Input assistance needed for design
At the time of construction back in 2006, I laid pex tubing on 12” centers throughout my entire basement floor with the intent of eventually installing a boiler for radiant heat. There are 2 loops in the garage(to keep total loop lengths less than 300’- 2 @ 200’), a bathroom zone, a foyer zone, 2 loops in a rec room similar to garage, and a zone for each bedroom. The loops to the bedrooms are terminated at their own junction box just outside the bedrooms and would need to be feed with a supply and return line from the boiler closet via the drop ceiling cavity. All other loops come up through floor in boiler closet.
The house is located in Delaware County, NY. The basement floor is 4000 psi concrete with added fiber for strength. The pex is tied down to wire mesh in concrete and there is plastic sheeting and 1” thick insulation foam under the concrete.
The loops were run to distribution bars that were pressurized to 6-10psi 15 years ago. The gauges still read this amount and I haven’t done anything with the radiant heat since pouring slab, but I’m ready to add a boiler.
I have a closet in the basement that is 38” wide, around 10’ long, with about 12’ of ceiling height. The boiler could go on either end of the closet. The loops run up through the floor mid closet about 12” off back wall, with the exception of the two bedroom loops 30’ away.
The basement was built using an ARXX wall system. Kind of like foam LEGO blocks with 2” of foam on each side, and 8” of reinforced vertical concrete within the foam walls. The interior basement is finished in Sheetrock, and has a 9’ drop ceiling throughout with coffer lighting. The entire exterior basement is covered with half-inch textured hardy board. There are HI-E argon filled Andersen casement windows in the walls throughout the basement. Overall dimensions of the basement is 78’x28’. Two 14’x14’ bedrooms on one end with low pile carpet, an L shaped garage on the other end with existing concrete. The bathroom is approximately 10’x12’ with linoleum. The foyer is 12’x12’ with linoleum over concrete. And the rec room makes up the rest of square footage with a laminate floor. Again, all rooms 9’ high with 2’x2’ drop ceiling tiles.
Regarding boiler, I’m not sure what to get nor do I know much about the different brands. My entire upstairs is heated by an oil fired forced hot air furnace. I have an existing 500 gallon above ground oil tank that I put kerosene in because it’s outdoors for the winter time and I use about a half tank throughout the winter. The entire downstairs is heated by electric radiant baseboard heat at the moment and for the last 15 years.
I’d like to be able to put a direct vent boiler in this 3 x 10 closet I have downstairs. It’s going to be a pain to drill a hole through the existing wall, but there’s plenty of space above the drop ceiling because the basement walls are actually 13 feet high. I currently have a propane stove supplied by a 100 gallon propane tank just outside the basement walls, but I’m considering getting rid of it and going with an electric stove because it just doesn’t heat water or heat the oven quick enough with propane. I can usually get two years or more out of 100 gallon propane tank just using it for the stove/oven. But I would consider getting larger propane tanks if a propane boiler was recommended. Just not sure what size propane tank/s. I would have to fill the tanks in the Fall and be sure the amount of propane would last until at least March as our driveway is 1000’ uphill as it pertains to propane delivery.
So I suppose question #1 is what type of boiler would you recommend considering my layout and scope of work. I think a direct vent system would probably be the easiest and very efficient. There is a wraparound deck going around the entire house separating the basement from the upper level so the direct vent would be just underneath the deck, however I don’t see that being a problem at all. We never open the basement windows. Ever. But, there is a chase just above the intended boiler closet in a bedroom upstairs that I could penetrate through the roof for a traditional double wall b-vent chimney if need be. There is no access to the attic at this time as this is a modular home. I believe there’s 18 inches of insulation just above the ceiling on the second floor into the attic and I’ve never been up there nor have seen it. But there is a 2’ x 2’ jog in the bedroom just above this boiler closet downstairs that I could utilize to run a chimney pipe if necessary.
The house is very well insulated downstairs and there is a set of stairs going up with a stairwell to a door that I usually leave open so the heat can go upstairs to keep everything from freezing in the event I have a problem with the oil furnace upstairs. I ran out of oil one year. I usually set the upper heat at 50 with the hot air furnace and I set the electric baseboard heat downstairs to 45 when the home is not in use in the winter. There is usually activity at the home at least monthly as this is a vacation home. And I’ve never had a problem in 15 years. The basement is like a meat locker in the summer often 20° cooler then outdoors during the summer. The walls are very well insulated.
I have a plumber friend and a furnace friend that would help me set up everything with some simple instruction and pointers. However, neither have done a radiant system. Basically at this point I’m looking to see what size boiler I should get, how it should be fueled whether by propane or oil, and how to set up the zone valves and circulators etc. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys. Looking forward to any constructive input.
I can send pictures and a layout of the basement if necessary the next time I go to the home.
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