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Changing over to radiant, need guidance please...

AlexS
AlexS Member Posts: 69
Hi Guys,



Im in the midst of a large remodel on my own house and could use a little guidance on a new mod-con/radiant installation. I currently have forced air which just has to go.



Piping systems are not new to me as Im a union Steamfitter and licensed residential home improvement contractor, but Im lost in the fine details of radiant systems... I've been reading here and all over the web about different brands and setups, and just cant decide what is right for me.



Here's the details: My house is 150 years old and Im gutting the entire first floor.  I can put the new system in the basement, I'd like to use a mod-con, and Im leaning towards something like Climate Panel instead of Warmboard for ease of installation, faster availability, and cost. And it'll keep height down as well... 



I'll have to use a staple up system for the second floor bedrooms but when my house was built, they just installed the 1x6 T&G Pine directly to the joists.. there is no subfloor. I suppose that good for heat transfer though.



I'm going to do a heat loss later today and post up the results. I think Im going with a TT boiler since I see some good feedback on that brand here, I just really need some help with low loss headers, manifolds, and how they all really function as I've never had one in my hands.  Im so lost on how the water really flows and how you get any delta T in a primary loop when the boiler supply and return are supposed to be tied in with "closely spaced tees".



I know I'll have plenty of question on this thread, I hope you can help...



Thanks



Alex
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Comments

  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    lost in the fine details of radiant systems

    I have a mod-con boiler and in-slab radiant in my downstairs zone. I wanted to understand my new system (even before it was designed and installed), so I looked around the web and found the second edition of this book, now in its third edition, extremely helpful. While you may get a little sticker shock, I think you will find the book well worth the initial expense and the time it takes to read and understand it. It is something of an understatement to say that Mr. Siegenthaler knows his stuff. The latest edition has some more modern equipment described than in the second edition.  It is well balanced between theory and practice and the graphics are somewhat better and more colorful. He will not tell you what brand of boiler to get, but he will tell you the underlying ideas so you can make a better decision yourself.



    http://www.heatinghelp.com/products/Books/5/96/Modern-Hydronic-Heating-Third-Edition-br-by-John-Siegenthaler
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    2nd Floor?

    I generally don't do radiant in the bedrooms except for possibly the master. The baths yes. We spend most of our time down in the living space while when in the bedroom we get under the covers and go to sleep. Generally find that utilizing panel rads sized based on the water temps used for the radiant keep the budget in line while still providing radiant heat effect with a mix of convection.



    They can be piped 3/8" pex direct using a radiant manifold. Also gives you some control via the thermostatic mixing valve if somone likes one room warmer then the other. Just a thought and maybe something that should be looked at as an option.

    As for boiler. Yes the TT is a nice boiler but is limits you to having to use other controls if multiple water temps are needed. You may find that Viessmann or Lochinvar provide better controls.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • AlexS
    AlexS Member Posts: 69
    Changing over to radiant, need guidance please...

    thanks to both of you...



    Im short on wall space already, so Im not sure about the panel radiators..  How well does baseboard work with a condensing boiler?  I had thought about baseboard emitters at one point, but at $9 ln/ft, it's probably close to the same cost as running pex under the floor.  Plus, the rooms are rather small, so there would be a bit of furniture blocking the baseboard.
  • NRT_Rob
    NRT_Rob Member Posts: 1,013
    I have no idea

    why you would skip the bedrooms.



    if you are doing low temp and need to cut the cost back though, radiant ceiling can be cheap if the ceiling is flat and drywall is not up.



    a lot depends on heat loads and water temp requirements. I would vastly prefer to stick with a single temperature system, which eliminates mixing and allows the mod/con to run much more efficiently (lower temp and lower likelihood of short cycling), so just slapping baseboard on without regard for the 1st floor temp requirements is not recommended.



    If you aren't going to do warmboard, I would suggest heavy gauge joist plates instead of climate panel. it will outperform the climate panel and it's cheaper. dunno what the state of your joist bays are there or how many layers of wood you have on the 1st floor. that might change things.
    Rob Brown
    Designer for Rockport Mechanical
    in beautiful Rockport Maine.
  • AlexS
    AlexS Member Posts: 69
    not sure what you mean...

    ...about skipping the bedrooms...  I'd like to do radiant up there as well, and I figured heat transfer through only one layer of flooring would be a no brainer... The bedrooms have already been remodeled, so radiant ceilings are out up there.  The first floor will be gutted, so that's why I wanted to staple up under the second floor flooring.



