Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
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/.

Baseboard Radiators to In Floor

thesouth18
thesouth18 Member Posts: 11
Hello, I just bought a 130 year old home that has a Viessman Vitotronic 200 Boiler with baseboard radiators. My wife hates the radiators and since I'm pulling the floors up I thought I'd move it between the subfloor and the hardwood. Can I use the copper pipes that are already run to the rooms and tie it into the PEX that goes through the floor or do I need to run all new pipe? It's set up for two zones right now, one for each story of the house. I know I'd have to run it on the low temp circuit of the boiler. I just wanted to see if this is possible before I start doing all of the fancy calculations you guys talk about. Thanks!!! This is probably something I'm going to have to do myself as the only HVAC place in town that does boiler work said they would charge me 80,000 to do the change over.....

Comments

  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,116
    You're not suppose to discuss pricing, but that price is ridiculous by a factor of at least 3.
    You can leave the copper. I'm assuming that it's sized correctly because it was heating your home. But doing the calculations is the best way to go.
    If you keep the copper/replace, you would probably put a manifold in the basement to feed all the first floor radiant loops, and take the copper going to the second floor to feed a manifold for all the second floor radiant loops.
    Flow rates, supply water temp, etc are all very important. Do the calcs and put the right size/spacing tubing in first or you'll be very unhappy with the results.
    If you're going between subfloor and finish floor, you'll want something like warmboard or something with aluminum plates. This will increase the floor height by about 3/4"-so make sure that doesn't cause a problem right from the start. Especially important if you are doing this in the kitchen with appliance heights (dishwasher are notorious), and kickspace vents.

    If those are cast iron baseboards, don't scrap them. You can resell them.
    steve
    delta T
  • thesouth18
    thesouth18 Member Posts: 11
    Sorry about the pricing thing. I took it that I shouldn't try to get quotes from anyone on here, but you're right it says just pricing. so sorry. Thanks for the info as I've been told I need to replace everything with PEX and rerunning all the pipes through a 130 year old THICK plaster walls just wasn't worth it. I'll do the calculation stuff and get a plan laid out now.

    One other question, should I put pipe insulation around the current copper and what about in the joist space as far as insulation before I slap down the subfloor? I heard with forced air that's not recommended between floors (excpet to soundproof) but seems to be recommended for infloor heating.

    The baseboards are just the aluminum finned ones, so nothing I can sell.
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 851
    edited August 2016
    You must install insulation, really as much as you can. Radiant heat is light in the infrared spectrum. Light does not care about up or down, all it cares about is what is in its way. If you want the heat to go from the floor into the room, you must block its path downwards. I live by an absolute minimum of 8X the R-value of the flooring material I am trying to heat through. If I can't get that, I don't want to install radiant. Example being, lets say the combination of your sub floor and finished floor produces an R-value of 1.5, you must put AT LEAST R-12 insulation under it to ensure that you are getting an effective radiator out of your floor. Usually it ends up being much more than that (in the R-19 and higher range) and really the more the better. Spray foam is nice (very high R-values).......until you have a leak somewhere. Fiberglass batts work fine (assuming the correct R-value), and are much easier to remove and replace when needed. Warmboard is a good product and will save some time on install.

    highly recommend putting in aluminum heat transfer plates as Steve said.

    Where are you located? we may able to find someone who will come out to where you are, there are a few on here who do travel pretty far....

    As far as insulation around the copper pipes goes, why not? If you have it all exposed, every little bit helps and pipe insulation is going to be small $ compared to the project as a whole. The more you can keep the btu's going only where you want them to, the more efficient the system will be as a whole.

    EDIT:

    Oh yeah forgot to mention don't fall for the reflective aluminum bubble foil insulation scam. It doesn't work anything like advertised. There is some good literature on this site regarding this, I will try to link to it.
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,579
    edited August 2016

    You're not suppose to discuss pricing, but that price is ridiculous by a factor of at least 3.


    Steve and Delta , My question to you both is this . How could you possibly guess that the price this man stated is not accurate ? When you made this statement not a thing was known except that it was built circa 1886 . That could very well be a good price , the last home I did that was built circa 1886 was 12,000 plus sf . I would not have touched that one for the price this gentleman received . Just asking

    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
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,116
    Rich said:


    Steve and Delta , My question to you both is this . How could you possibly guess that the price this man stated is not accurate ? When you made this statement not a thing was known except that it was built circa 1886 . That could very well be a good price , the last home I did that was built circa 1886 was 12,00 plus sf . I would not have touched that one for the price this gentleman received . Just asking

    $80k ? For 2 floors of pex,2 manifolds and associated piping? Yeah. I'll take one of those a year

    steve
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,579
    edited August 2016
    Could the person giving that price have been including Warmboard or Sunboard and labor also ? That stuff doers not put itself down . If the home was 4000 sf and he used warmboard the purchase price and shipping alone could be your factor of 3 plus a few dollars . Now let's add whatever else . Still be able to support a family on 1 of those a year .

    Maybe it needs more than 2 manifolds because the series loops were both too long and now we're gonna delete the larger pipe and use a whole bunch of 1/2 " tubing . Maybe the house needs 4 manifolds now , maybe the guy who gave the price actually looked at the job , saw what was there and made an informed recommendation that this man now may think is too much but it was what it should be . that's all I'm sayin

    Maybe a series loop radiant system would be really innovative though ?
    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
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 851
    edited August 2016
    @Rich I never commented on the pricing and I do agree, not enough is known to determine anything. There are $10,000 radiant jobs and $500,000 radiant jobs and everything in between. And those are fair prices. My only comment re: $ was saying that adding insulation to the distribution piping would be easy (assuming the piping was exposed) and the cost of doing that would be small as compared to the project as a whole.

    Every little bit helps right?
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,116
    I agree with both. It could be that high or higher. Best would be to have a few bids from qualified hydronics experts. My initial gut feeling was the price was thrown out there by someone who may not have much experience with radiant/hydronics and/or a 'just didn't want to do it' price.
    steve
  • thesouth18
    thesouth18 Member Posts: 11
    Hey guys, sorry to even put that price out there, I'd rather talk about the job really. I'd be heating two floors with about 2200 sqft of space total. All of the pipe will be exposed except what is in the wall right now. It's all 1/2" copper piping in a large series loop, one for each floor.
    Also like I said, this will probably be a DIY since everyone we've had come by looks at the boiler (Viessmann) and asks why I would want a boiler when I could have a forced air system. The only company that would even talk to me was the one who installed the system 12 years ago. I really want the baseboard stuff gone because it totally covers up the awesome looking 130 year old trim.
    So here are the steps I'm looking at doing:
    1)finish taking up the floor and remove the old gas light pipes- yep those are still there
    2) Upgrade wiring and remove knob and tube
    3) Sister up the joists so the floors will be level
    4) Start on the heat.
    a) Get a detailed drawing of the current layout
    b) run some of those heat loss estimate programs you guys recommended
    c) See if someone could give me a plan based on those.

    As far as the manifolds can I attach one set on the second floor: the supply where the pipe from the basement first enters the first room and the return where the return pipe exits to go to the basement?
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,579
    Where are you located ?
    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
  • thesouth18
    thesouth18 Member Posts: 11
    Noblesville, IN
  • thesouth18
    thesouth18 Member Posts: 11
    I was just told I should rip out the entire thing today and replace with a Lenox Unico system...