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QC Radiant Heat plan with couple specific questions
Hello, FNG here with gut remodel project in north central Illinois where I plan on radiant heat throughout. I found this forum last night and figured I might ask you experts to QC my plan and possibly answer a couple specific questions. Thank you in advance.
1971 home north of Rockford, IL just south of Wisconsin border. 2 - story with walkout lower level. Big picture plan: I'm taking the existing attached garage and taking down the wall between it and the living room on the other side and turning the garage into living space - creating a large living room with vaulted ceilings. I'm then building an attached garage addition (1700 square foot) with a span-crete floor with additional 1700 square foot beneath the garage as work shop. Main level square footage: 2500. Lower level walk-out square footage: 1700. Main level garage: 1700. Lower level garage / workshop: 1700. Total sq. ft.: 7600.
Before I recently gutted the existing house, I heated it with two wood burning Avalon Olympic stoves. Natural Gas is unavailable, as the property is very rural. As a result, I had to rely on propane forced air as my 'backup'. The house was very poorly insulated and I plan to really prioritize insulation during the remodel and addition construction.
I'm interested in removing the forced air propane system completely and installing a Switzer wood gasification boiler in the lower level shop under the garage. (Also considering a Heatmaster G400, but leaning towards Switzer). I will need a propane boiler as a backup system for when I'm gone and can't feed the wood boiler. Hoping for domestic hot water with this system, too.
Looking to install pex tubing in concrete in both lower level workshop and main garage. Only plan on heating these areas to 50 degrees or so. In the main upper level of the house I plan on pouring concrete over the existing garage floor / concrete slab (new living space) and putting pex tubing / radiant heat in that. Then a floating floor. Where weight is a concern, I'm considering gyp-crete with matching floating floor - most likely engineered hardwood.
Downstairs lower level I'm stuck. I'm removing the forced air system in the ceilings to free up some ceiling height. But, if i install radiant down there - I need to insulate the concrete slab and then pour concrete or gyp-crete on top of that. Ideally, I'd like concrete and then put a nice acid stain or polish on the concrete for a finished floor. My other thought was to install radiant ceiling heat in the lower level. So, I'd have lower level ceiling radiant and main level floor radiant. I imagine the pex tubing would be separated by insulation between.
Couple questions: What is the minimum amount of insulation and concrete thickness I can get away with to have an effective radiant floor heat on the lower level. I imagine busting up the existing concrete floor and then insulating and pouring more concrete is probably not be feasible. I am also unable to insulate around the entire perimeter of the lower level because of the existing garage slab on the south, and a walkout concrete patio to the north. Is insulation just on top of the concrete sufficient? I'm really looking at what the minimum amount of ceiling height i will lose to get floor radiant. And if too much, whether the ceiling option is feasible for a lower level with concrete slab?
Finally I'm looking for an expert in the area to design the system. Someone who is ideally familiar with wood boilers and can help with a propane backup. Calculate heat loss / BTUs required, etc etc.
Anyone from northern illinois or southern wisconsin know someone?
Thanks for your time and thanks in advance for any info.