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Determining Heating for New House already under construction

Hello, I'm new to this forum. I building a new home and I'm trying to determine how to heat the structure. I've been contemplating using an outdoor wood furnace with radiant floor heating. But have some questions regarding the whole system. To start, I will give you some information on where I'm located.

I live in the mountains of Southwest Virginia and I personally live at about 2,400 ft above sea level. I live in a valley between mountains and this causes a lot of wind to come out of the west. I have no tree barrier around the home in order to block the wind. Trees would completely destroy the views we have so no trees will be planted.

Now about my project.

The main floor of the home is about 3,200 sq ft on top of a crawl space. There is a partial second floor of 1,620 sq ft. About 1,020 sq ft of the upstairs is over the main floor but 600 sq ft is sticking out over a concrete porch below. There are lots of doors and windows in all the walls on the main floor, especially the south facing wall which should help with winter sun and passive solar heat and where possible on the second floor. 1,600 sq ft of the main floor is a great room and has vaulted ceilings with a ceiling height of about 20ft the rest of the main floor has ceiling height about of 10ft. The second floor actually over looks the great room like a loft. The second floor has a height of about 8ft. My project is completely dried in already and I didn't think of this while doing the framing, so I put down regular subfloor instead grooved subfloor for the tubing. Plus I'm putting down wood floor in most of the house, so I've been planning on putting the radiant tubing under the subfloor in the crawl space and in the joist space for the second floor. I hope that is enough. This is 100% where the owner is the general contractor and in most cases the subcontractor as well and I live in an area where detailed plans aren't required so I don't have any specific plans. I'm working on putting a floor plan together so I can send off to get someone to design a radiant system for me. I hope this is enough about the project, but if not please ask.

My questions are which outdoor wood furnace is going to be better for my project? I've heard that fire boxes made out of stainless has issues and that computer boards are expensive to replace so you don't want a system with those either. Also wondering about the radiant under the subfloor if that will heat the house appropriately? I'm also concerned about a back up system. I travel in the winter time and have no one that I could ask to come and fill the furnace on a daily basis. I was planning on reaching out to Radiantec on designing the radiant system. I picked them because their website says they have been dealing with radiant since 1979. Is that a reputable company or is there someone else that I should reach out to? What problems or issues might I run into? I know that getting this right is critical to the enjoyment of the new house. I also don't have the money to make mistakes so really trying would like to make informed decisions. I also picked radiant because it is my understanding that the pumps to move the water around doesn't take a lot of electricity. At some point I would like to move to Solar energy. There are a lot of different systems out there and I'm really looking for guidance without someone just trying to sell me whatever product they have just because I'm in need. I would also say that I'm building this debt free so really need to conserve on cost as much as possible without sacrificing heat and comfortableness in the winter.

Comments

  • GWGW Posts: 3,428Member
    Rodney, I’m not sure how many people here do wood fuel.

    Radiant- sounds like they may know what they’re doing. But who knows.

    Back up heat- yes. I recommend you get some heating contractor that has a good reputation for installation and service. That may seem obvious but unfortunately it’s not super easy to nail both.

    Gary
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    www.wilsonph.com
    [email protected]
  • IronmanIronman Posts: 5,125Member
    What's your locale? I'm near Staunton.

    Search this site if you want to know some of the disasters online radiant peddlers have caused. Too many unsuspecting folks have been sold a bill of goods thinking they're getting a real bargain. Instead, they got a radiant wreck.
    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Rich_49Rich_49 Posts: 2,529Member
    You stated :

    " I was planning on reaching out to Radiantec on designing the radiant system. I picked them because their website says they have been dealing with radiant since 1979. Is that a reputable company or is there someone else that I should reach out to? "


    You can ask me why if you must but I personally advise against having these folks design your system or even buy any type of component from them . Yes , i have had the great displeasure of attempting to service what they sold and designed for some very unfortunate souls . Many times .

    You'll want a boiler that is a gasification type , and is not open to the atmosphere . A generous buffer or Thermal storage tank is not negotiable , you need it . A boiler at least capable of keeping the home from freezing while you're away . What type fuels are available in your location ? The tank can be sized and configured to accept solar thermal at a later date . Electric water to water heat pump is even a good option here . It will use stored water from the thermal storage tank and utilizing a setpoint mixing valve to increase source side supply temps to 70* can give you a machine COP of near 7 - 8 . Multi source heat pumps are a very smart investment since you have the ability to use wood boilers , solar thermal , ground source heat pumps .

    You're in the right place for competent help for sure .
    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
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • RodneyDyeRodneyDye Posts: 4Member
    Thanks GW! I will try to find someone.
  • RodneyDyeRodneyDye Posts: 4Member
    Ironman, I live in Bland VA. It is about 2.5 hours south of Staunton.
  • RodneyDyeRodneyDye Posts: 4Member
    Thanks Rich for the info regarding Radiantec! You've also given me a lot of things to look through as well. More decisions :)!
  • Rich_49Rich_49 Posts: 2,529Member
    Smart choices and investments now will last a long time .
    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
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 3,080Member
    Despite your horse-before-the-cart scenario, I would recommend you immediately contact and hire @Ironman, if he's available, to at least design the system and give you the best options.
    You only one to do it once, and do it right, and he's one of the best.
    steve
  • george_42george_42 Posts: 62Member
    I built a new home last year in central Pa and installed geothermal with vertical wells .Home is about 2800 sq ft and insulated well, I put a kilowatt meter on just the geothermal unit on Sept 9 and as of 1-18 -18 I have used 2936 kw to heat and cool. That is about $300 of electric (climatmaster 21)
  • lchmblchmb Posts: 2,942Member
    just a thought but you'll need something to maintain temp in the wood boiler while your gone. You dont want it freezing solid (does it get that cold down there?) so figure the fuel and cost for that as well..
  • Rich_49Rich_49 Posts: 2,529Member
    If you read George's post it is impressive . Think that for approximately 1/2 to 2/3 the initial cost you could do 2 times better using solar thermal and your wood boiler . Just sayin .
    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
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,675Member
    I have a gasification wood boiler in my shop/ office. Know that wood burning is a lot of work, it really only pencils out if you do your own wood gathering.
    If you want some renewable and plan on buying the fuel I would look at a pellet boiler, easier to control, less mess.
    I'd also go with a top brand, they burn clean and have high tech controls. Froling, EVO, Econoburn are a few.

    Air to water heat pumps are another, somewhat newer option, it takes the cost of drilling or trenching out of the cost.

    There are so many good choices for hydronics, work with an area pro to learn what works best in your neck of the woods.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
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