    Rob, I know you're a big fan of warmboard, but why do you say the other types of above-subfloor panels are so inefficient?  Heavy gauge aluminum track in the joist bays would radiate better through 3/4 subfloor and 3/4 hardwood than the above-subfloor panels that only have to radiate through one layer of hardwood?  I think the original panel I saw was quicktrack, not sure if you find it better than climate panel....





    I hope you guys can follow my ramblings...  I guess I can say for sure that baseboard and wall heaters are out, and radiant tubing for both floors are in....  What's the turnaround time to get Warmboard panels made up anyway, and where do I buy them?
  • NRT_Rob
    NRT_Rob Member Posts: 1,013
    quik trak is climate panel

    they are the same product.



    Heavy guage aluminum in a joist bay has much better tubing to aluminum contact and better conductivity. then you have to transfer through 1.5" of wood... bummer.



    Quik trak has nearly no direct tubing to aluminum contact and what it does have is through silicon. then you have to transfer through.... 1.25" of wood, because the aluminum is UNDER the 1/2" plywood of the panel. hmmm. the only reason it's not even worse is that you have pipes every 7" o.c. in pretty much direct contact with your finish floor. but that's not enough to save it...



    now don't get me wrong: heavy plates in the joist isn't a LOT better. but it is better, and it is cheaper, and it is protected from puncture, and it can be installed over a wider time window. so I don't see the benefit of quik trak or climate panel unless you have to be over the floor and it absolutely must be 1/2" height, or if your joists are a nightmare.



    I think if you're going over the floor, you might as well use a better panel. Warmboard, raupanel and roth panel, thermofin U/sleeper systems... these are the better panels.



    If you go warmboard, you would get that direct from Warmboard.
    Rob Brown
    Designer for Rockport Mechanical
    in beautiful Rockport Maine.
  • AlexS
    AlexS Member Posts: 69
    I nearly fell over

    when I saw the costs of some of the subfloor panel systems.  Im a wood guy... I see a sheet of plywood and think, what, a hundred bucks?



    I cant swing the cost of these systems so I guess Im going with a joist bay plate system.  I know a lot of people frown on internet sellers, but I did see the Uponor Joist-trak package deals at... well, you can imagine where...  Still giving me some sticker shock,  but I guess it's do-able.   Any feedback on the Uponor system?  How does it compare with Thermofin?



    I was reading up on Veissman boilers, but cant quite figure out the big differences between the 100 and 200 series... Is the 100 capable of modulating the flame?
  • NRT_Rob
    NRT_Rob Member Posts: 1,013
    comparable

    thermofin is a bit thicker and wider and better, but not by a huge margin.



    if you're a wood guy you might consider a sandwich method as well... site built overfloor panel. lots more labor but usually cheaper than joist plates. it's not as good as the overfloor panels but it is a lot more economical if your labor is cheap.



    the Viessmann 200 is a much more advanced boiler. the viessmann 100 is more like the "american standard" modulating/condensing boiler.
    Rob Brown
    Designer for Rockport Mechanical
    in beautiful Rockport Maine.
  • AlexS
    AlexS Member Posts: 69
    thanks...

    I googled up sandwich method, and it does seem like a lot of labor.  Everything I saw about it involved 3/4" plywood, and I couldnt figure out what aluminum gets used...  I'd rather not raise the floor so much... Could it be done effectively with 1/2" ply and 3/8" tubing?  Should I keep it simple and stick with the joist plates?



    As far as the boiler goes, is it a stupid idea to go with the simpler 100 series?  I assume I can still hook up an outdoor reset to it...  Im not really settled on the Veissmann either.. Im definitely open to suggestions.



    thanks for the help this far....
  • NRT_Rob
    NRT_Rob Member Posts: 1,013
    nope

    you'd need 5/8" with 3/8" pipe.



    the viessmann 100 has outdoor reset. I think it generally gets good reviews.
    Rob Brown
    Designer for Rockport Mechanical
    in beautiful Rockport Maine.
  • AlexS
    AlexS Member Posts: 69
    Changing over to radiant, need guidance please...

    wow, that was fast... hah!



    thanks
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    Vitodens100

    If its a single temp radiant system the 100 will do the job on its own. Its a very simplistic mod/con in its control. Turn the on button, set the dial to the number curve you want and walk away. On a multi-temp system where budget may be a factor we use the Taco I-Valve w/odr for the seconday temp. Its much, much, less expensive then going up to the Vitodens 200 and adding the Viessmann mixing valve.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • AlexS
    AlexS Member Posts: 69
    I am going to use this for hot water as well...

