Needing guidance. Need to know what is realistic.
I'm here to learn.
I want radiant hot water heat for a small 600 sq ft house in the country.
I am determined & have time.
I've spent a lot of time & reading here to think about which type I want & why.
I want an easy to maintain system, with easy to find parts.
Meaning: if something breaks down, the old school stubborn hillbilly people I would have access to can fix it without thinking I built a spaceship.
It can't be something they'd refer to as "fancy" .
Yep. I said that. No one in my area even knows what the term hydronics means.
I have to say "boiler heat". I have access to 'heating guys' & plumbers. Much of what I learn here I will be doing myself. I will have a professional install the plumbing & do the important stuff, once I figure everything else out. I will probably have to import that person. Otherwise, there'd be a 100k btu oil boiler installed...because that's what they do here, & there ain't no one changing that.
By hot water radiant, I mean cast iron rads &/or cast iron baseboard.
This much is decided.
In floor would be wonderful, but is not going to happen.
No matter what, I'll be using fossil fuels. There is no way around this fact for me.
The choices are--oil, or electric.
Propane here is too expensive & I don't want a huge tank & the problems associated with propane in my area, like shortages & skyrocketing prices in the winter.
Getting a NG line to this house is not going to happen due to cost & distance & neighboring property.
As for oil, it's not really an option because there does not exist an oil boiler small enough for my house. To be honest, I'd like to get rid of the oil tanks in my basement & the existing chimney, which needs rebuilt anyway & not have that to worry about either one ever again.
Before everyone starts talking me out of electric, please lets 1st explore ways I could do electric without killing me budget-wise. It's a very small house, I have it 1/2 gutted & will be insulating a LOT. I need to explore the possibilities.
House is zone 5, I am guesstimating I will not need more than 30,000btus.
I disconnected an 80k btu forced air thermo-pride that short cycled constantly removed all ductwork.
I'd like help figuring out the potential heat loss calc things you all do on those spreadsheets.
I think, from reading here that this is where I should start.
I'd like to do that part now, mainly so I can learn how my choices & options for insulation & other things like windows affect the size of the system & the energy consumption. I tried playing around with a few that were linked to from here, but I am not sure I am doing it right or understand all of the terms because the #'s don't seem right.
I'd also like the system to be able to be heat pump air-water assisted LATER, but can not budget that pump in right now, & waiting a little longer might get me a better option for zone 5. At some point I will put in a very small wood burning stove probably a moreso squirrel for back up, this will come before a heat pump.
Also, is it realistic for me to consider used cast iron rads?
I need assistance in this area-it seems a lot of people here go the used rad route.
This would keep my costs down tremendously, because there is no shortage of used cast iron rads here-people beg you to take them out of their houses or sell them cheap on CL.
I do not know what to look for to tell the difference between steam & hot water rads so I need to know that. Also need to know what brands to look for that are easier to get parts for if needed.
I don't want the ornate ones, I like the more plain basic ones.
I've taken a couple of steps back from what I originally wanted to do (hydronic radiant in my walls for the whole house) when I realized it could end up too complicated to fix/maintain/if I have a problem. Plus, what I really want is the longer residual radiating time of the cast iron, with it's mass, as opposed to a faster responding system.
I have a medical issue, I have problems maintaining body temperature, despite tons of layers all winter long. It is a struggle. It's a rare issue & I am more sensitive to temperature swings that most people. I'd just like to be comfortable for a change & I think proper guidance on my heating system & insulation & sealing will allow me to have that. That being said, with my current forced air system, to be comfortable, I need to keep the heat at 73 for sedentary activities. I can tell you I seem to be able to go lower 2-3 degrees with radiant of any kind, even with a ceiling fan running, so I don't think it's just the drafts caused by FA heat that makes me so uncomfortable. I LOVE how the cast iron rads stay warm for so long, so cast iron it is