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Hydronic system of choice for your own home

eric_9 Member Posts: 15
Hi, I'd like to know what components and why (from boiler to tubing type) you experts would choose to hydronically heat a 3200 sq ft, 3 level home with 5 zones without cashing out the bank and if money was of no concern. Thanks. Great forum BTW.



  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928

    Viessmann Vitodens boiler.

    Black iron piping.

    Standing iron radiators with thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs).

    Steel panel rads (with TRVs) somewhat oversized a reasonable substitute for standing iron.

    Floor heating/warming (the disctinction is VERY slight) in spaces likely to stay hard-surfaced regardless of the owner or style--i.e. baths, laundry, entry.

    With rads/panels sized quite generously the floors can run "wild" without a thermostat.
  • Big Ed
    Big Ed Member Posts: 1,117
    My Choice

    I would choose a Budurus boiler with the outdoor reset for all my choices..

    Then depending on the size of your budget. First would be slab radiant. Second would be cast iron radiation. Third panal radiation. Fourth would be base board.. In mass there's comfort.
  • eric_9
    eric_9 Member Posts: 15
    more questions

    What are black iron pipes for? I thought a ferrous system is undesirable? what are steel panel rads? Is it a tubing system? If not, what is your tubing system of choice? How much will your system run me?
  • eric_9
    eric_9 Member Posts: 15

    slab radiant with what tubing system? and what is avg cost of such system?
  • Big Ed
    Big Ed Member Posts: 1,117
    More Qualified

    To answer your question "which is the better radiant system" You need a answer from someone who installed the different systems. Which is not me. You did pick the right site.

    Wait for others to awswer or post seperately
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    Radiant and solar

    Some passive solar to minimize heat loads requiring fossil fueled heat genertators. A dash of active solar, (dhw and radiant to your budget allowance)then a system designed to operate at the lowest possible temperature.

    Skip the radiant floors in carpeted bedrooms and go baseboard or panel rads. Quick response, setback-able.

    Make a list of condensing boilers with a 4-5 year track record, and flip a coil. I suspect they will all have the same achilles heel.

    hot rod

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  • Mad Dog
    Mad Dog Member Posts: 2,595
    My Hundred-plus year old house is heated by

    steam with antique radiators and Radiant in the basement slab and the tiled bathrooms. Mad Dog

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  • Goat  Sr
    Goat Sr Member Posts: 7

    Radiant is a must in any system . There's nothing like a warm tile floor for bare geet.
  • Paul Mitchell
    Paul Mitchell Member Posts: 266
    ok heres my take....

    Basic system....Energy Kinetics boiler with High output baseboard....
    Most money, no object..Steam boiler, steam rads
    Realistic money no object..Energy Kinetics boiler radiant heat....With Hydronic coils in the A/C air handlers for "between season" chilly days...

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  • Big Ed
    Big Ed Member Posts: 1,117

    ...like this Gentlemen .
  • Mark Eatherton1
    Mark Eatherton1 Member Posts: 2,542

    you said " without cashing out the bank and if money was of no concern". Assuming the latter part, I'd recommend radiant flors, walls, ceilings etc, using ground source heat pump as the heat source instead of a boiler. It's 250 to 300 % efficient, and it uses a renewable energy source for its basic thermal needs. It also allows you to have airconditioning with the highest EER available.

    Now it you are confined to a boiler, look to the condensing technologies, and include active solar in your equation. As HR said, for sure for DHW, and expand it some for shoulder season augmentation.

    Most importantly, check out the contractor of your choice THOROUGHLY. Make sure they are qualified to do the project. Some people talk the talk, but can't walk the walk.

    Check their references completely.

  • MikeB34
    MikeB34 Member Posts: 155
    200-300% efficient - HOW???

    How do you multiply the available heat 2-3 times?

    Its against the law (of energy conservation..the one that states energy cannot be created only changed)

    I can believe the idea that the energy required to extract "x" btu's is 1/2 - 1/3 of a boiler. But you cannot take a heat source max and increase it 200-300%. If the heat is 1000btu/gal, it cannot become 2000-3000 into the home.

