Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Radiant FIR sure!

Mark Eatherton
Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
Here is a link to an article posted at thinkhydronics.com



<a href="http://www.tealinternational.com/ThinkHydronics/Articles/farinfrared.html">http://www.tealinternational.com/ThinkHydronics/Articles/farinfrared.html</a>



I have inadvertently been testing this theory for the last couple of years at my mountain home, where I have radiant walls, floors, windows and ceilings.



Now, I have a good reason and excuse as to why I like to spend so much time up there. Now, all I have to do is convince my wife :-)



<a href="http://www.tealinternational.com/ThinkHydronics/Articles/farinfrared.html">http://www.tealinternational.com/ThinkHydronics/Articles/farinfrared.html</a>



We need to start selling the sizzle of hydronic radiant. We also need to quit focusing on just the floor and start looking toward other viable surfaces, like walls, ceilings and windows...



Enjoy, and put it to use.



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.

Comments

  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    I have 60 year old copper tubing in my concrete slab floor.

    It is not leaking. I say this because I turned off the makup system (I have a LWCO) for a month and the pressure did not go down. Now that I am not heating anymore (72F outside as I type), the pressure has gone down about the thickness of the needle of the pressure gauge, even though the makeup water is turned on. Are pressure gauges that temperature sensitive? This is the little pressure-temperature gauge built into the boiler. Would it make sense to have a 3" or 4" pressure gauge added to my system? How do other people test for leaks?



    If it lasts another 30 years, it will be my estate's problem. Otherwise, I guess I would put radiant in the ceiling. The ceilings are now plaster, but I do not know if there are such things as real plasterers anymore.



    My thought would be to rip out the present ceilings, stuff the cavity between downstairs and upstairs with fiberglass insulation. But then what?



    Should the insulation be foil faced, foil facing down? Dust should not be falling up onto it.



    Do I fasten plates to the beams that go across? Do I put up drywall and silicone the plates to the drywall?



    What do most people do? Someone suggested putting in baseboard, but that does not appeal to me.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    JD...

    Your system is cool now. It is expected to contract somewhat, and yes, there is slop in the pressure gage. Not to worry. You're worrying too much :-)



    As for retro-radiant, if it were my house, I would do as you said, go to the ceiling, and yes, insulation is key. Once insulated, I'd probably go back with Roth Panel. You would have to run all S&R pipes from a closet, into and out of the grid. You might even have to run your mains in the attic, which will require the introduction of glycol to avoid freeze break issues.



    What I did at my mountain home was to install 1/2" plywood on all ceiling surfaces. I then fastened the Roth panel using 1" screws, and fender washers to spread out the force of attachment. I then covered that whole assembly with 1/2" of sheetrock. It works fantastic!



    Not having seen the layout of your home, it is hard to say what the best route, manner and method would be, but if it ain't broke, why fix it? Knowing you from your postings, I know you are just being proactive, just in case. But I would not worry about it until it becomes reality....



    You could use foil faced insulation, if you can find it. Not a whole lot of it around these parts anymore.



    Whatever you decide to do, stay with radiant. MRT drives the bus of human comfort.



    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
    I realize I tend to get neurotic about things...

    "You might even have to run your mains in the attic, which will require the introduction of glycol to avoid freeze break issues."



    Luckily, I probably will not need glycol. I have no attic. My upstairs is baseboard and heated. So I could run the supply and return above the downstairs ceiling and below the upstairs floor. Main trouble is the beams (rafters?) run the wrong way, so I will have to drill holes to get the tubing through. I hope pex-al-pex is the thing to use, although perhaps copper is OK or better (?) for the supply and returns. I would use pex-al-pex for the actual radiation because running copper would be too much of a pain.



    "What I did at my mountain home was to install 1/2" plywood on all ceiling surfaces."



    I do not see how to put insulation in the ceiling and to run supply and return tubing and the radiant tubing without ripping out the existing ceiling. So let us say I do that. Can the Roth panel be nailed or screwed to the rafters (I assume they are on 16-inch centers)? Or must I put up plywood first? I ask because my ceilings are just barely 8 feet high now, and adding 3/4" for plywood, 3/4" for Roth panel and 1/2 inch more for drywall will take a lot. It seems Roth panel will not require foil faced insulation. Does it actually require any, considering that the floor above it is heated? Should the aluminum "plates" be fastened to the drywall with, e.g., silicone goop? If not, will not the air space reduce their effectiveness?



    I do not know the spacing of the 1/2 inch the copper tubing in my slab. If I use thick aluminum plates, I assume 3/8 inch PEX will work.



    "Not having seen the layout of your home, it is hard to say what the best

    route, manner and method would be, but if it ain't broke, why fix it?"



