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Misc questions on radiant
I am back. Some may remember me from this thread.
Well as I posted in the thread we did not get the home which was probably a blessing in disguise. We have decided to instead build. Quite a change. We've recently purchased a wooded lot and are working through design plans with an architect and will be building a ranch house with an exposed basement out the back (north) and west side.
Like most of us we have a budget and we are probably above it without any fancy stuff (custom cabinets, etc). That said we really would like radiant vs forced air and we are trying to make the #s work but have some confusion after talking to some installers that I hope I can get some help with.
Before we went to the home show we met with a local Heating and Cooling shop that was recommended. His suggestion was to do radiant in the basement with forced air/AC for the first floor. His belief was that due to the thermal mass in the basement you will need a smaller Forced Air heating system and can use smaller ducts that we would already be running for AC. When asked about using what type of concrete they would pour in the basement he stated just regular and not Gypcrete. This is not an optimal system but he sees this quite often as somewhat of hybrid system. My biggest concern is that he spoke of using water temps in the 130 range and not having to worry about if you ran it in the first floor and problems with hardwood buckling. From what I've read on here this is old American thinking and not Euro thinking where one would use water at around (80deg?) under hardwoods. This made me think this hybrid system would be the opposite of efficient with higher upfront costs than forced air but using forced air and getting no benefit of radiant on the first floor. We will not be finishing the basement.
At the home show we found a guy who does radiant (almost exclusively) and he recommended using gypcrete in the basement and first floor. He gave us a rough idea of cost, which we are using to try make fit into our budget. Our biggest concern here is the gypcrete on the first floor and will that require extra supports beyond what he gave us as a ballpark. Is this preferred over a warmboard type system from a radiant system? We really liked him as had a passion, spoke about using Rehau and using a certain type of Pex (pex-al?) (Its red) vs standard pex that is cheaper but can breakdown. He is a member of RPA and when I mentioned this website, he laughed and called you all a bunch of hippies. ;) I wonder if he overengineers systems. Thoughts?
Lastly, we were walking by and saw a Geothermal guy who the radiant guy said to see. (We can't afford geothermal). As we talked to this guy, he saw that we had been talking to his friend and we told him that the frustrating part was that we will need a forced air AC system even if we do the full radiant for heat. He told me that isn't the case anymore. He was telling me that for the cost of geothermal that they could design the system to radiant cool the house (assume using the same pipes) in the summer with some simple add on equipment from Tekmar (tekmar 406 or 408?). Is this true? If so can I skip the Geo?