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Dunqan
What are the key items I should get for a Radiant Heat system remodel?
Dunqan

My wife and I are going to move into our first home here in New England and the floors are pretty worn so we're going to fully replace them with new wood flooring (quarter and rift sawn so it can work with radiant heating).

There is currently radiant heating in the kitchen and breakfast room and a 250k Btu boiler from a 2001 renovation. There is also a forced air heating system.

I'm looking to add a radiant heating system to about 1,500 sq. ft. of the downstairs and upstairs bedroom areas (~750 sq. ft. each floor). The problem is that the quotes I'm getting are coming in much more expensive vs. what I was initially thinking so I'm trying to get smart about what matters most and what matters least about a potential system. So I'd love to hear whatever advice people may have.

Current quotes are ~$15 to $25/sq. ft or $20,000 to $40,000 - but they were sight unseen so they probably have lots of headroom so there wouldn't be surprises.

Some questions:

How many zones should I plan on having? It would seem that we'd basically just need 2 zones (upstairs and downstairs) because I imagine I'd just turn it on during the Winter and use the forced air heat to mitigate the ups and downs of temperatures.

Do I need an outside monitor that will automatically raise the temp when it's cold and floor temperature monitors?

Should I do the hallways in addition to the bedrooms or will it not really matter in the end?

It seems that most installers are using the Quik Trak system - any issues to watch out for with these systems? Benefits?

Anything I'd want to set up on the 2nd floor that would make the system "better" - like a separate manifold, etc.?

How much should I expect to "save" since I already have a boiler that should support the system (i.e. if they're quoting $40k, but adding a boiler is ~$7-8k fully installed then maybe the right number should be less)?

Will any "options" really save me money in the end or should I just keep shopping for a reputable installer who has lower prices?

Thank for any help - I'd also love to hear anyone's experiences with radiant heat to help me understand if it's worth the $20k+ we may spend.

dodsworth
Re: What are the key items I should get for a Radiant Heat system remodel?
dodsworth

Welcome to New England!----is the house in the northern part of New England or the Southern???---the northern part gets much, much colder---do you have natural gas available???

With the existing boiler (which is quite large & seems perhaps too big) you have it would be much less expensive to extend the existing HW standard convectors such as the HW baseboard convectors, cast iron or stainless steel radiators into those rooms that need any additional heat-------these can easily be zoned as well as radiant & will provide much more heating punch during those cold New England nites when the temp dips down to zero.

I don't know why they also installed a forced air heating system---the house & the rooms must have been too cold with the existing inadequately-built hydronic set-up; is the forced hot air system merely a heat-exchanger running off the existing hw boiler???

What is the total house sq footage that has to be heated????---figure roughly 30-40 btu/sq ft. for the total sq footage of the house, depending on the existing condition of the windows & level of insulation inside the exterior walls.

I don't like outside monitors (outdoor reset) as they take away comfort preference control from the occupants who have to maintain the option of turning the t-stat heat up or down according to their comfort preferences.

Personally, I've lived in New England for more decades than I'd care to remember, we love our hw heat up here, I have always had hw heat with baseboard & cast iron rads & wouldn't change it for the world----very comfortable, very reliable, trouble-free, keeps all parts of the house nice & warm, zones are good, quiet---I love it.

I'm sure that if a radiant install is done properly, it would save $$$ on heating bills in the long run, but IMHO it just costs too much for the initial install to recoup the savings.

Also touch base with:

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/boilers-home-heating-steam-hot-water-systems-128/
http://forum.heatinghelp.com/
http://www.caleffi.com/sites/default/files/coll_attach_file/idronics_12.pdf

The "do it yourself" site includes radiant heat topics; on the 2nd forum, click onto "The Wall" or select "radiant" or "hydronic" (hot water systems); the caleffi site is listed solely for its illustrations of hot water/radiant systems & is not an endorsement of its products.

bill
Re: What are the key items I should get for a Radiant Heat system remodel?
bill

I like radiant inflooring heating in the kitchen and the bath room because of the tile floors. I like radiant in flooring heating in the basement because heat rise and cold drops so the floor is always cold in most systems but with radiant heat that is reversed and you actually use less energy and are more comfortable. That being said I like forced air for the rest of the house because you can filter the air, humidify the air and air condition the air. you should know that infloor radiant heating is the Cadillac of heating systems so expect to pay accordingly.

I really like
http://www.uponor.ca/Residential-Radiant-Floor-Heating.aspx.

I took a course with them and they refused to sell to anybody that has not taken there course and they guarantee the installation for 25 years.

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