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In floor heating, breaking the bank...

Hi,
First time posting, did a search and found some useful info but here is my specific situation. Home is heated with oil, brick ranch with master on second floor. Floors are slate and wood. Walk in basement year round temp of 55 degrees, cinder block walls exposed joists with batt insulation. Appears to be suspended loop installation on wood floor portions. No transfer plates, 3 zones taco pumps, no mixing valve installed. Heat loss completed by energy co. reduced from 6800 cfm to 2400 cfm and no reduction in sky high oil bill. No outdoor reset, and no purge valves on pex t connectors off primary. Attic insulated, rim joist spray foamed sealed crawl space vents for winter to best of my ability.I am getting various responses from heat companies i have brought in. Any guidance would be appreciated. I am in Orange County, NY. Thanks

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,949
    The heat loss you quote is the infiltration rate -- presumably a blower door test?

    Before we go much farther we need the actual heat loss, in BTU/hr (there are calculators to do that) and some idea of how the boiler is controlled, what the pumping arrangements are, how the piping and radiant zones are arranged...

    And, probably more!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • baxter23
    baxter23 Member Posts: 4
    Hi jamie, thanks for responding. Yes blower door test. Boiler is controlled by aquastat manager. Not sure how to determine btu's ? Running temp of weil mclain boiler is 160(high) 140 (low) with 10 degree diff. no cupping of wood floors and loops are in almost every joist bay some uneven areas. 3 honeywell thermostats set at 69 degrees with no setback. can hear what might be expansion noise on second floor when thermostat kicks on. can submit pics if helpful. My oil consumption has stayed the same as far as gallons per year, I was expecting a significant reduction after work weatherization was completed.
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,692
    Very often , the low hanging fruit is poisoned . Could you tell us energy co name and was this part of a NYSERDA program deal ?
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,509
    There's bad radiant all over the place, and if it was installed poorly you'll have large heating bills. Transfer plates are a must and so are proper mixing controls. The applications should be well insulated to prevent downward loss. One of the best radiant guys is in Stone Ridge, NY--Advanced Radiant Design. John Abullaragh is the owner and he can make chicken **** into chicken soup. Be prepared to pay for a site visit and consult. Forensic repairs are expensive, but worth the fix if you want comfort and efficiency.
    Mark EathertonRich_49Bob Bona_4
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,839
    Di they insulate properly below the radiant tubing? Supposed to be a 2" gap between bottom of tube and top of insulation. Also need insulation at the ends of the joist bays. I agree with Paul's recommendations. John is a master and a seasoned pro. Worth the dough. They are both members in good standing with the RPA.

    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.
    Rich_49Bob Bona_4
  • baxter23
    baxter23 Member Posts: 4
    Thanks to all, Rich company is EMS based out of Sloatsburg,NY. Company is part of NYSERDA... DBA onestopenergy. Paul and Mark, thank you for recommendation of forensic repair company. I will reach out tomorrow. 2 inch gap is probably a pipe dream considering all of the electrical and plumbing penetrations in basement. I wasn't expecting a quick fix over the computer but sound advice and a solid recommendation. Thanks for the help.
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,692
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
    KC_Jones
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,509
    I grew up in Orange county (Middletown) and can tell you that there are very few, if any, experts in radiant locally. You'll have to carefully vet choices for repairs and advice or use ARD and be sure they have the qualifications.
  • modconwannabe
    modconwannabe Member Posts: 49
    I'm a homeowner not a pro, so feel free to take with grains of salt but I had an underfloor install this year, had done tons of research and so offer the following for consideration, hope it's helpful:
    By suspended loop do you mean hanging on hangers below the surface of the subfloor, with insulation below? (Like UltraFin?) If so, then that very well may be your major consideration. The most efficient way for heat transfer from your radiant pex or pipes is conduction by physically touching the subfloor (and there's also radiation). And that also should include having heat transfer panels, which maximize heat absorption and spread it out through a joist bay so you don't get heat stripes. So if your pex is actually hanging, not touching, it's not conducting anything and instead is convecting below your floor creating a warm pocket of air that will slowly warm up and over time in theory will heat your floors. That completely depends on your insulation though (see below).

    If the radiant is physically attached to subfloor but without panels, that's better but panels are still ideal (and I think pros will argue which type is best--extruded aluminum and not just flimy sheet metal). At any rate, assuming plumbing is circulating correctly, the main issue likely is basic physics: if the insulation isn't sufficient, the heat will chase the cold and instead of heating your floor is heating your basement, which you say is steady 55. Unless you have serious insulation and it's well sealed it may be all your heat is effectively going down (or out) instead of up. What is the R value of the insulation, how tight is it?
  • baxter23
    baxter23 Member Posts: 4
    Thanks Rich!, I am not surprised, yet did find the home to be much tighter. Drafts and cobwebs are practically a thing of the past inside and also in unfinished basement once rim joist was spray foamed. It was a 7 out of 10 in my opinion in all aspects. My electric bill was reduced in summer, I use part central and ductless ac in the rest. So I am fairly convinced it is either a delivery issue or insulation issue below tubing. Calling the guy in stone ridge as I write. Wish me luck. Thanks Mododcon it is wedged between joist with vinyl electrical strap supporting it so it does seem to be up against subfloor.