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New Workshop/Barn/Commercial Kitchen

LegendsCreek Member Posts: 59
edited January 2018 in Radiant Heating
We are in the process of planning right now and have hired someone to put a 2 story post and beam barn/workshop/commercial kitchen on our property.

We decided on doing radiant heat because the Dept of health doesn't want forced air for food safety reasons, and we don't want to ruin the post and beam running radiators everywhere (will be doing radiators on second floor later on through).

The building is going to be 24x36, and divided into 3 areas. Left side for wintering our small herd of goats, middle for workshop, product packaging, and right side for kitchen/bathroom/utility room and staircase to second floor. All these sections will have walls between them. Exterior walls will be insulated, and the second floor will be insulated on the ceiling, and eventually drywall will be put over it as we are doing standard construction on floor 2 and not post and beam.

We are looking to do this system with propane as will need it over there anyway for cooking and heating our greenhouse next door. We were considering an on demand but everything we are reading says that would be a mistake, and we should go with something like one of the Polaris high efficiency hot water heaters. What do you all think of one of those for my building size? Is there anything like them comparable that are less expensive? Do I need to hire a designer or is there any way I can figure out the BTU I need myself?

Someone we spoke with also recommended not running the radiant under the floors where the livestock will be due to needing to keep the door cracked open so they can get in and out on their own, and it would waste heat, but I am worried the heat will be lost anyway if we don't heat it, or that it will make the floor above, and walls beside it cold.

I would appreciate some of your wisdom as it has helped me so well in the past. Thanks a lot.


  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,330
    It sounds like a Mod/Con boiler with indirect DHW would fit the bill. What are your domestic needs? Leaving the door cracked gives away heat either way. Not sure why radiant would be an issue.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • LegendsCreek
    LegendsCreek Member Posts: 59
    The only need for hot water will be hand washing, and light kitchen use. I did consider a mod/con also. Last year we put a Navian in a house I flipped and having the indirect hot water was great, but I read that Navian don't do well with radiant floor heating.

    I only worry that for a tankless I will end up burning propane all day long which I certainly don't want to do, but I am still learning and want to make sure that we make the right decision so it doesn't end up in costly mistakes later on.
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 494
    You can buy beautiful radiator covers and use steel radiators
    or panel radiators with TRV's without needing floor heat. The regular steel radiators or cast iron radiators can be installed with TRV's to control the temperature while you are out of the building.
    Why are you not building just an attached partially enclosed
    un-insulated lean too with a sliding door to keep the weather out of the loafing shed for the goats bedding area???

    You only need access to check the livestock waterer and when feeding and mucking out the loafing shed.

    That would be simpler to do and the goats will be fine as long as they have a deep bed of straw and sand to lay on and
    having a concrete floor for the loafing shed will aid you in cleaning it every week as needed.
    By sealing it off you reduce manure odors entering the work area and loosing heat.

    Are you installing a hay and straw trap door on the second floor to drop hay and straw down to the bedding area?????

  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,876
    Radiant floor with a mod/con +an indirect is the way to go. Forget about a tanklees water heater. They are not designed, controlled or approved for space heating. It cost more up front to do it right, but it's a lot less in the long run and without all the stress.

    Proper design is essential to getting radiant right. It's the first step and there's no way around it. Do you have a good radiant designer? Several men on this site are experts that also design systems.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    That would be a first.......commercial kitchen with light hot water needs? Are there any restrictions to livestock in the same dwelling as a commercial kitchen? S.I.P. walls are perfect for post and beam.
  • LegendsCreek
    LegendsCreek Member Posts: 59
    Thanks a lot for all the advice!

    We aren't using the kitchen for typical uses. We manufacture personal care products and there is no water in any of our products so our hot water uses will be for cleaning only. Who knows where the business may expand in the future so I want to make sure we put in a system capable of current and future demands.

    Dept of Health says we can put the goats in the same building. There are plenty of businesses here that do it, one that is actually a restaurant/bakery with a barn on the other side of it. We have 52 acres, but lots of wetlands which makes building a challenge so we are trying to put everything into 1 building where utilities are close.

    There will be a lean-to on the side of the barn where the goats will be. The heated stall will be for pregnant does, and their kids. If they give birth outside in winter, kids typically die and we like to keep the moms separate and stress free for the first few days of life with their kids.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,899
    Where is this that forced air is not allowed?
    Radient heat is great but in a commercial kitchen i dont know. Very little control once its up to temperature. What do you do when that kitchen is 90+°f. you dont need a heated floor that will take a while to cool down.
    Using it to take the chill off the floor would be fine but still need something else to control the space temperature.
    Your going to have a exhaust hood so you'll need some type of make up air system preferably heated.
  • LegendsCreek
    LegendsCreek Member Posts: 59
    There won't be an exhaust hood or anything like that. The kitchen won't typically be hot, and is primarily going to be used for bottling and packaging personal care products. There will be a small stove, a range, refrigerator, etc. I was told they don't like to see forced air in a kitchen but we are meeting with them today to get more specifics. Would also rather it be too hot, than too cold, and won't be running the heat spring - fall.