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radiant floor heat in dairy barn

I have apotential customer that has a large dairy barn.They are in the planning stages of redoing their milking corridor.I have been approached with the possibility of installing tubing in the slab for heat.One naysayer suggest that because the floor surface is wet a good portion of the time,that all the heat will be consumed evaporating water on the floor.the folks say they get a fair amount of steam coming off wet cows.the new design is supposed to open the barn up quite a bit.But I can just see this vaporous sauna thing going on.any thoughts on this subject?


  • Dan Peel
    Dan Peel Member Posts: 431
    wet environment

    We opted for baseboard in a recent dairy barn application. The offices and change rooms we used radiant but the short term heating of a couple of hours at a time in an otherwise unheated building drove the decision. We used the Slant/Fin 40 series with the 1 1/4" steel elememt. All surfaces were double coated with clear coat - so far so good. It will be good to see them after a year or two. Enjoy.....Dan

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  • Steve Ebels
    Steve Ebels Member Posts: 904
    Did an all radiant barn

    Three years ago. They love it. This particular barn contained a rotary cow platform on which 24 holstiens get on one by one and ride around to exit at the other end. I'll try and explain the layout. Visualize a square box with a doughnut in the middle of it. The doughnut is the cow platform and is unheated (no place for tube) the doughnut hole and the area around the doughnut are the heated areas. The side walls are well insulated as is one end. The other end, roughly 16' tall by 50 wide is anclosed and insulated well also with the exception of a curtain roughly 10' tall by 16' wide that the cows pass through. The farmers only required the parlor area to be kept at 45-55 degrees during the winter. The infloor meets the requirement nicely. The rest of the facility was about 3,200 sq. ft. and contained the offices, bathrooms, milkroom, equipment room, showers, etc.

    You would do yourself and them a favor by addressing the ventilation aspect of the job up front. It is a very humid enviroment and needs to have adequate air changes to get rid of the humidity after they wash things down.

    Also think about using some sort of HX to capture the discharge heat from A: the warm milk (95+ degrees) and B: the refrigerant from the compressor discharge. Both are excellent and "free" sources of BTU's.

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  • Mark Eatherton1
    Mark Eatherton1 Member Posts: 2,542
    A very moooving story...

    That's an EXCELLENT idea, recovering the waste heat off the milk. You'd actually cut down on their electrical requirements for chilling the milk. Be aware of the lamight milk stone. It will harden your arteris and plug them all up. Not sure wich is worse, the calcium from thier well water that fouls up the potable side of the DHW systems, or the milk stone that clogs up their transport lines. Dairies are a VERY intensive hot water load system. Domestic as well as space heating loads can very well beneift from waste heat recovery.

    Mix in a little bit of bio gas recovery and a gas powered turbine, and you can put a dent in their energy bill. Solar even makes cent$!!

    Good idea there, "robbing" the cows of their moooving btus!!

    Okay, I'll keep my day job as a snowmelter...


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  • Art Pittaway_2
    Art Pittaway_2 Member Posts: 80
    Semi-truck wash

    with radiant about 6-7 years ago.First your not evaporating water, your maintaining the room temp. Most likly they are using hotter water than the floor temp. anyway. The truck wash was not for detailing but for blowing the cxxp out of animal haulers. Worked super, they put three fans located high on one side and louvered dampers high on the other side. I think they just opened on building pressure. Hot water would turn into a cloud and the fans would circulate it out. Over night the place would dry out from top to bottom. Amimal waste is very corrosive and the radiant wont be affected. Your milking areas are watched closely for sanitation, bacteria and mold growth. The dry floor is one big plus factor that will help with sanitation. Ask about ventilation and understand what they want to do. Remember your heat is in the floor, so when they open the door it's not going to go escape! Put the boiler in a separate room and vent it so it won't see a negative pressure or have corrosion problems itself. Good luck, ask questions!
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