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i have 500 sf house to heat. i was told that i can run a radiant floor hot water heat system off a hot water heater with a circulating pump. anybody have any experience with that? what size hot water heater?
That isn't a question that can be answered without more information. What you need is a heating contractor to do a heat loss on the home. That will determine the size unit you will need to use and how many feet of tubing will be required in each room.
You can also make a research about different solar water heating systems. They are a bit more expensive than the other versions, but this is a great alternative for a home like yours.