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Hydranic Heating- Using a water heater

Greetings, I want to find out a couple of things. I live in the central valley of california(it does not get that cold here), my house is around 1200 square feet. I already have a pellet stove and wood stove in different rooms of the house. I was wondering if a hot water heater would provide enough heat for 3-4 wall radiators(one being a towel radiator)? I am not looking to heat the whole house simply take the bite out of the air. I was thinking to make the heating system a closed one(we already have a hot water system). Also is adding anti freeze to the water a good idea? We are out in the country so LP is our form of gas. Also is there a good and detailed book(with plenty of diagrams) on the subject.

Re: Hydranic Heating- Using a water heater

First of all, you should look at house heating as a CENTRAL SYSTEM, capable of heating the whole house, rather than a room at a time.

Given the relatively small area of the house & perhaps a relatively mild climate of Calif., you might be better off with a mini-split AC/Heater that heats & cools, rather than a dedicated centralized heating system.

Heating & cooling a structure are always calculated according to the btu's (british thermal units, heat molecules) that are entering (cooling) or leaving (heating) the structure each hour.

A home the size you have perhaps has a heat loss of approx. 35 to 40,000 btu/hour; this would have to be measured by the heating/cooling tech via a "heat loss calculation" when you call to have come over & give an estimate of the type & price of the equipment to be put in.

The general idea is to heat or cool the entire home using automatic equipment that requires very little, if any, routine maintenance; this will increase comfort & keep the utility costs down; it will also be more appealing to prospective house buyers when it comes time to sell your house.

Aside from a mini-split, another low-cost option is a dedicated hydronic cast iron boiler that has a capacity of 40k to 50k/ btu/hr with 3/4" plastic PEX piping going to radiators (cast iron or stainless steel), or more commonly, fin-tubed copper baseboard.

Consult the Yellow Pages under "Heating Contractors" & call to have several of them come over the house to give their suggestions as to the type of equipment, & price range.

You might consult the public library in your area for books on heating/cooling (HVAC); most libraries generally have 10 to 20 of these books that will give you a good background.

What are the summer heat temps in your area, as well as the winter cold temps???

It could be done

If you planned on using a standard gas water heater you could do it. I don't recommend a water heater as a heating applicance as it is not rated for the job.

You must sign the panel rads utilizing the water temp correction factors for btu output.

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