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How would you heat?

Brad White_9Brad White_9 Posts: 2,440Member
I think you see exactly what I mean, David. At first I didn't know but then re-read your post more carefully.

By dial-in, you do understand, I am refering to a thermostat with a companion or integral modem which you access by telephone, to set up the temperature ahead of your arrival.

In lieu of over-sizing the boiler, I prefer to proportionately over-sized the radiation. And with a properly designed boiler you control temperature by the only other variable you have: Time. Bingo!

Comments

  • Adam_3Adam_3 Posts: 403Member
    How would you heat?

    We are building a new Pennsylvania vacation home for an existing client used during summer mostly and a handful of times in the winter on weekends. When not in use in the winter, heat will be off completely and we are pitching all domestic water pipes to drain easily. Would love to go mod/con with antifreeze and radiant. What are longterm effects/maintenance? Any better ideas? Home will be two floors over 4' crawlspace. Central A/C will be installed regardless.

    Thanks in advance, Adam
  • Brad White_76Brad White_76 Posts: 4Member
    Anti-Freeze

    has a tendency to break down over time and with higher temperatures, becoming acidic. ModCons at least diminish the temperature effects if properly sized. Basically though, annual pH checks and concentration checks are necessary.

    The concentration cannot be too rich or there will be surface boil-off (groaning and wailing) where the fluid meets the boiler heat exchanger opposite the flame. Be precise in your concentration for the expected outdoor temperatures. You may consider selecting the concentration for burst protection (less glycol than freeze protection) but you will not easily start the system from a slushy situation. You will be banking on a warmer winter day you see.

    I assume you have gas or propane available? Might I suggest you go with radiant or panel radiators via a mod-con but have one or two space heaters such as a Rinnai or Monitor as a base level of heat. This is to allow a lower concentration of glycol and get you a leg-up on recovery of temperature.

    Keep any radiant either low-mass for quick recovery or have a dial-in thermostat to set the temperature up in advance of a weekend. Radiant panels would actually be my first choice for faster recovery.

    Other thoughts: For occassional use in a vacation home, dare I say it, force hot air has nothing in it to freeze. Just do it right and distribute it well, with well-sealed ductwork.

    One pipe steam has a certain appeal too. Aside from the burner it does not need electricity; no circulator and it all drains back to the boiler which can be in a space-heater warmed area or be low-limit fired to forstall freezing.
  • Steamhead (in transit)Steamhead (in transit) Posts: 6,688Member
    Or

    a two-pipe, orificed Vapor steam system would have the same advantages Brad mentioned. Plus, you can use cast-iron or fin-tube baseboard with this type of system, whereas one-pipe is pretty much limited to cast-iron or wall-hung steel radiators.

    The orificed system also has the advantage of having a lot fewer moving parts than anything else out there.

    And, any form of steam has the advantage of relatively quick response that radiant lacks. But to use steam you would need to put the boiler in a pit or partial excavation- a 4-foot crawlspace won't do.

    I wouldn't use a ducted system here, for heating or cooling. Since the ducts would sit unused for long periods, they would accumulate mold and other nasty things in them. Mini-splits would appear to be the best cooling bet.

    What part of PA will this be in?

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  • hrhr Posts: 6,106Member
    Some sort of hydronic

    radiant or panel radiators. Mod con with intergral HX for DHW, 35% propylenre glycol. And mini splits for AC if needed and backup heat if you use the heat pump version mini split.

    hot rod

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  • Guy_6Guy_6 Posts: 450Member
    I'll say it

    I know that it is nearly blasphemous to say it here, but I am going to anyway:
    Scorched air does have it's place, and I think that you have found it. It will heat quickly when they arrive and shut down completely with the flick of a switch. For the few times that they are apparently going to use it, they can put up with the negative aspects.
    My apologies to the hydronics people here- I am one myself. Having said that, I am going to find a boiler and bow down to the Hydronic Gods......
  • Brad White_9Brad White_9 Posts: 2,440Member
    I take respectful exception

    to dismissing FHA in this case. Used or not the accumulation of "whatever" in the ductwork will still occur. If unused, I would submit that the through-put of air is much less hence less mass flow of material to be deposited when it sits idle.

    As for mold, that is a function of what moisture is in there to support it. Not saying it will or will not happen, just not more likely than any other FHA system (of which there are far too many of course! :) .

    And there will be an AC system too, so for that matter, my concerns about moisture would be amplified there if also a ducted system, not so much in FHA mode.

    My $0.02,

    Brad
  • jackchips_2jackchips_2 Posts: 1,338Member
    That was

    worth at least a nickle, Brad.

    Well said.

    Jack
  • Steamhead (in transit)Steamhead (in transit) Posts: 6,688Member
    The idea

    is that if ducts are used mostly for A/C, run during the summer allowing moisture to collect in them (dehumidifying ability of A/C system notwithstanding) and then "put away wet" as it were, when the house is closed up for the winter- you have a perfect breeding ground for mold. Since the typical A/C system is oversized, its dehumidifying ability might be less than expected, which would aggravate the problem.

