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Electric heat source for radiant
I'm a retired CA general contractor that built my own home in NorCal, completed in 2005. The heating system was a professionally designed hydronic system. It uses a Munchkin T-80 boiler anchoring a 3 zone closed loop system; indirect DHW, Hydronic forced air for 2000sf upstairs, and infloor hydronic in a 2000 sf slab. I also insulated well above Title 24 and added an ERV.
Unfortunately, the energy costs were horrific for an area that rarely sees temps below freezing. in spite of only intermittent loads from electric appliances like oven, dryer, fridge, PG&E hit me for more about $300/mo for power. In addition, the propane use exceeded over 500 gals year so yearly energy costs were $5-6000. We mainly used a MasterCool evaporative for cooling which worked fine and wood heat to ease the heating costs with little effect and more hassle. I also became somewhat competent at keeping the Munchkin operational, including getting a warranty replacement after only 3 years of use. even that didn't end the reliability issues.
Last November, I finally couldn't keep the unit running. We survived the winter on wood heat and a propane on demand for hot water. We had installed PV solar so we are changing over to electric based comforts. Though we installed a York air to air heat pump and I thought it would handle the basic needs for the whole house but downstairs really needs the hydronic back on. I foolishly let the old air mover unit go but all the other pumps, controllers, indirect storage are still (somewhat) intact.
My question: I've prepaid my electric for the rest of my days with a massive PV array. Ideally, I SHOULD have installed an Air to Water unit and built from that. Now, after a very expensive winter and also concerns on if this is my "forever" house, what suggestions are there to spec an electric heat source for the infloor system. BTW, rooftop water heating would be a stretch due to short solar exposure during the heating season. I also set the t-80 aside knowing there is a source for replacement parts but it would be a hard sell after the problems I've had. Hell, an inline hot tub heater would do as well for $150.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts, Brad King.
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