    It is a Cape Cod, and viewed from the front, the ground floor is 32 feet wide and 22 feet deep. The beams holding the upstairs up unfortunately run front to back, and the boiler is in the attached garage at the left of the house. I am certainly not going to fix it until it leaks. And unless the leak is sudden and large, I might let it finish whatever winter it happens in. By Murphy's law, it will not happen in the summer. If that copper tubing has not leaked in the past 60 years, it may be that there was no fly ash in the concrete mix, or the contractor did something to protect the tubing. I happen to know that the contractor who built the house was a friend of the first owner, so he did an especially good job on many of the details. When a hurricane came through, it took the roof shingles off most of the houses on this street, but not this one. On the other hand, he used cheap aluminum windows. He used real plaster for the walls, but the wiring was peculiar, and he used aluminum wire for the stove. He put the domestic water pipes in the slab, which was a mistake in my opinion. So who knows?.



    Does it make sense to put a bigger pressure gauge on the system (e.g., 3" or 4")? Is this a good way to check for leaks? Or should I put a water meter on it, perhaps like this one:



    http://www.jerman.com/dljmeter.html



    I called them and they say it will not measure very slow leaks, like a gallon a year, but I should be able to see it on the little tell-tale.



    "Whatever you decide to do, stay with radiant. MRT drives the bus of human comfort."



    Yes, unless I am gaga by then, I would not have anything else. I have lived in houses heated by convected hot air, forced hot air, hot water radiators (I do not know if there was a circulator; pipes still in the wall for the gas lights), steam, forced hot water baseboard, and forced hot water radiant. So I know what each feels like.The steam system was in my grandfather's house and must have been pretty well done. No water hammer, fairly uniform heating even though it was a 3 story house. Even steam heat in the garage, though he had that turned off. I even lived in a house in France, 3 stories high, with gravity hot water. The "expansion tank" was on the third floor in a closet with a drain for overflow.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    Sorry JD...

    I lost track of this thread.



    PAP will work. I used Wirsbo in my emitting surfaces, but there is no reason that PAP wouldn't work.



    PEX is more forgiving to kinkage than is PAP, but you just have to be REAL careful, because if you kink PAP, you have to cut the bad out, versus using an industrial hand held heater/blower to get the kink out of PEX.



    THe instructions that came with the Roth panel were for the floor applications, so I developed my own standards for ceiling mounting. The panels are 4' X 2' so 16" OC should work.



    Regarding insulation, yes. Siggy recommends 2 X the normal required insulation where outside exposure is expected. Inside applications, maybe not, but always maintain 2 X the R value on the loss side of the emitter versus the load side of the emitter. And you can add the R value of the EPS foam, but where the tube is run, the R value is significantly less than the middle of the panel.



    I did not use any adhesive to fasten my sheetrock to the emitting surface, and in looking at it through the eyes of my IR camera, can see no big difference.



    I am not certain wether Roth Panel is available in 3/8". I used 1/2" throughout. Your slab is probably 12" OC. Energy was cheap back then, and it really doesn't matter becasue other heat load factors have changed. The Roth Panel comes with grooves at 6" OC, which if used, will result in lower fluid operating temperatures, and less energy density, resulting in higher comfort factors with lower operating temperature. Using the 12" centers will require higher operating fluid temperatures to achieve the same level of energy delivery.



    Regarding your possible (doubtful) leak, if it is real small, most conventional meters will not record it. They have a small wheel on them called a leak indicator, but it doesn't record gallons, only shows movement. If it were me, I'd just shut off the make up and keep an eye on it for a long period (week) period of time. No drop, no leak, no sweat.



    You are one of the fortunate people who have lived with "radiant" heat.



    The whole reason I posted the link to the article, is because of the Chinese efforts in proving the health benefits of Far Infrared Radiation, and the fact that it is documented to penetrate your body from 2 to 4 inches and improves human health.



    Smart hydronic comfort contractors will seize upon this information as a benefit of these wonderful systems that CAN'T be reproduced with forced error heating systems.



    Grab it and run with it. I know I will...



    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.
  • Radiant Bling

    Radiant walls and ceilings are nice and I incorporate them whenever I can; but what about radiant oak stairways and radiant granite countertops? Inexpensive to install in both instances and the large thermal mass of the stairs and counters make them a great surface to heat, but I always run into resistance because no one has heard of this, even though I have been installing both for years. If you really want to "Pimp Out" your heating systems, heat your counters and stairways.



    Thanks, Bob Gagnon



    Thanks, Bob Gagnon
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    Radiant bling indeed!

    Most of the competition is working hard to be the cheapest game in town. They are in the "heating" biz.



    We, are in the "comfort" business, and we understand the customers wishes wants and needs. We found all this information out during the customer interview process, and when presented to the consumer in a way that they can understand it, they WANT it, and they are not afraid to pay extra for it.



    Now, backed by science, we have one more benefit to delivering radiant comfort, and raising the MRT.



    I had a few customers that we set their showers up with all radiant surfaces. The intent was to make their steam shower respond faster because the tile would not condense the steam. The end users decided that they wanted the shower enclosure kept warm, ALL the time, not just when they want to take a steam bath.



    I'm telling ya, radiant IS addictive.



    And properly armed with all the information available, there is no reason that one can't up sell the end user to radiate any surface within reason.



    It travels at the speed of light, penetrates your skin between 2 to 4 inches deep, and causes you to feel MUCH better.



    Go gett'em Bob.



    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.
This discussion has been closed.