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What do you consider the best way to heat a house?

SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 369Member
edited March 8 in THE MAIN WALL

What do you consider the best way to heat a house? 50 votes

Steam boiler and cast iron radiators
38%
lchmbgearjammer2005SteamheadJamie HallHitzkupGary SmithChrisJPMJFredSlamDunkleonzAMservicesFriendlyFredAnthraciteEnergeticsinfo43brandonfMike_Sheppard1Matthiasthe_donut 19 votes
Water boiler with cast iron baseboards
2%
NY_Rob 1 vote
Water boiler with cast iron radiators
12%
Terry Obob eckkcoppCanuckerSuperJdoctorv 6 votes
Water boiler with fin tube convectors
0%
Water boiler with radiant floors
42%
Dan FoleyPaul PolletsScottSecorShaneMikeLDZorogeorgetry2hardJUGHNERichWellnessRayWohlfarthZmanSolid_Fuel_ManRickBlackfordmak62skaloracruxksanorthernsoulGroundUp 21 votes
Hydro air
0%
Forced air furnace
2%
John Mills 1 vote
Traditional heat pump
0%
Mini split heat pump
4%
RayHHot_water_fan 2 votes
Electric baseboards
0%
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Comments

  • lchmblchmb Posts: 2,778Member
    Steam boiler and cast iron radiators
    I will say I heat with wood only..have for 25 years... but if given the choice it would be a steamer...
  • SuperJSuperJ Posts: 189Member
    edited March 8
    Water boiler with cast iron radiators
    Would've voted for high efficiency boiler and micro zoned TRV'd low mass radiators (or low mass infloor heat).
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 369Member
    Naturally all choices would be selected assuming the highest efficiency furnace/boiler/heat pump.

    I use wood as well, but I can't always be home to feed the fire.
  • the_donutthe_donut Posts: 365Member
    Steam boiler and cast iron radiators
    SuperTech said:

    Naturally all choices would be selected assuming the highest efficiency furnace/boiler/heat pump.



    I use wood as well, but I can't always be home to feed the fire.

    You just need an automatic wood feeder.
  • AMservicesAMservices Posts: 339Member
    Steam boiler and cast iron radiators
    Vapor vacuum steam system.
    Nothing gives better balance, comfort and efficiency. Needs little too No electricity, very few moving parts, a long life expectancy, easy to maintain and I can heat a space the size of city block with one boiler.
    What's more efficient?
  • kcoppkcopp Posts: 3,049Member
    Water boiler with cast iron radiators
    You can have the best heating system... whatever choice.... if the house envelope is not tight and well insulated it really wont matter.
  • skalorskalor Posts: 11Member
    Water boiler with radiant floors
    I'm in no way a professional but if I was building from scratch I would do a water boiler with radiant floors. Probably even going to do staple up radiant under my kitchen floor because it's on the north side of my house and always seems cooler than the rest of the zone it's grouped with.
  • Larry WeingartenLarry Weingarten Posts: 1,305Member
    Hi, I would have liked to see radiant walls in the mix. Put the tubing close to windows for good heat balance... and of course a snug shell as kcopp says. B)

    Yours, Larry
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 8,876Member
    Steam boiler and cast iron radiators
    My issue with radiant in walls, ceilings and floors,especially concrete is it seems like everyone that posts even a minor issue wishes they were dead.


    I mean, not literally but they seem awfully upset.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • the_donutthe_donut Posts: 365Member
    Steam boiler and cast iron radiators
    > @ChrisJ said:
    > My issue with radiant in walls, ceilings and floors,especially concrete is it seems like everyone that posts even a minor issue wishes they were dead.
    >
    >
    > I mean, not literally but they seem awfully upset.

    Anything buried is a nightmare. Got 60' of concrete to break up when this other wet return goes. 30' of that return is through a studio. Going to be some s'plaining to do when that happens.
  • njtommynjtommy Posts: 1,096Member
    Definitely radiant floors even if it was for just floor warming. Mixed with some panel radiators with trvs.
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 369Member
    Lol, no one is voting for electric baseboards?

    We can add in panel rads and radiant walls with the radiant floors.
  • kcoppkcopp Posts: 3,049Member
    Water boiler with cast iron radiators
    I would think that panel rads would be better included in the cast iron radiators...
  • leonzleonz Posts: 212Member
    edited March 9
    Steam boiler and cast iron radiators
    Anthracite Coal underfed stoker fired steam heat OR Top Fed gravity hot water with cast iron radiators. .
  • RichRich Posts: 2,475Member
    Water boiler with radiant floors
    Hot water with radiant floors should have floors omitted . Ceilings are often a better option yet often overlooked and walls can be of use also .
    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: 8,050Member
    Air quality is becoming a big concern in comfort systems, follow Robert Beans teachings :) If you follow his reasoning then some air movement and treatment including humidity control would be part of the "best" systems.

