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.

best system for new construction

Crankin Member Posts: 2
Hello ,just stumbled across this site and have a question , what would be the recommended system for new house 2 story 4300 sq ft conditioned space , was thinking 4 zones , will have r42 2 nd floor ceiling r 27 walls . was H.E. wall hung but been seeing lots of maintenance involved . whats the highest rated propane boiler that is not so high tech and what would be the most cost effective way to go . Was thinking hydronic system with 2 air handlers to handle the a/c units , any thoughts would be appreciated .


  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,447
    The best type of system kind of depends on your preferences.
    Keep in mind that in order to get HE out of an HE boiler you have to install a system designed to run on low temp water. In floor radiant and panels radiators are good choices.

    I disagree with the notion that HE boilers are higher maintenance.
    I have a triangle tube prestige in my house for about 8 years and have done nothing but occasionally visually inspect and check the combustion, never even had adjust it.

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,605
    Good day, You'll find a number of opinions here. High efficiency and little to no maintenance costs rarely go in the same sentence. If you had endless money you would want to look into radiators. Yes. I'm thinking two systems, one for heat and one for cooling.

    If you do go warm air, why get a high efficiency boiler? Normally they need hotter water, which isn't conclusive to condensate, high efficiency that is. That was techno talk. We can all explain further

    And try not to think like an educated consumer. You could possibly get all revved up on a certain brand but then get tunnel vision. Meaning, you buy brand x but only two sub par contractors work on these in your area.

    I think some day society will pay more attention to the contractor than the boiler brand. The 1980s are over, not everyone can work on these modern systems

    Anyway best of luck exciting times for you

    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,111
    Although I'm well known here as a steam man, I'd agree by and large with @Zman . The only caution on that that I might make is to make sure that your architect and heating contractor both really know what they are doing -- and that you and your family are comfortable with the one real drawback to radiant, which is that it responds somewhere between slowly and very slowly to changes in interior temperature settings. It holds a temperature marvellously well, and can be very comfortable -- but don't expect setbacks.

    With regard to the architect and hvac contractor -- they must be aware that radiant systems do need to have attention paid to floor construction and finish to play well together.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Jean-David Beyer
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    You mention hydro air why?
  • njtommy
    njtommy Member Posts: 1,105
    Hydro air would be a good option if the coils are sized correctly with 140 swt and a 30 delta T or more. Also would be a nice pairing with a heat pump to help save some money on Propane depending on his location and electric rates.
  • Brewbeer
    Brewbeer Member Posts: 616
    If I were going to build a new house i would put in radiant floor heat with separate air conditioning system. If radiant floor was out of the budget, I'd consider radiant panels, or even extra long baseboard convectors, coupled to a mod con boiler.
    Hydronics inspired homeowner with self-designed high efficiency low temperature baseboard system and professionally installed mod-con boiler with indirect DHW. My system design thread: http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/154385
    System Photo: https://us.v-cdn.net/5021738/uploads/FileUpload/79/451e1f19a1e5b345e0951fbe1ff6ca.jpg
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    I would also go with seperate systems. Radiant ceilings are great also. As a matter of fact I would use radiant ceilings, and floors. Floors in baths, and concrete / tiled-areas. Radiant in all others. I have rooms with both.

    I really don't follow the hydro air option other than the ductwork is in place for ac. You still have an airhandler why buy a boiler. The only advantage would be the ability to run some radiant, or other water based emitters off the boiler.
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,804
    i no longer do new construction but when i did, we did many homes entirely with radiant, some with cast iron baseboard, and a few with both. SpacePak or Unico AC systems.

    If I were to build a house for myself, I'd still go that way. You have a blank canvas to work with, if the budget allows go radiant. Find a really good hydronic contractor.
    Steve Minnich
    Paul S_3
  • njtommy
    njtommy Member Posts: 1,105
    edited October 2016
    I do see your point Gordy and do agree that other methods of radiant are better.

    A plus side of using a boiler is a nice indirect for DHW.
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,804
    Yeah I'm not a fan of hydro-air at all. Seems counter-intuitive to me.
    Steve Minnich
    GordySolid_Fuel_ManNew England SteamWorkskcopp
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Assuming the envelope is good, optimal system choice depends in large part on both local energy costs and local climate conditions.
  • keyote
    keyote Member Posts: 659
    Im doing a gut reno of about that size with super insulation and triple pane windows etc. I agree when youre that tight you want a low temp system like radiant which allows a mod con boiler I did radiant floors on the top floor I will be doing radiant ceilings in most of the rest of the house. It works as well but i think is easier to install unless you are doing it all in concrete slabs. believe it or not your biggest problem in a house like that is designing a system that can produce that little amount of energy great guys on here can probably help you. im not sure of your area if youre not in alaska or maine and you intend to do central air i would look in to mini split heat pumps might be all you need though i dont think its quite a cozy a type of heat, you might ask about a geo heat pump for to do radiant heating and cooling the same can do both or you can integrate chill beams and other technologies
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    Kurt brings up a stellar point. That is local energy costs, and climate which we know nothing about the Op's situation.

    Example does radiant make sense in Seattle with a high R value envelope? Or does it make more sense in a high r envelope in Wisconsin.

    Radiant based systems can be used all most anywhere. The up front costs are pivotal though. Especially in low HDD regions.

    Radiant ceilings can be much cheaper to install in low load homes since the benefit of radiant floor temps to the foot would be no more than neutral unless forced. Radiant ceilings could allow less tube density with higher water temps which would still be low enough to allow condensing benefits. Ceilings allow a more useful radiant panel area than floors also. No worries about floor coverings, cabinets etc.

    Then again even panel rads allow for same benefits when properly sized. So long as the user is okay with the units in the space.

    We can all ramble however more information is needed.
  • Crankin
    Crankin Member Posts: 2
    House is located in Long Island 5 degree windy winters , 90 degree humid summers so a/c is a must have , would radiant heat be something I could run all the tubing my self to save on the cost of that system . I'm a builder so as long as I knew what was required I could do that ..... but I assume duct work is required for the a/c units , most new houses here are going with the air hadlers for heat /ac which is what I was quoted by one contractor . Anybody on this site work in Long island area feel free to contact me if interested in looking at this project . Thanks for all the input
  • Formerly
    Formerly Member Posts: 79
    What part of LI?
  • keyote
    keyote Member Posts: 659
    yes you can do it yourself ceiling probably easier, design in 30 day loopcad trial gives heat cool loads all engineering data. minisplit better than ductwork for ac
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    edited December 2016
    What are your energy costs like? Electricity, oil, LPG/NG?