    We've all seen photos of "sick ducts". Here's one that someone posted here on the Wall a while back, can't remember who though. This was one of many reasons the Dead Men moved from scorched-air to hot-water, steam and Vapor.

    Why take the chance?

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  • Jerry_15Jerry_15 Posts: 379Member
    Instant gratification

    There is another option. I have combined systems using hydronic fan convectors in the wall, in toe kick under cabinets, and for good measure, heated towel racks. All run in pex, (and usually only 3/8 to a central manifold), fast response, two speed fan (and off), built into the units. Instant heat, off a wall hung Rinnai or takagi. Heresy I know. Works real good. Get fancy and put in a Viessman wall combi, or something similar, and you got it all in a tight package. Easy and inexpensive install, and I would say perf for a vacation home. Good luck.
  • jackchips_2jackchips_2 Posts: 1,338Member
    If we

    all based our decisions on worse case scenarios where would we be?

    There is a place for most every system and they all must be maintained properly or we have what you just posted, Frank.

    Jack
  • Boilerpro_5Boilerpro_5 Posts: 407Member
    I'm with Guy on this one

    this is where forced air shines.....where operating cost is not an issue, comfort is not an issue, and life is not an issue. Not much sense in spending for a better system when it is almost never used.

    If they are ever remotely thinking of spending more time at this place in the winter, orifice steam would be a good choice with a simple millivolt atmospheric gas boiler.

    Boilerpro

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  • Steamhead (in transit)Steamhead (in transit) Posts: 6,688Member
    But

    how many people actually have their ducts cleaned? Judging by the blocked air filters we all see, I'd say not many. This stuff is likely more common than we think.

    The anticipated pattern of use this house will get is too likely to cause a mold situation and an outbreak of lawyers. I don't think it's a risk worth taking.

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  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,963Member


    I hate to agree but this job is crying for forced air.

    Lets face it, like any other system it's ok when done right.


    Ed
  • GaryDidierGaryDidier Posts: 229Member
    Heat system choice

    My 2 cents Vacation homes that are shut down for long periods in cold weather develope high humidity and will develope mold. Dirt, internally in duct work is a perfect breeding ground for all kind of nasties.

    You show up turn on the hot air heat and what is that wierd smell? Oh its just the cooked remains of whatever was brewing inside that duct work, now blowing in your face. After another 10 minutes what is that really really bad smell? Its the remains of a dead mouse and the accompanying waste products they produce.

    You see that the duct work also provides a perfect hidden pathway for little critters. Believe me when I tell you no duct cleaning will remove that smell!!!

    My take on this is good quality windows and doors along with superior insulation. Install a good hot water system with antifreeze and keep the house minimally heated when not in use. Also make provisions so the domestic water system can be turned off and drained easily. This way you wont worry about a freeze up if power fails.

    The house will stay fresher, cleaner and will have better resale value. I speak from experience as I open and close many seasonal and vacation homes.

    Gary from Granville
  • Jerry_15Jerry_15 Posts: 379Member


    Check instant gratification line below. Cheap, easy, no ducting, what else do you want?
  • RonLRonL Posts: 13Member
    Vacation Home

    Vacation home used occasionally in the winter? Why not electric baseboard and a nice woodstove?
    On the hydronic side you're worrying about freeze up and corrosion. On the FHA side you're worrying about mold buildup from little use. Much as you want to put in a system, for this situation it might be the best option.
  • what if

    What if u don't have electric? I go to my friend's cabin way up in northeast minnesota.. Hand water pump outside, no indoor water closet, shower inside with 5 gals bucket above you, use propane tank to heat water and stove top cooking only.. Mice got ahold of everthing along with their droppings... Oh yeah, if u get cold, start chopping firewoods, after chopping... Your're warmed up by then... One of the rules there, whomever get up for any reason during the nite, throw some woods in the wood stove... Cabin on 40 acres of private land in middle of superoir natonal forest... Priceless...
  • D107D107 Posts: 1,539Member


    > has a tendency to break down over time and with

    > higher temperatures, becoming acidic. ModCons at

    > least diminish the temperature effects if

    > properly sized. Basically though, annual pH

    > checks and concentration checks are necessary.

    > The concentration cannot be too rich or there

    > will be surface boil-off (groaning and wailing)

    > where the fluid meets the boiler heat exchanger

    > opposite the flame. Be precise in your

    > concentration for the expected outdoor

    > temperatures. You may consider selecting the

    > concentration for burst protection (less glycol

    > than freeze protection) but you will not easily

    > start the system from a slushy situation. You

    > will be banking on a warmer winter day you

    > see.

