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recommendations for heating system

aschwa Member Posts: 24
edited May 2015 in THE MAIN WALL

I am in the process of remodeling a home in Palo Alto California (SF Bay Area) with the following characteristics:
-4000 SF
-existing forced air system for heat
-uninsulated slab on grade
-8 FT ceilings
-old 1960s copper-in-concrete hydronic floor heating system in-slab for first floor and in 1.75 inches of concrete for second floor (system was disconnected in the 90s and replaced with forced air)
-2 stories

I would like to:
-add cooling
-possibly improve heating system for greater comfort
-add warm floors to two full bathrooms (could be hydronic or electric resistance)

Because the ceilings are only 8 feet on the first floor, I've been advised that I shouldn't install radiant floors on the first floor because I'll lose some precious ceiling height. However, I've been told that I should consider installing it on the second floor, because the existing 1.75 inches of copper+concrete could be demo'ed and the height could be recovered.

What advice do folks have for me? What should I install?

Keep in mind that my California climate is fairly mild.

Is a hydronic system worth the cost?
Is it reasonable to install radiant floors on the second floor and not on the first floor?
Are there other things I should be considering such as hydronic ceilings on the first floor?



  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,111
    Do I presume that the old radiant floor is leaking? Has anyone checked? If it will hold pressure, I'd start there.

    Beyond that, however, since you already have the ducting in place for forced air, much as I hate to say it I'd be much inclined to leave it, and use a heat pump operating as either heat or air conditioning as required as your heating and cooling source. The efficiency is excellent. For the warm bathroom floors, then, I'd probably go with electric resistance heat in the floor -- and infrared lamps in the ceiling, as part of the overall remodel.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Jack
    Jack Member Posts: 1,045
    Better call Alan. Top hand and Bay Area based.