    So I guess I have to factor that into the boiler decision....



    The scary part is Im going to have to order all this stuff in a day or two... There's so many different choices with all of this, its mind boggling.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    Combi?

    Are you now saying you want a combi boiler. That is one boiler that does heating and domestic all in one? If so, I would look at the Triangle PE110 although it will be oversized for the heating load. Personally would do an indirect.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • AlexS
    AlexS Member Posts: 69
    Changing over to radiant, need guidance please...

    No, I figured I would do an indirect and plant a SuperStor nearby....  Are the basic units like the 100 series mentioned above capable of the two separate temps required?  (one heat, one potable water)
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    Yes

    The Vitodens 100 will provide DHW temp out of the box.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,460
    RE: new radiant system

    I too am a fan of not doing floor radiant under bedrooms. I like to get them warm fast and cool down fast for sleeping. Radiant floor even low mass is still pretty  slow response in comparison to (oversized) radiators to match the floor heat on 1st floor temp requirement. Works well.  I also like the TT solo boiler, I find it to be a bit better heat x design although the Viessmann is a good boiler, don't get me wrong.  Good luck
  • AlexS
    AlexS Member Posts: 69
    Thanks...

    The reason Im leaning towards radiant in the bedrooms upstairs is because there is very little exposed wall space.  First off, the house is not large, and second, my wife loves to buy stuff. :-)



    I read the TT solo manual again today... It was my first choice, but someone mentioned Vitodens earlier, so I didnt want to rule anything out yet...



    I think Im ordering the solo on Monday unless someone wants to talk me out of it...
  • AFred
    AFred Member Posts: 81
    If your asking...

    Put my vote in for the Triangle Tube.

    What area are you in? How many btus per sq.ft. are you designing for?

    I have used a couple differant kinds of defusers, but find them all a PITA, and just an attemt to squeeze another 2 btus out of that tube.

    The argument has been started.

    -Brother Andy

    Minneapolis fitter
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    The Great Debate

    Why I would prefer the Vitodens over the TT. I think the TT is a real nice condensing boiler but limits the installer on the control side for multi temps. I do feel that the Vitodens HX is of much better quality and has a much longer track record. The warranty is also better.



    With the Vitodens 100 the control is very simplified. No need to set indoor highs, outdoor lows, etc. On a single temp job set the dial to the appropriate curve and off you go. On multi-temp systems the TT requires you to install other controls while the Vitodens 200 can do it all under one control platform. The Lamda combustion system also provides a much better means of controlling combustion. Your triangle is set up for the day of the combustion test. The Vitodens 200 adjusts to each days parameters. Looks at gas quality, air etc on every fire.



    I also like the fact that the Vitodens 200 uses a system temp sensor inside the low loss header so that the boiler is delivering what the system requires vs making that water temp on the boiler side. What's more important, boiler temp or system temp?



    Again I think Triangle makes a real nice product but the control limits you in needing others to provide a complete system in multi-temp systems. I also feel its a pain to service compared to the Vitodens. Five screws in two minutes and I'm into the HX. on the Vitodens where as I have to climb to the top of the TT work around the venting to get to there HX. Every boiler needs service at some time nothing is service free.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • AlexS
    AlexS Member Posts: 69
    thanks...

    This is exactly the type of info Im looking for guys...



    Im limited on budget unfortunately, so I think Im limited to the Vitodens 100... Internet costs are near $4K for the 200, and locally I'd pay $4500.



    I'd imagine Im only doing a single temp system, although the DHW is in there, so does that count as multi temp?  Im guessing no, it's separate....
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,460
    edited May 2011
    Whoa there, no debate just preference

    As I stated, there both good boilers. Both boilers have there pluses and negatives. Lambda ( was that not Belushi's frat name) system is nice. A bit easier to get into but they still get build up in their horizontal coil due to having a horizontal surface to let combustion by products sit in. The TT boiler does not, all vertical tubes.