    >

    > I assume you have gas or propane

    > available? Might I suggest you go with radiant or

    > panel radiators via a mod-con but have one or two

    > space heaters such as a Rinnai or Monitor as a

    > base level of heat. This is to allow a lower

    > concentration of glycol and get you a leg-up on

    > recovery of temperature.

    >

    > Keep any radiant

    > either low-mass for quick recovery or have a

    > dial-in thermostat to set the temperature up in

    > advance of a weekend. Radiant panels would

    > actually be my first choice for faster

    > recovery.

    >

    > Other thoughts: For occassional use

    > in a vacation home, dare I say it, force hot air

    > has nothing in it to freeze. Just do it right and

    > distribute it well, with well-sealed

    > ductwork.

    >

    > One pipe steam has a certain appeal

    > too. Aside from the burner it does not need

    > electricity; no circulator and it all drains back

    > to the boiler which can be in a space-heater

    > warmed area or be low-limit fired to forstall

    > freezing.



    Keep any radiant either low-mass for quick recovery or have a dial-in thermostat to set the temperature up in advance of a weekend. Radiant panels would actually be my first choice for faster recovery.
  • D107D107 Posts: 1,539Member


    > has a tendency to break down over time and with

    > higher temperatures, becoming acidic. ModCons at

    > least diminish the temperature effects if

    > properly sized. Basically though, annual pH

    > checks and concentration checks are necessary.

    > The concentration cannot be too rich or there

    > will be surface boil-off (groaning and wailing)

    > where the fluid meets the boiler heat exchanger

    > opposite the flame. Be precise in your

    > concentration for the expected outdoor

    > temperatures. You may consider selecting the

    > concentration for burst protection (less glycol

    > than freeze protection) but you will not easily

    > start the system from a slushy situation. You

    > will be banking on a warmer winter day you

    > see.

    >

    > I assume you have gas or propane

    > available? Might I suggest you go with radiant or

    > panel radiators via a mod-con but have one or two

    > space heaters such as a Rinnai or Monitor as a

    > base level of heat. This is to allow a lower

    > concentration of glycol and get you a leg-up on

    > recovery of temperature.

    >

    > Keep any radiant

    > either low-mass for quick recovery or have a

    > dial-in thermostat to set the temperature up in

    > advance of a weekend. Radiant panels would

    > actually be my first choice for faster

    > recovery.

    >

    > Other thoughts: For occassional use

    > in a vacation home, dare I say it, force hot air

    > has nothing in it to freeze. Just do it right and

    > distribute it well, with well-sealed

    > ductwork.

    >

    > One pipe steam has a certain appeal

    > too. Aside from the burner it does not need

    > electricity; no circulator and it all drains back

    > to the boiler which can be in a space-heater

    > warmed area or be low-limit fired to forstall

    > freezing.



    Keep any radiant either low-mass for quick recovery or have a dial-in thermostat to set the temperature up in advance of a weekend. Radiant panels would actually be my first choice for faster recovery.
  • D107D107 Posts: 1,539Member
    dial in thermostat

    "Keep any radiant either low-mass for quick recovery or have a dial-in thermostat to set the temperature up in advance of a weekend. Radiant panels would actually be my first choice for faster recovery."

    Isn't the dial-in thermostat far superior to sizing a larger boiler for quicker setback recovery for homes that are left for weeks or months at a time? Boiler oversizing--not suggested in this thread but often mentioned in heat-calc literature--as I understand it brings its own set of negatives. Dial-in seems so much easier.

    David
  • D107D107 Posts: 1,539Member
    yes, and

    adam may hear--as I have heard--advice from non-wallie contractors as he goes forward--to take into heat-calc consideration the need for a quick pickup for either long absences or even a fairly large nightly setback. But I know that dial-in thermostats have been around for at least ten years. Don't know how much they cost, but probably a fraction of what extra heating costs could be with an oversized boiler.
  • D107D107 Posts: 1,539Member
    yes and

    I'd guess that Adam will hear as he goes forward--as I've heard--from non-wallie advisors--to take into heat-calc consideration the need for a quick pickup for long absences or even a large nightly setback. I'm sure that dial-in thermostats have been around for quite a long time and probably cost less than the fuel wasted by oversized boilers.

    David
  • Jed_2Jed_2 Posts: 781Member
    Depending on

    the architechural design of the this "Summer" home, with occasional Winter usage, It makes too much sense to think about a Monitor(not an MZ) or two, and Tri-Zone Mini-Splits. Why bother with duct work and hydronics in this scenario. Don't ask for service problems. Monitor DV wall mounted furnaces(K1) can be very comfortable heat sources. And Tri-Zone's ELIMINTATE duct issues. It depends on the floor plan, but can't that be designed into it at this stage?

    Jed
  • Adam_3Adam_3 Posts: 403Member
    Thanks!

    Thanks all for the great responses. I should add for what it's worth, that the home will have the capability to be heated up in advance using a Sensaphone unit (dial in and turn heat on).
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