    Passive solar, radiant surfaces, with air side component as needed, would be on my list.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • JackJack Posts: 1,013Member
    I'm really comfortable with my Rinnai gas direct vent wall furnace and mini-splits. Nice combination.
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Posts: 916Member
    edited March 8
    Water boiler with radiant floors
    I built from scratch in 2009, water and slab on grade radiant. 100% wood fired. Cast iron radiators for second floor. Would do it all the same again.

    Just piped in Weil McLain ECO70 as backup heat, will figure out how well that works, all said and done max of 110 degree return water to mod-con.
    Master electrician specialising in boiler and burner controls, multiple fuel systems, radiant system controls, building controls, and universal refrigeration tech.
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 331Member
    edited March 8
    Long term planning ......No heating expert here, but heard radiant plastic pipe was guaranteed for ~25 years...... what do you do after 25 -30 years, rip up the floor and replace the pipe??

    I've got a 60 year old monflow with cast iron baseboards and I plan on living here at least another 30 years. dad was 99.5. Very happy with this system
  • SuperTechSuperTech Posts: 369Member
    > @Leonard said:
    > Long term planning ......No heating expert here, but heard radiant plastic pipe was guaranteed for ~25 years...... what do you do after 25 -30 years, rip up the floor and replace the pipe??
    >
    > I've got a 60 year old monoflow with cast iron baseboards and I plan on living here at least another 30 years. dad was 99.5. Very happy with this system

    Then please vote accordingly
  • John MillsJohn Mills Posts: 825Member
    Forced air furnace
    Depends upon the budget. In a new house where A/C is needed, budget wise you can get pretty decent comfort from a modulating forced air furnace and have the ducts for A/C. If money is no object, I'd want radiant floor and a duct system for a heat pump for quick, mild weather heating and cooling.
  • RichRich Posts: 2,475Member
    Water boiler with radiant floors
    Leonard said:

    Long term planning ......No heating expert here, but heard radiant plastic pipe was guaranteed for ~25 years...... what do you do after 25 -30 years, rip up the floor and replace the pipe??

    I've got a 60 year old monflow with cast iron baseboards and I plan on living here at least another 30 years. dad was 99.5. Very happy with this system

    While warrantys may be 25 - 30 years the tubing ( Pex-A ) has been through rigorous testing and is expected to last longer than 100+ years .
    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
  • Solid_Fuel_ManSolid_Fuel_Man Posts: 916Member
    edited March 9
    Water boiler with radiant floors
    > @Leonard said:
    > Long term planning ......No heating expert here, but heard radiant plastic pipe was guaranteed for ~25 years...... what do you do after 25 -30 years, rip up the floor and replace the pipe??
    >
    > I've got a 60 year old monflow with cast iron baseboards and I plan on living here at least another 30 years. dad was 99.5. Very happy with this system

    I am always leery of "new materials or tech" as well. And certainly if its in concrete it's gotta work or abandon it. Pex-a at least has been in use in low temp closed loop radiant systems for well over 40 years in Europe where it was origionally developed. It was designed to be embeded in concrete, with that track record I used it. Not the Chinese stuff that we have seen the problems with splitting (think Kitec).

    But I have all soldered copper elsewhere, and install as such.
    Master electrician specialising in boiler and burner controls, multiple fuel systems, radiant system controls, building controls, and universal refrigeration tech.
  • hot rodhot rod Posts: 8,050Member
    Leonard said:

    Long term planning ......No heating expert here, but heard radiant plastic pipe was guaranteed for ~25 years...... what do you do after 25 -30 years, rip up the floor and replace the pipe??

    I've got a 60 year old monflow with cast iron baseboards and I plan on living here at least another 30 years. dad was 99.5. Very happy with this system

    What is the warranty on steel or copper pipe?

    I suspect plastics will outlast many copper or steel pipe systems, unless damaged or operated beyond the listing, pressure and temperature.


    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • Sal SantamauraSal Santamaura Posts: 239Member
    My answer is not among your poll's choices.

    Passive solar. :)
  • psb75psb75 Posts: 58Member
    Radiant woodstove.
    Or masonry heater, i.e. Russian.
  • Big EdBig Ed Posts: 1,055Member
    Water Radiant ...
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 8,876Member
    Steam boiler and cast iron radiators
    hot rod said:

    Leonard said:

    Long term planning ......No heating expert here, but heard radiant plastic pipe was guaranteed for ~25 years...... what do you do after 25 -30 years, rip up the floor and replace the pipe??