     Correct on the multi temp control, at least for the next 2- 3 months when the new control is released. Not a deal killer, but.   As I stated before, both very good boilers. Tim

     One last Item to consider, what do most people install in your area, that should sway you as it gives you more options for repair/maintenance and ?? parts avail. should you need any.
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,460
    DHW does not count Alex

    Just fyi
  • AlexS
    AlexS Member Posts: 69
    you referenced....

    my favorite movie... Belushi was a Delta.... (delta tao chi)



    The nerds were Lamda Lamda Lamda... (revenge of the nerds was on last night)





    thanks again for the insights....   good point on local availability for repair and maintenance parts.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    edited May 2011
    Tim Are You Referrring

    To the attached pic? Keep in mind if you pull the manual from ACV on the presitge it says it needs maintenance. Here its a good marketing ploy...
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • AlexS
    AlexS Member Posts: 69
    hmmmmm...

    so how come posts seem to be out of order in this thread?
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    I replied

    To his post so mine went under his..Where are you located? Don't purchase via the internet. I can help you find a local wholesaler for the Vitodens..I may alse be able to help you find an experienced Viessmann guy in your local area to consult with. Drop me an e-mail if you'd like.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,460
    edited May 2011
    Interesting pic, I have not seen it yet.

    We will see what it looks like soon. Yeah, I always get a kick out of any of the mfrs who say does not need cleaning!!! Bs.  From what I get, it will not be the same as the EU version from ACV.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    edited May 2011
    That's The Boiler

    That is the new Presitge..I have other pics of it. Actually going down on the 19th to touch and feel the Challenger. I'm a little edgey on it and want to play with it as well as see a cross of the HX.. I have to thank them for opening the door and offering the special one on one visit..
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • AFred
    AFred Member Posts: 81
    HEY!

    I was trying to start a fight about them darn diffuser plates!

    *blanket statement ahead*

    They all suck.

    Come on sombodys gotta bite.

    -Andy
  • EricAune
    EricAune Member Posts: 432
    Poor design skills?

    Usually the guys who say the plates are not worth the time/money are those who have little design input or knowledge of.



    I like to follow those guys, they are my bread-n-butter.



    I bet, just a guess but, those are the same guys who have no time for heat loss calculations or aren't really sure so a three speed circulator will do just fine...
    "If you don't like change, your going to like irrelevance even less"
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,839
    You're right Andy, they ALL suck...

    They suck the heat out of the tube and put it into the floor.... :-)



    I've tested a WHOLE bunch of them at the college, and the difference is abit more than 2 btu's/square foot/hour.



    If you are using a conventional boiler, it doesn't make that big of a difference in fuel consumption, but if you are using a mod con boiler, they are almost a MUST.



    We don't fight here at the wall. We strongly debate and educate in the process :-)



    I've lived with both systems (naked staple up and tube in plates) and can tell you from personal experience that there IS a BIG difference in comfort, and energy consumption.



    I've said it before, and I will say it until it becomes fact and or law. Bare naked staple up should be outlawed where the load exceeds 15 btu's /sq ft/hr. That, and the "noisy operation" should be enough to cause anyone with a lick of sense to avoid its use. But there are still those people who don't value theirs or their employees labor who look at it as being a cheap way of providing warm floors to the consumer.



    The tubing manufacturers LOVE bare naked staple up, because it sells a LOT more tube. If THEY had to pay the fuel bills, I'm betting they wouldn't be so aggressive about that method of application.



    It kind of reminds me of the hot water heating contractors of the 60's and 70's that designed their baseboard around a 205 degree F operating temperature. It makes for a REAL inexpensive initial investment, but the costs of operation are MUCH higher, and there is little chance of being able to apply the newer condensing technology due to the short lengths of fin tube installed...



    That's my $0.05 worth.



    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    205 degree water in baseboard.

    I do not know what my baseboard upstairs was designed for. I suspect it was not designed at all. It had 3 feet of fin-tube in each of the two rooms that needed about 3000 BTU/hour in each on very cold (below design day temp) days. Since they got the same water temperature as the in slab radiant downstairs, they were always too cold.



    When I had a mod-con installed to replace the old boiler, I wanted enough heat upstairs, and I wanted it to condense. So I decided I wanted to supply it with at most 135F water and calculated how much baseboard I would need. It came to 14 feet in each room, and I had that installed. I also had it split into two zones because I wanted only 120F max in the slab. Of course others in the same boat may not have room for more baseboard, or the money to pay for it.
  • AlexS
    AlexS Member Posts: 69
    Vitodens 100 Control Q...

