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hydronic heat system

Hi - We're seriously considering installing hydronic / radiant floor heat in our older home (~100yrs old, ~2,000 sq feet, located in northern Ohio)) this summer for next winter. First floor is easy, as the joists are exposed and we can run the pex under the floor. The long term plan will be to put solar panels on the side of our house to heat the water (we have plenty of room as we live in the country).

The question we have is what type of water heater would work best? One company that sells hydronic systems markets American Water Heater's Polaris, a 50 gal. gas tank, input BTU between 150,000 - 199,000 btu/hr, and a GPH recovery 90' rise of about 200 - total cost for this heater is over $3,000! Where as A. O. Smith has the ProMax SL system for recirculating hot water loop systems - with tanks up to 74 gallons. However, their input BTU is about 75,100 and recovery at 90' rise is about 81 gallons.

Is the Polaris overkill? Does anyone have a hydronic system out there, and what size tank do you use?

- Melissa

Re: hydronic heat system


One of my catalogs (re michel) lists a Superstor Voyager (Heat Transfer Products) SSV130-45 for $2200 (contractor/trade price):

45 gal tank capacity; NG/Propane; 130k input 157 gph recovery @90'.

Many heating supply shops will sell their products at trade to all now---you have to check around--especially in the big cities.

Consult the Yellow Pages under "heating equipment & supplies".

Polaris has always been pricey.

Have you Googled the radiant heat forums--they are a good resource.

Also Mother Earth News.

Perhaps others will chime in here.

Another option: you can get a gas-fired 150k btu input boiler at HD/Lowe's or some wholesalers in your area for $1600 that will take an indirect HWH ($700)---excellent efficiency---instead of a $3.5k WH.

Cast iron boilers are a lot tougher than any water heater & will hold up a lot longer without breakdowns & have the same 83% effiency as the Polaris or Voyager.

The solar panels can be used to run part or all of the electric appliances.


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