    I've got a 60 year old monflow with cast iron baseboards and I plan on living here at least another 30 years. dad was 99.5. Very happy with this system

    What is the warranty on steel or copper pipe?

    I suspect plastics will outlast many copper or steel pipe systems, unless damaged or operated beyond the listing, pressure and temperature.


    A good question,
    However, has anyone claimed warranty on pex?

    Is it like everything else, where they use the warranty as a feature to sell product but then do everything they can to get out of it? Such as charging absurd shipping and not stocking parts so it takes weeks, or months to get?

    Copper doesn't need a warranty, people know it outlasts most humans, if not several generations when used properly.


    That said, I'd have no problem using pex a in my home. B and C not so much. In fact, I may be running some pex a in the near future.


    But running hundreds of feet in a concrete floor scares me. No more than copper in that respect.

    For my own preference, cast iron radiators with steam.
    For people who "don't like ugly radiators" radiant of some sort.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment

    Steam system pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/ZgpNUTyckkmiEdAf9
    Central air project pictures
    https://goo.gl/photos/4JjnLStEq42sWsQo8
  • mikeg2015mikeg2015 Posts: 368Member
    Combo of cast iron radiant baseboard on exterior walls with a zoned VAV system with hydronic coils. Utilize HW coil in AHU to increase economy with a reverse return variable flow primary so its self balancing. Use occupancy sensors to control radiant heat.
  • RichRich Posts: 2,475Member
    Water boiler with radiant floors
    ChrisJ said:

    hot rod said:

    Leonard said:

    Long term planning ......No heating expert here, but heard radiant plastic pipe was guaranteed for ~25 years...... what do you do after 25 -30 years, rip up the floor and replace the pipe??

    I've got a 60 year old monflow with cast iron baseboards and I plan on living here at least another 30 years. dad was 99.5. Very happy with this system

    What is the warranty on steel or copper pipe?

    I suspect plastics will outlast many copper or steel pipe systems, unless damaged or operated beyond the listing, pressure and temperature.


    A good question,
    However, has anyone claimed warranty on pex?

    Is it like everything else, where they use the warranty as a feature to sell product but then do everything they can to get out of it? Such as charging absurd shipping and not stocking parts so it takes weeks, or months to get?

    Copper doesn't need a warranty, people know it outlasts most humans, if not several generations when used properly.


    That said, I'd have no problem using pex a in my home. B and C not so much. In fact, I may be running some pex a in the near future.


    But running hundreds of feet in a concrete floor scares me. No more than copper in that respect.

    For my own preference, cast iron radiators with steam.
    For people who "don't like ugly radiators" radiant of some sort.


    Most of the reputable companies have zero issue honoring the warranty they offer . Only had to have it done once in 32 years now . However , contrary to your belief that copper is so superior , I have ripped out literally tons of copper tubing with pinholes eroded fittings and a plethora of other issues . A few of those times the copper as was told to me was warrantied and when we contacted the manufacturer the very first thing they wanted was a water sample . When sent , each time the Ph was wrong or there was a chemical issue . So there's your 50 year copper tube guarantee explained
    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
  • SlamDunkSlamDunk Posts: 358Member
    edited March 11
    Steam boiler and cast iron radiators
    I was in Quebec when it was -20f and my friend was living in a house still [email protected] 75% done.
    He had styrofoam block walls filled with insulation foem/cement and radiant floors. It was the best heating , built home i have ever seen. second: regular house with steam; below the nc/sc line, anything else.
  • georgegeorge Posts: 54Member
    Water boiler with radiant floors
    When you do not have nat gas I think GEOTHERMAL s best
  • hot rodhot rod Posts: 8,050Member
    Rich said:

    ChrisJ said:

    hot rod said:

    Leonard said:

    Long term planning ......No heating expert here, but heard radiant plastic pipe was guaranteed for ~25 years...... what do you do after 25 -30 years, rip up the floor and replace the pipe??

    I've got a 60 year old monflow with cast iron baseboards and I plan on living here at least another 30 years. dad was 99.5. Very happy with this system

    What is the warranty on steel or copper pipe?

    I suspect plastics will outlast many copper or steel pipe systems, unless damaged or operated beyond the listing, pressure and temperature.


    A good question,
    However, has anyone claimed warranty on pex?

    Is it like everything else, where they use the warranty as a feature to sell product but then do everything they can to get out of it? Such as charging absurd shipping and not stocking parts so it takes weeks, or months to get?

