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Common complaints when switching radiant heat to baseboard

Assuming you've got enough baseboard for the heat loss, set each piece up with a TRV. The TRV will modulate water flow and heat output will track with heat-loss pretty near perfectly. Pick TRV set up with bypass so you don't dead-head pump. The resulting comfort level should be almost as good as radiant floor.

Bill
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Comments

  • I had to switch to baseboard

    At my own house about 6 years ago when the radiant sprung one too many leaks . At the same time I installed a new boiler , and I didnt want to hook in the radiant again - the leaks caused the old RS109 Burnham to go kaput .

    With the radiant , we kept the temp set at 68 , and it was the best - steady , even heat throughout the 1st floor . No drafts at all - and my house had hardly any insulation and 50+ year old windows and doors . Now , with baseboard , we have to keep the temp around 75 and drafts are everywhere . Its a very common complaint in these houses - many of them are still with the original windows , doors and insulation . What I think is happening is the baseboard heats these houses real fast , but with the big heatloss , they cool off even faster . And before the thermostat calls for heat again , you get the drafts all over .

    On cold days it gets pretty bad - Even though I wrapped the walls in baseboard , it just cant keep up in the living room and kitchen . I was even going to try to hook in the old radiant using some sorta heat exchanger - just in case it started leaking again after the repairs , but I forgot I cut the copper manifolds at the floor - stupid me . And its kinda embarrasing that Ive been installing heat for 17 years and cant get it to work right in my own home .

    We just had to rebuild the front wall of the house , and we put in new windows and a door , and will insulate the wall pretty good . I am sure that this will eliminate the heating problems in the kitchen and living room . But the rest of the house is the same - no isulation except 2 pieces of paper in the walls . And windows that are so old they dont hold out the cold - they barely hold out the rain .

    Finally to my question - I know insualting the whole house and changing all the windows and doors would cut down on the drafts , but what can you do if thats not feasible - at least not for a few years ? Does constant circulation , outdoor reset , or any other high tech equipment ( I never get my hands on ) help this situation ? Does it work with baseboard ? Since I have the front wall open on the inside , is making the wall radiant a feasible option ? As you can guess , Im trying to get the house to the comfort level the radiant gave us - minus the radiant in the floor . Sounds pretty impossible , but I wanted to ask anyway . Thanks for any help , Ron
  • Cosmo
    Cosmo Member Posts: 159
    Sounds like a job for....

    Wirsbo Quik-trak, or an equivalent product by other manufacturer. You can also try using cast-iron baseboard, it radiates heat and creates a convection of warm air. Another option is to buy some steel panel radiators, or cast-iron radiators. First thing would be to do a heat loss of the house and see just how much heat we need. Unfortunately no matter what, unless you install the quiktrak you might not be satisfied with anything else....this most closely simulates your old heat. Whatever happened to throwing some oatmeal in to seal the pin-holes....at least that is a story I heard from an old sailor. He was a mechanic on a destroyer, he says that once in a while they threw oatmeal in to seal leaks....I bet that all got caught up in the boiler tubes though....

    Casmo
  • Very close

    I used Base Hit 3 , by Hercules - 3 times in 2 years . The last time it sealed the leak for about 2 months , then the water bill tripled in a month - thats how I keep track of things around here . When I ripped out the old boiler , the sealer was stuck to everything - the coil was coated , and I was surprised we were getting any hot water at all . I did a heatloss a few days ago on my house with the Slant Fin Program . With no insualtion and old doors and windows all around , the boiler is actually on the money with the added BTUs for a coil .

    The boiler is situated under the stairs in the middle of the house on the 1st floor - no basement . I would love to use some CI baseboard or rads - but the pipes would be exposed . But I like the idea of heat in the walls even more , if its possible . Is the Quick Trac used in wall radiant ? Can it be installed easily if you only have access to one side of the wall ? The inside wall is the only part thats still open and without insulation or sheetrock yet . Running the tubing to the boiler would be easy - part of the ceiling is exposed and I can run em back no problem . Thank you Casmo .
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    Ron


    would panel rads be usable in your situation?

