated, do the heat loss calc.

I noticed you mentioned you where on a boiler, but didn`t mention anything about your existing rad or baseboard setup.
Using my home as an example, I'd consider infloor heating with baseboards to supliment where needed.
 
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Old 04-30-13, 03:19 PM
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HELP! Radiant floor

I noticed you mentioned you where on a boiler, but didn`t mention anything about your existing rad or baseboard setup.
Using my home as an example, I'd consider infloor heating with baseboards to supliment where needed.
Problem is I don't have a boiler. We use a once oil burning stove converted to electric. It's a nightmare to have because it's massive and not pleasant to work on when something goes wrong with it.

I was reading on some other sites they were using hot water tanks rather then boilers due to the cold water return shocking the system where as the higher end water tanks do a better job. I'm not against boilers, especially now that I am considering baseboards aswell to help out the floor if it get's to cold.

Thanks guys, lot's of good info.
 
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Old 05-01-13, 04:54 AM
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One think to keep in mind is our environment up here (yours a bit more then mine) requires a lot of heat in January and Febuary.
The folks that may be using hot water tanks are probably south of the border and/or over in europe.

A boiler system will take up some space. If I had to guess, my current boiler (excluding oil tank) consumes about the same space (with circulation pumps, etc) as my forced air HVAC system I had at the previous house.

For parts and components, you may find (as I am) that these items are a lot cheaper south of the border. I'm currently looking into importing some items to upgrade my under radiated home (probably going to make the 6 hour drive to the border and pick them up at a holding company). I've done a bit of research and am still looking into more items. If you are going to do a DIY approach on this, send me a PM and I can share the info I have so far (on what I'm looking at). Just keep in mind I'm working with an existing system and not a fresh install.

On a side note, how is the insulation in your home?
Upgrading the unsulation can make a huge impact on the heating costs and reduce the cost of a new system by requiring a smaller unit (heat lose calc will indicate this).
 
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Old 05-01-13, 08:35 AM
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HELP! Radiant floor

@Northern Mike

Yes, it's is going to be hard for me to get the things I need way up here. I am 8 hours from the next city and even that is still remote! I am driving to Ohio next week so I am going to pick up some things I know I will need like valves manifold etc. The main thing for me is actually getting a boiler here. I am not sure if that's a common way of heating here.

On a side note, how is the insulation in your home?
Upgrading the unsulation can make a huge impact on the heating costs and reduce the cost of a new system by requiring a smaller unit (heat lose calc will indicate this).
The insulation in the home is good but I will be replacing some of the exterior wall insulation in the rooms we are redoing. The house is warm, I just want to do away with the forced air because it takes up so much space and well i just don't like it :P.
 
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Old 05-01-13, 10:45 AM
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I did notice when I was looking, that common ball valves and copper piping is about the same price here in Ontario as it is in the US (using Homedepot.com vs homedepot.ca as comparison).
Common tools and specialty items (baseboard rads) are noticeable cheaper in the US.
The high output slantfin baseboards I'm looking at are less then half the cost if purchasing a US brand in the US vs. purchasing a Canadian brand (manufactured in Southern Ontario).
 
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