    Sorry pet peeve of mine. Like saying 200% smaller. No such thing. Either its 1/2 the size, or its not.

  • jerry scharf
    jerry scharf Member Posts: 159
    We all just move energy

    When you use a combustion boiler, you're taking the chemical potential energy and converting that into heat, then moving that heat into water or steam to move it into the heated area.

    When you use a heat pump, you use electricity to move heat from one place to another and finally into the heated area. With a ground source, you have a much more available source for heat than air, so it is more efficient than a air heat pump.

    Efficiency is one of those statistics things, you define how you measure it and then you come up with the number. For heat pumps, they compare the heat gain against the heat generated by resisitance heating, the COP. For boilers, you compare the entrance, peak and exit temperatures measured from absolute zero, the thermodynamic efficiency.

    For this to be a fair, you should really include the generation and transport costs of both, especially since so much electricity is now generated by burning natural gas.

    My hope is in the next 5 years I'll be able to buy a reliable natural gas fuel cell with waste heat recovery for my home. Time will tell whether this pipe dream comes true.

  • I agree

    We move it...but cannot create it.. so 250-300% more efficient is ...mathematically speaking 2.5 - 3 times MORE than 100% (which is really a maximum)

    Sorry ... but like I said its a pet peeve using that expression because it isn't possible. you can increase a SIZE 300% by making it 3x bigger...but not efficiency..

    100% eficient is using ALL available energy with no waste. to be 250-300% involves adding or creating energy. If it were possible, there would be no energy shortage.

  • Ted_5
    Ted_5 Member Posts: 272
    My system of choice

    Boiler: Viessmann Vitodens 200 and control system
    Radiant floors in concrete: Heatlink infloor system
    Radiant controls: HeatLink's StatLink control system
    Active solar for DHW: Viessmann Vitosol system
    Pressurized A/C: AirLink the QuietCool system with a hydronic coil for spring and fall.
    My dream system!!

  • jerry scharf
    jerry scharf Member Posts: 159
    can you get over 100%

    It is not just theoretically possible to get more than 100% of the chemical energy in returned available heat. With lab fuel cells approaching 40% and lab WSHPs approaching a COP of 5x, you may well be able to demonstrate 200% of the combustion value as available heat. The combustion energy is almost purely wasted and the heat is actually coming from the sun heating the water or ground.

    Like you said, it's all how you count the efficiency.

    If you want to see something that will bend your mind, check out www,coolerado.com. I don't think it's snake oil. With a high effeicenty fan they may get an SEER of 60! Too bad there's no humidity control.

  • Mark Eatherton1
    Mark Eatherton1 Member Posts: 2,542

    I don't make these things up. The industry does. I just relay them. Don't shoot the messenger. If I put one watt of energy in, and I get 3 watts of thermal energy out, what is my efficiency... It's your call.

  • Not shooting the messanger..

    Sorry if I sound angry. You got the other 2 watts from a passive source, but energy was used to xfer it. its usually not calculated. My problem is the differences in how efficiencies are tested/rated whatever...

    Your example to me should be stated as more of a "...only takes 1/3 the energy to realize the same heat input in to the structure..." or something along those lines. ( I am using your 1 watt to get 3 watts of heat example)

    But 100% efficiency is no waste & ALL used.

    Its a misnomer that is deceiving in its innacuracy.

    Some here say that gas and oil efficiencies are measured differently...it shouldn't be. 80% efficiency should mean the same regardless. and comparing passive to chemical heat is unfair when it comes to efficiencies.

    Maybe return on energy used would be a better way to describe it to the consumer.

    ie. if 80% of the energy used in a gas appliance (electrical, fuel etc) enters the space then the roe (return on energy would be listed as .8

    In a passive system if it took 1 wat to get 3, the the roe would be 3.

    Just some thoughts.

    I apologize to all if I offended.

    This is a great forum for intellectual discussion and off the wall ideas to be bounced.

    Of which this is one. Stimulates the brain, and gives some people pause to say.."hey, that makes sense" (or not :})

    Great movements can start this way (the CO Crusade comes to mind)

    I am only discussing a pet peeve of mine... Not angry

This discussion has been closed.