    I must say that insulating and air sealing will be the big fix. Don't go nuts on windows!! I have yet to see a window pay back of less than 70 years. I get these pay back periods when I do energy audits and the folks get quotes for new windows. We enter the quote in with the proposed window upgrade and the program calculates pay back periods.

    I'd look into the panels.

    Good luck!!

    Mark H

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  • Too late

    We had a brick facade on the front wall , and water got behind it, into the wood , and the whole wall had to go . The windows were original single pane - the living room window was 4 by 8 . I upgraded to double hung , double pane - I think they will hold a little more heat in the house than the other ones . I got room for pane rads also , but Im looking for something thatll give us a nice steady heat like radiant , if its possible . I never used panel rads before though . Do they lose their heat as fast as baseboard ? Thanks Mark
  • Boilerpro
    Boilerpro Member Posts: 410
    Some input

    Just was out yesterday at a church built in the 20s with perimeter convection where I installed tekmar controls with the new heating plant. 361 variable speed pump control for boiler protection, 262 for full outdoor reset of supply temps and 369 zone control providing indoor feedback back into the 262. The gentlemen I coordinated the installation with at the church is very mechanical and a sharp one. He installed a indoor/outdoor digital thermometer with one sensor about 12 feet off the sanctuary floor and the other about 5 feet. Whether the ceiling fans are on or off the temp near the ceiling is within 1 degree of the temp five feet off the floor. I say providing constant circ with reset of water temps is the way to go! Iv'e had other clients with baseboard heat tell me that thier heat is much more even after I have set up the system to provide variable water temps....some in homes built in the 1960s and others in homes built in the 1880's (10 ft ceilings, huge glass areas, etc. Try reset, it really works!

    Boilerpro
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    First

    do all you can to seal the leaks in your home. Check with the local energy providers many will do free blower door tests to help you pin point leaks.

    Sure, consider a reset control for the baseboard. It will take the on off swings away for the most part. Eliminates most of the bang/ bang control you get with basic t stats.

    Even with a conventinal cast boiler you can generally reset to 140 ish degree without condensing the boiler. 140- 190 would give you a lot of room to reset. Takes away that ticking noise also. Simple boiler reset controls are fairly inexpensive and easy to install. I have a tekmar on my Weil GV with baseboard.

    Definetly not a replacement for warm floors however, but far better than the "cold" heat pump that was in this place when we bought it.

    hot rod

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  • Paul_6
    Paul_6 Member Posts: 88
    thank you Mark

    My significant other keeps bugging me to up-grade the windows in our vintage cape, and I keep telling her that the pay back is "not in our lifetime " so now i should'nt have to dust off my "they are historically correct" argument for a while. I have the same problem as Ron in that the house has hwbb and is allways drafty. my house is insulated- we blew it in from the out side and the windows have good combination windows on them. Ron should check the actual amount of baseboard required to heat the rooms and see if he is over radiated like i am if he can derate the hwbb to say 160 at -10 maybe constant circ w/ reset would work better for him. I have panel rads on the second floor which is much more comfortable than the first floor, and the plan this winter is to begin retrofiting the first floor with panel rads. the panel rads that i have are designed for 160 water at -10 and 72 room temp, constant circulation and reset. panel rads are ideal for existing situations because you can home run pex to them and manifold them in the boiler room. Sue likes them as well becuase they don't eat up as much wall space as hwbb. any way thanks Mark for the window ammo, and Ron hope you find something usefull here too.

    Paul
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    Panel Rads


    They keep their heat longer though they do use convection. Add some TRV's and outdoor reset with constant circ and you will have one heck of a system.

    They do radiate so you will get that benefit.

    And they aren't that expensive!!

