Earthen Floor w/ Radiant Heat?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Sparticle, Dec 25, 2005.

  1. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Anyone here have any experience with Earthen floors and Radiant Heating? Anythign to watch out for? Any advice.
     
  2. Oh my! I got up out of bed to come here and ask an almost similar question and then I find this post right at the top! :shrug: Now I'm not sure if I should post my question as a different thread or ask it here. I was lying in bed thinking about putting a electric portable heater under the floor of my house in the floor crawl space. Right now I heat with woodstove only and it gets so cold in the back bedrooms. So I'm thinking why couldn't I place a portable heater in the floor space and rig it up to a thermostat located in the bedroom hallways. This should heat the whole flooring up making it feel much, much warmer everywhere in the house. I just don't know how safe it would be having a portable heater underneath the house.
     

  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    rh, you might be better off insulating under the floor. There is also a radiant heat that can be installed under the flooring with wood floors. I'd be afraid of fire with a portable heater under the floor.

    quntmphscs I've read about that and it seems like a neat idea. Course now I'm in TX I don't need as much heat as when I was in CO. Still want the adobe floors tho.
     
  4. cindyc

    cindyc Well-Known Member

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    The architect that we are working with in building our bale house recomeneded that, so I guess it must be structurally sound, but that is all I know.
    I think, when we went to his personal reseidence, which was an old tool shelter that he is retrofitting (post and beam, ceiling, no walls), he had put radiant heat under concrete floors, though.

    His earth and lime plaster walls were BEAUTIFUL! It is amazing how much color you can get in that.

    Cindy
     
  5. fernando

    fernando Well-Known Member

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    If I recall correctly, earth floors must be thoroughly tamped. If true, the radiant tubing should then be more stucturally stout than what is needed for a concrete floor. Not an idea eliminator, just something to keep in mind.
     
  6. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    I've been looking for similar type systems, but for cooling, not heating. All of the sites that I've found good articles on (http://www.potkettleblack.com/natbild/ has articles and tons of pics) deal exclusively with radiant heating. I'd like to pump cold water from the bottom of my lake, through the walls or floors, all using only excess solar panel production power.

    I would also love a first hand account, as well as a cost/benefit analysis. Every project I've seen requires a complex pumping/furnace arrangement, as well as hundreds upon hundreds of feet of PEX tubing. I've bought a few feet of el cheapo PEX clone material for repair jobs, and it's very expensive. Estimates for the jobs I've seen done were in the multiple thousand$, and this was just for installation and materials. This Old House had an episode where they were laying it under a standard floor, and it was over 10K... Operating costs? Be nice if one could operate on a solar hot water type system, and not requiring an ac pump/furnace.

    Good luck.
     
  7. fernando

    fernando Well-Known Member

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    Texican, I've considered the same cooling project using well water. Have you determined if a cold slab will introduce condensation sweat ?
     
  8. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't think that in-floor hot water radiant heat is expensive. Tubing is $.30 to .40 per foot and you need about a linear foot of tubing per square foot of floor. Then a pump and fittings, a probably $100 to $500 depending on your do-it-yourself skills. It could get expensive if you hire everything done at the prevailing wage rate for a plumber, but what are you doing here at Homesteading Today if that is the case <G>?

    I put the tubing in my garage floor and green house/sunroom floor, and will install it in the poleshed shop floor when we do it next summer. The tubing cost was only a few hundred dollars per area, and my pumps were around $100 or so, except for the free ones that came with the free solar panels that I will use to heat the water for the floor.

    My son works for a fellow building straw bale homes, and they almost always use radiant heat with solar and wood. They do a lot of clay plaster walls and earth floors. He just left this morning for a week of working across the state, so I can't ask him any details for a few days.
     
  9. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I subscribed to this thread but was never notified that there were new posts. Thought I'd go check the post the regular way and there were posts! Hmmmm. anyway, thanks for the input. I've send PM's to a few of you here with more questions. I hope my house sells soon so I can get the heck out and start over.

    Anyway, on another note, yesterday was my last day for a while at the other job. 75 hours a week was killing me and it was getting impossible to get out of bed in the morning. I kept telling the boss that she needed to cut my hours back and she had me scheduled to close the store every night this week. Ok, that's enough. So I worked yesterday and today and that's it for a while. I knew it was bad when I was laying in bed at night with my eyes closed and I am NOT kidding, all I could see were tools. I may get fired, but everyone has their breaking point. The management there just kept pushing and pushing me. I was on my feet all night every night and every weekend. My legs and back are killing me. Then last night one of the other "associates" stole some things out of my purse. I've just had it.

    Ok, more later....