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suggestion on bad radiant install

clammy Member Posts: 2,739
Looked at a badly installed slab radiant system where they did not insulate .I spent 2 days there durning the end of the winter and tested everything .The boiler is  a weil ultra mod con pipe completly wrong with no odr.The system is a mix of radiant in slab and staple up with extruded plates and some baseboard . all radint zones are manual mix valves also Did a heat lose and the boiler is properly sized did a combustion test and it faired fine .The biggest issue is the slab is sucking all the heat away.Ran this system for 12 hours with all zones calling it was only about 3o outside temp boiler never got above about 140 turned off the 2 basment radinat zones and the boiler temp came up to 180 and cycled properly.The staple up and baseboard zones worked fine .I know that the radiant in floor is screwed and the only zones that do not need supplement is the baseboard zone while the first floor staple up is about 25mbtu off .The HO states the baement and 2 nd floor zones do not maintain when it gets cold below 25 .He has had a nyc plumber take a look and he suggested to add a hi temp boiler for the baseboard zone and leave the radiants the way they are he did this all from a print and never took the 3 hour drive to roscoe to take a look .Aside from these issue the boiler is not even close to being piped correctly nor is the radiant espically with2 pumps on each radiant zone and all the boiler and main piping is 1 inch .I believe if  i remenber correcty the boiler was a 180.Where and how do you even start to explain the wrong doings by others .This is a vacation home and if i remenber it is about 3200 sf lots of windows,log construction and very tight also well insulated .What would you do aside from run away  peace and good luck clammy
R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
NJ Master HVAC Lic.
Mahwah, NJ
Specializing in steam and hydronic heating


  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,839

    Cover Your Anatomy, especially your glutius maximus...

    You may or may not be getting paid to do this. I'd prefer to call it consulting and get paid for it, versus providing a whole lot of free estimate information.

    I'd make a detailed report that has two or three parts.

    First part would be the "Deficiency Report". This details all visible and know deficiencies of the system. Give caveats for those areas that you can't see...

    Second part would be the Recommended Remediations Report. This is where you detail exactly what it is that you intend to do to the system, and what the net effect should be.

    The third part is the costs associated with the second part.

    As I said, I'd tell the consumer that this goes above and beyond a "free estimate" scenario, and give them a price for your services. If they balk, I'd walk. There are too many other free "experts" out there that are willing to do it for free, and the consumer has no guarantee that they are going to be getting everything necessary to correct their situation.

    As for the slab sucking the heat, I've seen those situations before, and short of being able to insulate beneath it (probably impossible) you either have to keep it warm all the time, or give it a LONG time to recover and maintain. If it can't maintain even with plenty of warm up time, it could be that the aquifer is so shallow that the water is wicking the heat away from the slab. And if that's the case, I'd abandon the RF system, and consider other alternatives, like base board, or radiant ceilings.

    Hopefully, in the near future, the RPA and the IAPMO organization will come out with some actual codes that will require the use of vapor barriers and insulation. That's not going to help you now, but will hopefully avoid situations like this in the future.

    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.
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,739
    Thanks Mark

    yup trying to do exactly that CYA .I really find it amazing that guys get away with such crap work and just walk away but the HO should have never used either one of the 2 contractors that he chose both where local but local to where the home is located should have been a clue to what you are going to get espically with radiant in a area where no one can afford heat no less radiant.The worse part is that aside from the system piping making no sense the boiler piping makes even less and only shows that neither one has even a clue nor do they read I n O manuals  amazing.Thanks for your input .when you gonna be back in jersey for a few cocktails be nice to see you again .peace and good lucj clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
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