    Hope this helps!!

    Mark H

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  • Yes , I am over radiated

    With the baseboard . I did my calculations on 75 room temp at 0 dgrees . Im not sure which temp to use on Long Island - we hardly ever see 0 degrees anymore . I am going to look into constant circ and outdoor reset - but its gonna be hooked into a boiler with a coil . So Im guessing Im gonna need something to modulate the zone while keeping the boiler hot . I would love to install an indirect - but theres literally no room . Thanks Paul , and good luck with your drafty rooms also .

    PS - if your windows are big like mine and single pane , changing them out alone makes a big difference . Right now we have the wall up , windows in , but no insulation at all - and with just the baseboard elements in without the covers , the house stays hotter than before . Still drafty , but hotter .
  • Mark

    Can you give me some brand names of panel rad makers ? Thanks alot .
  • Instead of resetting the boiler

    Can I reset the zone by itself ? The boiler has to maintain temp for a coil .
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    WHOA!!!!!!!

    > My significant other keeps bugging me to up-grade

    > the windows in our vintage cape, and I keep

    > telling her that the pay back is "not in our

    > lifetime " so now i should'nt have to dust off my

    > "they are historically correct" argument for a

    > while. I have the same problem as Ron in that the

    > house has hwbb and is allways drafty. my house is

    > insulated- we blew it in from the out side and

    > the windows have good combination windows on

    > them. Ron should check the actual amount of

    > baseboard required to heat the rooms and see if

    > he is over radiated like i am if he can derate

    > the hwbb to say 160 at -10 maybe constant circ w/

    > reset would work better for him. I have panel

    > rads on the second floor which is much more

    > comfortable than the first floor, and the plan

    > this winter is to begin retrofiting the first

    > floor with panel rads. the panel rads that i

    > have are designed for 160 water at -10 and 72

    > room temp, constant circulation and reset. panel

    > rads are ideal for existing situations because

    > you can home run pex to them and manifold them in

    > the boiler room. Sue likes them as well becuase

    > they don't eat up as much wall space as hwbb. any

    > way thanks Mark for the window ammo, and Ron hope

    > you find something usefull here too.

    >

    > Paul





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  • Seems like Tekmar is the way to go

    If they dont supply that product around here , are there other good reset control companies out there ? Thanks BP
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    WHOA!!!!!!!


    You trying to get me killed?!?!?!?

    Seriously, look very closely at what you are buying. Windows are no different than any other thing you pay for.

    The best window if installed incorrectly will not save you a dime. And the reverse is true. A lesser grade window installed corrctly will save you money.

    During the blower door testing that we do folks are amazed to feel where the air is coming from. Sealing around the window casings and trim is paramount.

    There is a window company in my neck of the woods that is advertising that their windows will lower fuel bills by 50%!!

    Big promise that will come back and bite them.

    If you can get someone in your area to do a blower door test by all means have it done.

    Mark "not responsible for angry spouses" H

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  • Paul_6
    Paul_6 Member Posts: 88
    Yes we have a coil

    and with the max temp on the boiler set at 160 we have to rember to turn down the heat before using the shower on a really cold day although i think that has more to do with the age of the coil than with boiler temp. any way there is an indirect on my to do list. look around the house really good, a 30 gallon indirect doesn't take up much room, maybe you can be creative, 2nd floor closet or somthing.

    Paul

    PS it really seems to be true the old saying about the cobblers kids not having shoes, etc. none of the people i work for would put up with the problems some of us have with our own heating systems.
  • heatboy
    heatboy Member Posts: 1,468
    Look at Wirsbo's new stuff

    Ron,

    While these are Tekmar based controls, they were designed to Wirsbo's specs. For your application the ProMix 101 would be a great selection due to your tankless. It uses a Belimo motorized three way valve and are available in 1", 1 1/4" and 1 1/2".