    Copper doesn't need a warranty, people know it outlasts most humans, if not several generations when used properly.


    That said, I'd have no problem using pex a in my home. B and C not so much. In fact, I may be running some pex a in the near future.


    But running hundreds of feet in a concrete floor scares me. No more than copper in that respect.

    For my own preference, cast iron radiators with steam.
    For people who "don't like ugly radiators" radiant of some sort.


    Most of the reputable companies have zero issue honoring the warranty they offer . Only had to have it done once in 32 years now . However , contrary to your belief that copper is so superior , I have ripped out literally tons of copper tubing with pinholes eroded fittings and a plethora of other issues . A few of those times the copper as was told to me was warrantied and when we contacted the manufacturer the very first thing they wanted was a water sample . When sent , each time the Ph was wrong or there was a chemical issue . So there's your 50 year copper tube guarantee explained
    As public water suppliers continue to change treatment chemicals I suspect we will see more and more copper pin hole issues. Chloramines seem to be more and more common, now they are trying to figure out what to add to chloramine treatment to stop lead leaching from brass and copper pin holes.

    https://www.wwdmag.com/contaminants/chloramines-found-cause-leaks-copper-pipe-systems

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • Big EdBig Ed Posts: 1,055Member
    edited March 11
    How is Geo Thermal working out ... Seems expensive to install and run .Wells , condensers and Pumps running all the time ... Boiler back ups... I know it's just moving energy but the electric meter spins like crazy on the units that I have seen , do you have to invest another 100k for solar panels to off set ?
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • kcoppkcopp Posts: 3,049Member
    Water boiler with cast iron radiators
    I have a contractor friend who just built a place here in NH. He did radiant tubing slab on grade driven by Geo.
    It does work. HUGE money up front.
    Needed the rebate money to make it cost effective.... but that is a different section of the wall to talk about that.
  • DZoroDZoro Posts: 302Member
    Water boiler with radiant floors
    Radiant, ODR, 95%, combined with Mini-split heat pumps. Heat pumps give you the heat during pre and post winter times. Where at those times operate with more efficient than boiler systems. Have cooling benefit in the summer. Best of both worlds.
  • hot rodhot rod Posts: 8,050Member
    edited March 11
    The key is to find the best operating condition. If you could ideally heat the home with 90° SWT compared to 140° the numbers improve. Technology continues to improved and has in fact since this issue was published.


    https://www.caleffi.com/sites/default/files/coll_attach_file/idronics_9_0.pdf
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 8,200Member
    Steam boiler and cast iron radiators
    I voted for steam -- but this is really a much more complex question. For a new build anywhere south of 50 north -- that is all of the US and the actually populated part of Canada (!), I'd have to say passive or near passive solar. I have been involved in the construction of several such buildings (houses and a school cafeteria and a couple of others) in New England (which doesn't have that great a climate for solar) and they work. They don't even look funny. However, what they do need is really good architecture and engineering to take best advantage of the sun, some really good storage mass built in, terrific insulation, high efficiency air to air heat exchanges (sensible only, not latent -- we tried latent and trust me, it's a real pain) and, perhaps more important than anything, truly fanatical attention to detail during construction. The advantage comes in running and maintenance, of course, which is minimal. Do you get your money back (they do cost more)? Hard to say.

    But that only works for new construction. I have yet to see a way to retrofit passive solar -- and even active solar is pretty dubious. For updating an older house, my own feeling is that one has to consider two aspects separately: the part of the system which moves heat around the structure and delivers it to the various spaces, and the part that generates the heat in the first place. As a sort of general thing, I'd be very wary of changing the moving delivery part, with the sole exception of changing from gravity to pumped hot water -- and even there I'd be cautious. I certainly wouldn't change steam to hot water, or vice versa, nor either one to forced air or vice versa. On the heat generator side, though, if cost is no object I'd surely take a look at geothermal source heat pumps, provided the heat moving system can operate at relatively low temperatures. I'd love to see more modulation available for residential steam boilers, but there -- and modulating condensing boilers for hot water and heat pumps in general -- again one has to look dispassionately at the original purchase costs, life, and ongoing maintenance costs relative to much simpler equipment to make an intelligent choice.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • the_donutthe_donut Posts: 365Member
    Steam boiler and cast iron radiators
    Or just build on a hot spring and you are golden. Free heat
  • Larry WeingartenLarry Weingarten Posts: 1,305Member
    I don't know where it fits in the poll, but I built a gravity driven, radiant system in the walls, which is solar powered. It's silent and comfortable. It keeps the house at 70* with 80* water.

    Yours, Larry
«1
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