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Last Minute Staple-Up - Radiantec Question

We are building a new home.  We love the radiant system we have in our current house, but didn't plan for it in the next due to costs and other issues.  Our current system has been great, closed system in concrete, Weil McClain boiler, indirect triangle tube P3 water heater.  It's worked flawlessly for 4 years and operating costs seem to have been good.

At the last second we realized we just couldn't go with a scorched air system in our new home.  Our new home just had the footings poured and we are moving forward.  It wasn't engineered for a gyp or concrete pour upstairs and I don't think I can change that at this point without seriously impacting costs and timelines.  The simplest solution at this point seems to be a staple up system and a zone in the basement slab if I hurry.

Before finding the Wall I was considering a Radiantec system, although I was thinking of a doing a closed loop and using a boiler.  This type of system (closed with boiler) was more familiar to me and to the heating professional I am working with.  I realize now that there isn't much at this point that makes it worthwhile using anything from radiantec as I need PEX with an oxy-barrier.

I have a couple basic questions.  First off, is staple-up in general a workable solution aside from using a Radiantec system?  Our planned home will be fairly compact, a 2-story box,  and fairly well insulated (2x6 with poly-u spray and non-sagging cellulose fill.)

Second if I do use staple up, is there anything inherently wrong with Radiatec lighter gauge aluminum plates.  They seem a reasonable idea if their claims of %6 less efficiency at 1/4th the cost of higher gauge plates is even close to being true.

Thanks for any input any one has.  Forgive me for putting radiantec in the subject, I'll admit to using it to get attention from all of the hardcore radiant participants on the board. ;)


  • EricAune
    EricAune Member Posts: 432

    Properly designed staple-up systems are very viable and most likely would be a great addition to your new home.  Proper design criteria must be met for the system to operate as efficiently as possible.  Tubing, plates and insulation are the major components, none of which do you want to select without comparing quality of more than one brand.  A couple hundred dollars now often saves thousands later if the installing contractor doesn't design the system properly. 

    Check the find a pro section at the top of the page, get someone out to look at the plans.  Even if you are planning to do it yourself or have another contractor it will benefit to have an experienced radiant guy to give some recommendations.

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  • NRT_Rob
    NRT_Rob Member Posts: 1,013
    edited November 2009
    staple up can work

    but lightweight plates are not in the same league as heavyweights. They may have tried to test it. In good faith, they may even be reporting what they think is the truth. But I think they are pretty clearly wrong, based on the collective experience of our industry over the last ten years. The difference, in the field, has not proven to be "close" as far as we can tell at all.Their commentary on how pipe size had almost nothing to do with the increase of output going from 1/2" naked to 5/8" plates (on their plate discussion page) I found amusing, since for 30 years they have been pushing huge pipe claiming it had "double" the output. apparently "double" isn't much. and in their defense, "huge" dropped from 7/8" to 5/8" not too long after they started doing some installs themselves... maybe in another 30 years they will join all the rest of us with 1/2" or 3/8" pipe!In short: they are certainly not scientists. I would not accept any "testing" they have done as rigorous. And in the case of lightweight plates vs extruded plates, I think they are in left field. Deep left field.
    Rob Brown
    Designer for Rockport Mechanical
    in beautiful Rockport Maine.
  • HomeEnthusiast
    HomeEnthusiast Member Posts: 2
    edited November 2009
    batts vs direct PU foam

    Thanks guys, this is good info.  I think I will continue to consider staple up as an option at least.  I've been reading through the Onix installation manual that MA pointed out in another thread/forum.

    They seem big on the 'air-space' and insulation and not using the aluminum plates.  How important is that airspace.  What I am really wondering is if it would be bad to use poly-urethane foam insulation directly on the staple up.  I think it would work ok as long as you had the aluminum spreaders.

    Regardless, I am realizing that our new place has a much higher percentage of carpeted floorspace.  Perhaps I should save the staple-up for the tiled areas and do panel radiators throughout the rest of the house.  The Veha stuff looks like the price might be right.  Got to read more on that.

    Thanks all.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    Staple Up

    Nice to see  that you as a homeowner are doing your homework. My best advice is to stay away internet based radiant companies. Find a few plumbing and heating supply houses in your community and take a look at the radiant lines they carry. Do your homework on those lines. Ask for recommendations from those supply houses for contractors that install the lines they represent

    Joist Heating with plates works great. Most water temps needed at design in this application depending on finished floor surfaces are generally below 120 degree water when using extruded alum plates not the plates that you spoke about in your previous post. The plates in your previous post were widely used back in the late 80's and early 90's. You need a higher water temp and must have that 2" air gap. The air gap is very important as you are creating a convection oven in the bay then transferring the heat generated in the over through the floor. Yes these types of plates are less expensive but weigh the disadvantages. Slower floor response time, unevenly heat floors and noise. These types of plates tend to tick, tick, tick.

    I think you are on the right track. Radiant in the areas without carpet and panel rads in the areas with. The Panel rads will work real well and I think a great choice. 

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    CIECO Member Posts: 1
    staple up system

    I just finished a staple up system at my son's house and I used C track that worked out very well for a amature and the fact that the plate openings are on the inside make the install of the tubing a breeze.
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