    Warm Regards,

    hb

    "Expert in Silent Warmth"™

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    heatboy



    The Radiant Whisperer





    "The laws of physics will outweigh the laws of ecomomics every time."
  • Bill_14
    Bill_14 Member Posts: 345
    Try

    Buderus panel radiators Ron...very good.

    Bill
  • With my old windows

    The way they leaked air , if I just decided to change them out to any type of newer one , I can bet I would save some money on the fuel bill . 50 percent ? Not likely , unless I had them open 24 / 7 .

    I had my own blower door test - when I saw the curtains moving on a windy day , I knew we had an air problem .

    They had double and triple glazed - I got the double - Im on a budget . It came out to around $800 for 4 windows - I didnt know that the dividers and screens are optional ? What do you recommend for insulation around the window area ? That foam in a can ? Thanks Mark .
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    Good call Bill

    And Myson is another. I've only used Buderus, but I've seen the Myson catalog and they have some nice stuff!!

    And THANK YOU RON!!!! As I have mentioned to you before, we have a developement here that is ALMOST identicle to the houses you post so often. DARN!! Wish I had a picture, you would probably know your way around the houses!!

    Next time I get on one of these with broken piping I'm going to pull out the panel rads!! Why didn't I think of this before?!?!?!?

    You get me thinking Ron!!!!

    Mark H

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  • Our local supply house

    carries Wirsbo . Im gonna look into that , thanks HB .
  • There is room behind the boiler

    But I would have to pull the boiler to get it in there . The coil has been working good for us , and if I can reset while maintaining temp , it makes my life a hell of alot easier . How old is the coil , and what type of boiler is it in ?
  • Now you got me thinking too

    Trying to color coordinate panel rads with the window trim .
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    DO NOT USE FOAM!!!!!!!


    Even the "non-expanding" stuff will expand a little and could cause some real problems.

    If you are installing the windows, pack the daylights out of it with FG insulation. Now Fibreglass is NOT an air sealent, it just slows air down. Then when you put up the molding, use silicone along the areas where the trim meets the wall all the way around the window.

    Do this even on the windows you don't replace. I have explained a phenomenon here called "stack effect". Warm air exits a structure at the top and is replaced with cooler air at the bottom. Find the holes and seal them.

    That being said, it is possible to seal the structure too much. To a point where mechanical ventilation will be required. You won't really know unless you can run a blower door occaisionally while you are doing the air sealing.

    If you send me an acurate square footage of your home and ceiling heights, I will calculate the MVG (Minimum Ventilation Guideline) for your home and e-mail it back to you.

    If you are interested, just e-mail it!!!

    Thanks Ron!!

    Mark H



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  • Bill_14
    Bill_14 Member Posts: 345
    White

    looks good with about everything, doesn't it? Check out http://www.buderus.net/ for Panel Radiators.

    Bill
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    Or this!!

    Log home with Buderus panels and a towel warmer!!

    Mark H

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  • Boilerpro
    Boilerpro Member Posts: 410
    No problem

    Just variable speed pump from boiler into space heating zone loop. Tekmar 356 would probably do for a basic outdoor reset or you can upgrade to one with indoor temp feedback or as others have said, use outdoor reset with TRV's for each room and run constant circ. Boiler temp is maintained by aquastat for coil, but heating loop temp is reset. You may even be able to reset the boiler to a certain extant and then fire it to higher temps when coil is in use. Probably a 370 or 371 house control would be the least expensive way to do this. I haven't worked with boilers with coils, I use indirect tanks with coils.

    Boilerpro
  • Boilerpro
    Boilerpro Member Posts: 410
    Mising valves versus VS pumps

    I generally hear that nixing vavles are more prone to problems (getting stuck), so VS pumping is better. I bet parts availablility is alot better for VS pumps... who out there doesn't have a few NRF-9's , 22's, 33's, brutes, or 007s in thier truck at all times.

