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Radiators for a newish residence...

SFjames
SFjames Member Posts: 4
Hi All, I have a small home in Northern California. In the town of Winters. It is an on grade construction and two stories. Built about 1990. This is going to be a retirement home. My wife has dust mite allergies and forced air aggravates them no matter how much one cleans. I am looking to installing a AC mini-split system.

For heat I was playing around with the thought of old fashioned radiators.

The issue is that we are doing a large remodel of the garage this spring and I am moving all hot water tank to a closet on the new 2nd floor roof deck. I also created a 3x3 closet so that we can move the attic mounted heat/ac to that closet. I need to get it out to seal it up for insulation.

The problem is that there will be no place on the ground floor one could put a boiler that would allow for "drain back". Is there any steam heat system design with a boiler on the second floor? Or, would I have to go to circulating hot water?

Any thoughts for the newbie would be welcome.

Thanks, JD.

Comments

  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,390
    Depending on your hot water needs a wall hung Combi hot water boiler w/ radiators could fit the bill.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    Your best choice would be hot water, and panel radiators. So..........you're doing a major remodel, and can't seem to find any space for a heating system? You want to put it in an in-accessible area, in a tiny closet, making it impossible to service?
  • SFjames
    SFjames Member Posts: 4
    We have some serious constraints in the remodel. There is going to be a second floor roof deck over 1/2 of the new garage. On that roof deck, up against the 2nd story, will be two three foot by three foot utility closets. Each one will have a full sized door that opens onto the roof deck. Very good access.

    We tend to like old things. The garage is being set up for me to work on old cars and other things. Zero ignition sources for the garage is a must for my usage.

    I suspect, based on the limited reading I have done ( Dan's books are on order) that I will have to do hot water and not steam.

    What I was asking was, is there a way to do steam when the boiler is on the second floor and the radiators are on a first and second floor? I doubt it, but I thought I would ask.

    As for the radiators, I would like to source some old cast iron ones.

    James.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,897
    You can do stem with the boiler on an upper floor and radiators below. The question is, do you really want to? What is needed is a condensate receiver at the bottom of the system, and a boiler feed pump to get the condensate back to the boiler.

    In your situation, though, I would think that a hot water system would be a good deal easier to install -- particularly since there are remarkably small hot water boilers, and the piping, if done intelligently, can also be rather compact.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    MilanD
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Dave Springer used to live in Winters. Not sure if he's still there, but you'd be hard pressed to find a better hydronic designer anywhere.
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,390
    Cast iron radiators are a real possibility.
    You can certainly make the system look older.... but perform new.
    A Steam system is really impractical.
  • SFjames
    SFjames Member Posts: 4
    After a first pass through three of Dan's books, I must admit I am disappointed. The information is fine for those with existing systems. It is near worthless for the majority of homes built in the use since the 1960's. Urban sprawl, the majority of home built in the USA in the last 60 years, either have no basements or are flat pad construction.

    There is nothing in his books that talks directly about the challenges and issues steam heat design when there is nothing in the architecture that allows for a basement or even the proper drop in piping for such homes.

    He talks about condensate pumps, but if on a flat pad construction one has radiators on the ground floor, how can one slope the pipes 1' every 10 feet without ripping up the pad?

    Yes, hot water is the obvious solution, but I had hoped that his books would have yielded a flat pad steam solution or even some discussions about it.

    I will look up Dave Springer, since it is a 10 minute bicycle to his door from mine if he is still living there. I guess hot water and not steam will be the only reasonable path.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,897
    Well, I'll take issue with you, @SFjames , on one point - while a good many homes built since the 1960s don't have basements, a good many do. However, since you are from California you are probably not aware of what goes on in the rest of the country, so I'll forgive you...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    KC_Jonesdelta T
  • SFjames
    SFjames Member Posts: 4
    I will grant you that my view is stilted by the fact I was born and have lived in California. I also must stand corrected on my assumptions as to where the housing was built in the last 50 years and in many other ways.

    I was corrected by reading this:

    http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/housing_patterns/pdf/Housing by Year Built.pdf

    This document also list the types of heating equipment in use in the USA over time.

    James