Radiant Floor Heating Anyone?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Salmonberry, Mar 30, 2006.

  1. Salmonberry

    Salmonberry Registered Nut

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    Does anyone know whether radiant floor heating can function with a closed water system (ie not hooked to well water). We are thinking about putting a system in my husbands new shop, but it does not have well access. Thought maybe the heater could circulate water within a closed loop system.
    :help: :help:
    Is this technology really any more efficient than an oil burning (ie Toyo stove)? It seems that every one is really up for this new technology and that makes it difficult to get the facts from within the ads.

    Salmonberry
     
  2. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm confused - what new technology are you refering to? What is your heat source going to be - where will it be located, & where will it get it's water? Will it be an open or closed system?

    Then the tubes can match the heating system. You want the special tubes with the coating to prevent air (O2) passing through - as closed systems turn black-water & don't corrode, but you have to keep the O2 out & the simpler tubing is porus to O2.

    Most outdoor heaters are a simple open system, better indoor type heaters are closed (lightly pressurized) systems. Think you will do best to match up your heater type?

    --->Paul
     

  3. Richard6br

    Richard6br Well-Known Member

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    I might be wrong, but it sounds like geothermal to me.
     
  4. Salmonberry

    Salmonberry Registered Nut

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    Paul,

    I guess the whole "radiant floor heating" thing is what I mean about "new." If it isn't new, its new to me. The heat source would be an oil fired heater, "Quietside" is a brand that had been recommended. It will be located in the shop/shed. My question is: can the system be a closed system in that it is not connected to running water? Is there a way to fill the system once and have it circulate? We will not need hot water in the shop/shed, but will have a slab on grade floor. It all seems pretty complicated for just a shop (blasphemy). :angel: :angel: :angel:

    Salmonberry
     
  5. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Radiant floor heating is at least 30 years old.

    Some systems use system water and some use a closed cycle with anti-freeze to keep it clean. Pex is cheap and nearly freeze proof. It would be easy to run a line from the house to the workshop. I bought a 500 foot roll for $100 including shipping on Ebay.

    There are many good web sites. Many come from installers and have different amounts of information. Some are more geared to do-it-yourselfers. Here are a few:

    http://www.radiantcompany.com/
    http://www.houseneeds.com/index.htm
    http://www.bio-radiant.com/
     
  6. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, most radiant heating systems are closed loops and are not geothermal. They use a small efficient boiler or even a water heater to heat the water that is circulated through the tubing in the floor. Makes a more even heat, that warms you from the bottom up. Usually more comfortable and less fuel for the same comfort level. Can use any source of fuel, solar, wood, corn, LP natural gas, electric, etc., depending on the boiler you decide to go with. Lots of info on the internet, maybe google "radiant heat".
     
  7. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I guess it's been around a while for outbuildings around here. Many are hooked up to an outdoor wood burner or corn stove.

    'More efficient' - that depends on what you are looking for. In a big tall shop with overhead doors, you can keep the heat a bit lower & it still feels real comfortabe - heating the slab, rather than blowing hot air around & the floor always feels cold anyhow. The recovery rate of openning that big door is much better, with the stored heat in the floor. And so on. In the end tho, a BTU of heat is a BTU, efficiency is up to the type of heater you choose.

    --->Paul
     
  8. painterswife

    painterswife Sock puppet reinstated Supporter

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    Read the solar heating section on this website. It will be a good starting point.

    http://www.arttec.net
     
  9. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    You do not need to connect it to a well or municipal system. However, you must add other things to your system to make sure water is in the pipes and boiler.

    In cold climates, when the possibility of freezing and heater failure is present, anti freeze mixture is a good idea.

    You need to have an elevated tank with fluid in it. When the level on the tank drops too much, then you need to shut off the heat source. You could put in sensors or level control which would shut off the boiler and system if the level got too low.

    If there is a leak in the system, and it is NOT connected to a WATER supply, then keeping the level of water-anti-freeze mixture correct is easier. So in one way, with anti freeze mixture as the fluid, it is better to NOT have a direct connected pressure water supply. Since, when the system leaks, with a pressurized water supply, then the ratio of water to anti freeze will be changed (diluted) and it is difficult to recover the previous ratio.

    Is that too much information?

    Alex
     
  10. tallpines

    tallpines Well-Known Member

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    We love our radient floor heat.
    We have an outside wood furnace that heats the water and then it is pumped through the house.

    When the house gets warm the thermostat shuts off the pump---------
    BUT--------the wood furnace continues to heat that water---------in this case, on occasion, some of the excess water will boil over or lose lots of steam.

    Naturally this decreases the overall water level and it needs to be replaced.

    If your furnace is not directly hooked up to a water source, you can refill it with a hose hooked up to a nearby water source.

    For our system set-up---------yes, we need to have a nearby source of water-------for that 3 or 4 times a year when it needs to be topped off.

    There have been several other discussions about radient heat on this forum.
    Maybe a "search" will lead you to them
     
  11. Justaplain

    Justaplain Well-Known Member

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  12. Salmonberry

    Salmonberry Registered Nut

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    Thank you everybody for the great information. Maybe a closed system with anti-freeze would work for the shop.

    Could we get away with intermittently heating the space or would we have to have the space heated 24/7?

    Salmonberry
     
  13. ericjeeper

    ericjeeper Well-Known Member

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    You will need to have a heatloass analysis done. You need to know how many BTUs it will take to heat the space..
    for example.. my 3200 square foot well insulated home requires 27,000 btus to heat it on design day.. I have tubing spaced 12 inches on centers, using 15 seperate loops. You should never use a run of half inch over 250 feet in length.
    If you use flow valves, all lengths do not be to be the same.,. Other wise the short loops will get all the water as it is the path of least resistance.
    I heat my water using a oil fired hot water heater. it is pumped through a heat exchanger.then my tubing loops are filled with an antifreeze mixture to prevent a freeze up near the garage overhead doors. I have had the system for 1.5 years second winter in it.. Love it.. would never have forced air again.
    Now back to the design.. if your building is loosely insulated has a lot of windows and poorly insulated overhead doors.. you might need to run your OB pex at closer centers,
    If you want a faster build up of heat, pour the slab on 2 inches of styrofoam . My house has only eight foot around the perimeter, and uses a compacted crushed limestone fill to serve as a heat storage bank. a great heating help site. www.heatinghelp.com go to the "wall"
     
  14. Salmonberry

    Salmonberry Registered Nut

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    Thanks for the link and the info. Fairly well insulated and not many windows for the space. We have a local Heating/Plumbing place that we were referred to. We'll check with them this week. ;)

    Salmonberry