    Boilerpro
  • Paul_6
    Paul_6 Member Posts: 88
    The boiler and coil

    are original to the house.and as near as i can figure it was built between 48 and 52. it's a crane sunny day boiler and it has a mobile jet burner (carlin 100 crd) it runs great and i do have a brand new buderus waiting for a spare moment. so changing it out is this winters project. there was a post a while back with the buderus sitting on top of their indirect and i liked the look of it so i will probably stack them here as well. i plan to convert to gas so i will probably use the riello 120n short tube. the panel rads i have are buderus. i have also installed runtal in one house. the selling point there was that the house had round rooms and runtal will custom bend. sorry i lost the post last night first the computer crashed and then me. Paul
  • Paul_6
    Paul_6 Member Posts: 88
    Good point

    about making the house too tight. a lot of people over look this when they are weather stripping etc. its similar to cleaning a boiler on a hot summer day with the bioler room door open and setting up your combustion test with the door open, the packing up, closing the door and wondering what happened when your back in three days to clean it again. and btw susan has an eccellent sense of humor - just ask her about the "we have to drain this capped soil pipe" incident sometime. Paul
  • To do that

    I would have to put a bypass pipe for each room , in the baseboard ? Actually that sounds like my easiest option . Would I then have to constant circulate the zone ? How would I control the constant circ ? Good idea , I never thought of that . Thanks Bill .
  • Never worked with VS pumps before

    We do use Taco exclusively though .
  • Dont forget

    To post some before and after pics of the job .
  • Paul_6
    Paul_6 Member Posts: 88
    I intend to

    it should be fun to make things at home a little better for a change. Paul
  • Thanks Bill and Mark

    Those Buderus rads look amazing - theyre probably out of my pricerange though . Chuck Shaw told me he has worked with in-wall radiant before , and will help me see if its feasible with my home . I hope it is - love that radiant , baby .
  • Mike Kraft
    Mike Kraft Member Posts: 406
    Paul

    The attached is a pic of the horizontal tank with boiler on top.And Ron it appears the least $$ investment would be a control scenerio incorporating constant circ.This Wall is amazing.

    cheese
  • Paul_6
    Paul_6 Member Posts: 88
    thats it !

    I think that might have been the post i saw as well. eccellent work in the photo. my current thimble is too low but code here requires me to install a zero clearance liner,so i can put the new thimble in at the right height. Paul.
  • Mike Kraft
    Mike Kraft Member Posts: 406
    Funny

    I started laying out my replacement today also.I bought the same Buderus tank (hor.)at a scratch and dent sale.My boiler is oversized and will find a home for it.My replacement has been sitting in the basement for awhile now.

    cheese
  • Bill Clinton
    Bill Clinton Member Posts: 75
    you don't have to

    install bypasses everywhere. There are two options I can think of:
    THE EASY WAY: Install a differential pressure bypass in the boiler room. This will prevent dead-heading the system and protect the boiler. The downside is you that leaves the boiler running all the time. You could install a manual on-off switch or a timer or both to handle this.

    THE HARD WAY: Carefully select an area in which you consider that, if any parts of the house need heat, this will always be one of them. In this area, install an electric thermostat to turn the system on and off. Do not install TRVs in this area; install a manual throttling valve to reduce output so this area will be on for long cycles: Longer than anywhere else. This way all areas will have heat available when needed and you can even put in a programmable 'stat. Takes some tweaking, but should work really well.

    Either of these methods would probably require you to eliminate any electric zoning you may currently have. Still, the TRV's would give you back that control.

    Bill
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    Hi Paul!!


    Glad Susan has a sense of humor!!

    We follow this motto, "Seal it tight, vent it right."

    BTW, there is an HRV rep in my area claiming an 80% savings in fuel cost just by installing his HRV!!!

    I told him to guarantee it in writing and I'd buy one.

    He hasn't called me yet!!

    Best wishes!!

    Mark H

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