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Underfloor heat project: Radiantec or Not?

We live in WI and have a 1969 ranch heated by a natural gas boiler with 2 baseboard radiant heat zones; 1 serves the Lower level (LL) (1350SF walk out basement rec room, 1 bdrm + 1 bath) and 1 that serves the main floor (MF) (1550SF LR, DR, Kitch, 1Bath, 2 bedrooms). We want to replace the MF zone with underfloor heating and keep the LL BBRs as is. We will replace the old 80% boiler with a new 95% high efficiency model directly vented out the basement wall and replace the 1993 HWH with an indirect hot water tank (heated by the boiler). The boiler system will remain a closed system with a separate zone for the HWH. We removed the LL plaster ceilings, shored up the LL joists and are ready to start the project.
We plan to install the pex/aluminum plates/shields/insulation and manifolds ourselves and then our HVAC guy install the temp mix valve and cut over the system. We submitted our joist plan to Radiantec for them to design and bid the project. We've done extensive web searches and have found both good and bad reviews. We searched this site and cannot find anything definitively wrong with their product, design or services. But yet, there is this sliver of doubt about what is not written or found. The other company I found is BlueRidge out of Washington, but not a lot of info is available about them either. Please help us decide why we should or should not proceed as planned with Radiantec. Other than paying someone gobs of money to do the install, what supplier would you recommend and why?


  • Derheatmeister
    Derheatmeister Member Posts: 1,492
    What kind of flooring do you have and are you planning on changing it...If so you may take a look at a Viega clima panel install..IMO it is Easier,faster and better heat transfer.
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 795
    They cut the contractor out of profit that should be theirs, they cut local design professionals out of sales that should be theirs. They don't provide a manual J meaning you must now seek the assistance of a local design professional anyway, who usually makes money from the load calc by selling product that in this case has already been sold by someone else.

    I have been there several times, not a fan of them at all.
  • AMKAJA85
    AMKAJA85 Member Posts: 3
    edited December 2022
    This is an underfloor project, so I don't believe the Viega climate panels will work. We currently have carpeting on the MF, including the kitchen; the bathroom and front foyer are tiled. Once the underfloor heat is installed, we will replace carpeting with LVP or engineered wood.

    Obviously we want to do the installation ourselves to make the project affordable. We would be happy to pay a local professional to design the system and provide the calcs, but am unaware that HVAC professionals would do this if you did not buy the product from them. My HVAC guy is willing to help us, but he does not do these types of design/installs.

    Given that this is a DIY project, are Radiantec design and materials any better or worse than if we design it ourselves and buy supplies from Uponor or some other vendor?
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 20,725
    there are free and affordable heat loss calcs online and in your app store. Google heat load calculators.

    If you are interested in number crunching, it would be good for you to do your own room by room load calc. Without knowing, you are guessing :)

    The extruded aluminum transfer plates are available from many sources for DIYers.
    You need a clean, nail free underside to attach them, of course.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,309
    BlueRidge is a good company. I have bought many things from them and have always been satisfied.

    I don't like the Radiantec design. My take is that the domestic water flows thru the in-under flr sys. I only worked on one of these and it was a failed igniter. The owner installed the sys, himself which was the selling point. Now, the owner has a sno-ice melt driveway and need a separate boiler sys to run it, not too uncommon. It hasn't been hooked up, yet.

    Your water quality would be my big concern.
  • Derheatmeister
    Derheatmeister Member Posts: 1,492
    edited December 2022
    We are Professional Heating contractors which have done both plated staple ups and approx 30.000 sqft of clima panel (Viega)..
    If it is necessary to install a radiant floor Via heat transfer plates we a forced to charge MUCH,Much more due to the fact of Labor intensiveness..
    Again...Flooring systems such as Quick tracks or Clima Panel are our goto due to the Better heat transfer,Faster heat transfer,Faster install and therefore are more cost effektive.
    Some of our customers had contracted the company that you are looking at and we have have seen the designs :( ...A good contractor will use a programm such as Loopcad to help you with your project..You can also contact Viega and they could refer you to a good contractor or help you with the design.
    Good luck with your project.
  • kenjohnson
    kenjohnson Member Posts: 82
    Hello AMKAJA85, I designed and installed my own radiant heating system. I am trained as an engineer and I did all of my own heat loss calculations, did the complete system design (with help from some on this site) and did or supervised the installation. My system works great. But it was a lot of work to do the design and installation. I am technically capable and experienced with construction.

    I investigated Radiantec and I would not recommend them. Their design approach is highly suspect and is not likely to last and perform well. I would highly recommend that you find a local contractor who can design and install your system and, absent that, install a different heating system that a local contractor can support.
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,221
    Radiant Wreck.

    I’ve  gone behind on their systems and seen the foolishness that was done. The customer was not happy when told how extensive and expensive it would be to correct it.

    As mentioned, they use open loop systems with tankless water heaters instead of a boiler and a closed loop like it should be done.

    When you go to their site, you find page after page defending their technique and condemning professionals like us who do this for a living and see their results.

    We have no horse in your race, but they do.

    Let the buyer beware. 

    @Stephen_Minnich or
    @Rich_49 are two excellent designers you can try.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • AMKAJA85
    AMKAJA85 Member Posts: 3
    Thank you all for your expertise and information. I did quite a bit of searching and was able to find a local design engineer that is willing to design, help us get materials and his company will do any specialty work that we need help with. I feel much more confident with this route. Again, thank you all for your advice!