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.

Quick question on "Modine" style heaters.

Stan_14
Stan_14 Member Posts: 3
Been looking all over the interwebs for over a month on and off, trying to figure out what is probably a pretty simple and straight forward answer to what may be a very noobish question.

I have an open basement (1050 Sq Ft), that had very poorly executed baseboard heat. It was badly damaged and as there are no finished walls, the pipes were run free air along the floor with no support of any kind. When we bought the house, we gutted out what little the previous owner had built down there, and we are setting about making it into a rough recreational space. By rough, I mean four oustide walls finished with OSB, rough cement floor. (Very VERY rough) and floor Joyce for a ceiling. We won't be in the basement all the time. Maybe a few times a month when doing crafts or other similar thigns. We have lived here for 4 years now, and the basement basically never gets much below 40 degrees, unless its REALLY cold for a long period of time. Now that I have torn out the baseboard loop, I wanted to add something quick and simple that would 1, allow us to heat up the space to comfortable in a somewhat short period of time, and also ensure that the pipes wont freeze in case of those cold snaps. My first Idea was a Modine hanging hydronic unit. I have seen these before in shops and they work quite well. But I quickly discovered that they are not exactly giving those things away. So after some more research and a bit of detective work, I found what are billed as "Outdoor wood stove" hanging heater units. These are are also hydronic. But these were about 1/3 the price. Now I assume that difference in price is primarily due to how cheaply constructed the units are compared to the Modine brand name units. I also assume that if a Modine unit is "Loud" that these units are probably 2/3's more noisy still. But I got a "100000" btu unit for $310. We have a wood stove in the basement that we can fire up when we are down there. The hanging units are there to help heat the space quicly while the fire ramps up, and to keep the basement at 40 degrees during the coldest parts of the winter. I don't particularly care about the "Noise" they make, or how "Efficient" they are. They are not the main source heat, (I say they, there is one in the laundry room off the cellar also, a 50k unit). They just need to do a quick and dirty job when call upon, and they need to do it on the cheap. I bought the units and am preparing to hang them.

With all that said, my question is this. What is the real difference between a Modine and these much cheaper units, that you can get on Amazon, Heat4u.com, ebay, just about anywhere. They are billed as "Outdoor Wood Stove" heaters. But the guy from Heat4u.com told me these are in function, identical to Modine brand heaters, if not n in build quality. He assured me that they would work fine on my oil boiler system. If you take away the motor and the casing on both of these units, would you not be left with a radiator? Maybe the Modines are more efficient, or less noisy or hold up longer. And that is fine. What I really want to know is if there is a reason these are billed specifically as "Outdoor wood stove" heaters, that would prevent them from working on my oil boiler. I will note that the inlet and outlets are 1", if that makes any difference.

Thanks for the words of wisdom ahead of time.

Comments

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,272
    I think some of those Outdoor Wood Boiler heaters are built with a squirrel cage blower, just like you would see in a furnace.

    They build a sheetmetal transition between the blower and coil is all.

    It would be much quite running if you are comparing to a Modine with a propeller style fan.

    I'm not sure where those wood boiler companies are sourcing coils? Good quality coils come from First Company, Magic Air Whalen, and others. It it looks too inexpensive it could be an import coil?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Stan_14
    Stan_14 Member Posts: 3
    edited September 2016
    These do have propeller fans, not squirrel cages. And given the price, I am certain they are made in china. But again, my driving force was money, not superior quality. For the most part, these things will hardly ever run. They are more insurance against frozen pipes than anything else. I am just trying to properly understand why they are so much cheaper. My fear is that these are simply not designed to work "Well" with my oil boiler. Like they will only be 1% efficient or something like that. The fact of the matter is, I know very little in terms of all of this. And what I don't know is what has me worried. I am hoping someone will come back and tell me that these are indeed, going to function just like a Modine unit that you pay $700 + for, except that they are made of tinfoil and children's tears in Cambodia. I can deal with tinfoil and children's tears for the price. I just don't want to find out that I spent $600 on these units and the material to install them only to find out that they won't put out heat for some reason I am not smart enough to even think of. Here is a link to the two units I got.

    http://www.outdoorfurnacesupply.com/hot-water-unit-heaters/50-000-btu-hydronic-hot-water-hanging-unit-heater-single-speed-fan.html

    http://www.outdoorfurnacesupply.com/hot-water-unit-heaters/100-000-btu-hydronic-hot-water-hanging-unit-heater-single-speed-fan.html
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,272
    It should work, regardless of the type of fan. Fairly simple concept of blowing air across a hot coil.

    This was the type I was referring to, about the same coil, just a quieter fan. If it is just freeze protection the small Modine type unit heaters may be just the ticket.

    I suspect quality and name brand is the difference in price. Plenty of selection on places like e-bay. Maybe find a brand name at the same price as the import.

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    With the btus you've got, you should put racks on the ceiling, and make beef jerky. Your basement probably has a heat loss of about 20k/btus
  • Stan_14
    Stan_14 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks Hot Rod for the input. I figured I was worrying about nothing. As I went ahead and bought them anyhow. But I've been looking for specific information for over a month now just poking around the internet, and decided I was going to have to talk to someone. The furnace place that maintains my boiler specked out a 75k btu Modine, and they wanted 2k to install it. And they said as a company, they would not install anything that was not properly specked for the space. I can understand that as a policy. But pretty much they were telling me, if you want a hanging heater, this is what we will install and this is what we are going to charge. And they were not interested in getting the price down to something I can deal with. I priced my furnace and it is only an $1800 unit just to buy it outright. 2K to add a hanging unit to an already in place system seems about out of sorts to me. I like the $600 I spent for two units and installation materials much more. And that even includes another $120 taco zone valve.

    Paul48. To be honest, I believe my boiler is only rated for like 118k BTU's. Between the baseboards upstairs, and the 75k modine unit he specked for my basement, It must all add up to more than 118k btu's. But I assumed that its a bit like a 20 amp electrical circuit with 6 20 amp outlets on it. Your probably never going to draw more than 20 amps at once even with that many outlets and the ability to draw far more. But I'm not an HVAC guy, so I am guessing here. I figured that the 100K btu unit I got for the main basement was overkill, about 25k overkill based on what the boiler guy quoted me for. But they only had a choice of 50k and 100k. Nothing inbetween. And I have no idea if this thing will actually output that many BTU's anyhow. For all I know, that rating could be dubious coming from the china mill. But if it does put out enough heat to make jerky,,, Ill be sure to make and send you some. How good would that smell all through the house? Ummmmmmm
  • jacobsond
    jacobsond Member Posts: 86
    Wouldn't quick and simple and cheap have been 7500w electric ceiling heater similar to a Modine. I have one heating my shop. Does a good job even in the -20 degree temps in ND.Oversized heating like with AC is not a good idea.
    coming to you from warm and sunny ND