    I see the primary circulator is powered by the boiler itself, but I assume I need a relay to power the DHW circulator, correct?  The connection on the boiler is just for the aquastat on the indirect tank?
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    edited May 2011
    Depends

    If your zoning the indirect and heating zones with zone valves the anwser is no. You can wire the system pump and the boiler pump to the pump block on the boiler control. It can run two pumps. We use a Taco ZVC-EXP zone control for the zone valves and wire them the same as any other application. Indirect on the last zone. Use the Taco PC-600 card and plug that into the exp ports on the zone control This gives you another end switch and priority is transfered to the card. Take the end switch or XX from the card and wire to DHW on the control. Take the end switch XX on the zone control and run to RT. On a DHW call the zone control will shut down the heating zones, open the priority zone and the boiler will go into high fire. Can so the same with a circulator relay. Just need to make sure you use the EXP version. You can also then if you wanted set the purge timer on the PC-600 so after the boiler shuts the pump can pull the extra heat to the indirect.



    Some will say they zone an indirect with a pump but are you not doing the same thing. I would recommend the Taco Zone Sentry for zone valves. The card is also in expensive and makes the wiring a breeze...

    Here is the link for the card.

    http://www.taco-hvac.com/uploads/FileLibrary/102-094.pdf
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • AlexS
    AlexS Member Posts: 69
    It makes sense that

    both primary and secondary pumps would be operating at the same time anyway, so I can see how it would make sense to wire them together from the boiler and use zone valves. 



    I was always under the impression that using zone valves was a "lazy" way to do it...  Is there any advantage to having a circulator for each zone, including the DHW?  



    Im guessing I would use a ZVC404-exp for 3 heat zones and the indirect.  The line voltage relays would all remain empty and just the low voltage contacts are used for the valves and signal to the boiler.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    No Advantage

    And not lazy. Zoning circs tends to over pump.  As for a system pump, at one time I was a big fan of the Grundfoss Alpha but have changed that to the Taco VDT pump. Having control over Delta-T seems to give in what I have seen better system performance. You will give up the electrical savings at the current time because Taco's version of the ECM pump "The Bumble Bee" is not out on the market yet. I do have a BETA version running (Before we got out of the heating season) and its performance is much better then the Alpha. Delta-t stays constant 25 for the application its running in. Has made a big difference in the comfort level of the home and wattage use was minimal.



    I would zone with the Taco Zone Sentry's. Ball valve style, 3 yr warranty, uses less electricity then a conventional zone valve, can do 12 on a standard 40va transformer and has a very high CV rating.



    If you pull the cover off the Vitodens Power Pump Module which is behind the control console you will see 120V power & ground, after that pump and then DHW and RT. Take the boiler and system pump and power them via PUMP. Take the XX from the card and bring it to DHW, take the XX from the zone control and bring to RT. Both pumps will run on any call. If you'd like I'd be more then happy to take a trip out.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    I'm With You

    Mark I cannot agree with you more. I've seen it time and time again where homes are uncomfortable and in some case cannot even heat. Did plenty of jobs this heating season where homeowners could not believe the difference in comfort and fuel savings over previous years.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,086
    Afred

    Have you ever tried SideTrak? 

    http://www.hydronicalternatives.com/RST0508MAIL.pdf
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • AFred
    AFred Member Posts: 81
    Transfer plates

    I have used those ultra-fin things a couple of times. Biggest problem; the insulation being shoved against the tube, no matter how many carpenters you explain it to as slow as you can so they can comprehend. My opinion; way to much fiddleing around. I even followed behind another contractor who had ran one, yes one, tube per joist, used the fins, but not the hanging straps they come with but sioux strapped them to the subfloor. How well did that work?



    Used the extruded stuff twice maybe, nice, until you get to the old subfloor with 10 million nails *crying like baby*. Has anyone had it pop out or expand at the end like crazy?



    What kind of output can you get out your tube with say 3/4 subfloor +3/4 hardwood? We shoot for 30 btu per sqft. This may be a stupid question but I'm not the boss, I don't design the in-floor, I just put it in. I don't think my shop wants to bid the plates in fear of not getting the work.



    Chris I havent tried the side track, but I've used similar. Is that what you use? I want peoples opinions here.

    -Andy
This discussion has been closed.