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Need a professional.

I'm trying to map out my heating system, and my close proximity local contractors don't seem to be as competant
as I would like. I did find a couple via the 'Find a Professional' portion of this site, and I'm trying to contact them. Basically I have a 32'x40' two story house with a 9' second floor ceiling, and I need a design. I'm willing to pay for the design and BOM, and I'd like to do the installation myself.

I would like to use radiators, I've been looking at the Buderus panel radiators. I've read up a little bit, and I'd like to add the temperature sensitive diverter valves mentioned in Dan's Q/A to deal with balancing issues.

I have had two heat loss calculations done for the house by
local contractors, and both have recommended boilers with a net BTU output of ~85K BTU. I want to also add a little extra to keep the basement warm on a separate zone.

Lastly, I would like to add radiant in the bathrooms and kitchen going down the road, and I'm leaving the ceilings bare in those areas so I can add it in under the joists with heat sinks to spread the heat as much as I need to.

I plan to put a manifold on that will allow me two-three
additional zones, capped off so that I can add the radiant
in as time/funds allow.

I can fax rough sketch with precise dimensions, window and door sizes and numbers, and room layouts to anyone willing
to provide the design services. I can also take detailed digital pictures of the entire layout. Lastly, I can have a local contractor come in and install the boiler and fill/bleed the system if necessary.

I realize this is the busy time of the year for all of you professionals, and anything I can do to make this easier, I'm willing to.

Thanks much,



  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    Try contacting Siegenthalers Company...

    Hydronic Pros will do what you're asking for. BOM, etc. I hope that the contractors that did the heat loss for you got paid for their services.
  • Peter Serwe
    Peter Serwe Member Posts: 5
    Contractors getting paid.

    No, I think they were planning on doubling or tripling
    their money on all the various components, subcontracting
    the installation to somebody else local and marking that up,
    and selling me a system designed to net around 80,000 BTU
    with little to no attention to actually balancing the thing
    properly, and selling it to me for $16-25,000.

    After they were done with all that, they were planning on
    charging me roughly $.20 per gallon more for heating oil
    than everyone else around.

    They did not ask for payment, there has been no contract
    signed, and they did not come in anywhere near what they
    were talking about when I originally started talking to the
    owner around 2 months ago. During the initial conversations
    which were very positive, and pretty reasonable, what is probably a 3 day job for two local contractors, a master and
    a helper, suddenly turned into $16,000 for Slantfin.

    I didn't want baseboard from the beginning.

    Clearly, the people I hired on a consultant basis, whom I
    did find through this interface are pretty good and I'm reasonably confident they will give me precisely what I'm
    looking for.

    For some heating contractors, I'm a nightmare customer. I know just enough of what's possible to be a pain in the rear, and I'm relatively competant in the things I do. I will go as far as to say that heating is not rocket science, and most of the local contractors smile condescendly and tell me what they will and won't do the minute I start talking about what I want out of my heating system. The people I contracted to do the heat loss, consultation and system design are going to give me something that fulfills my needs, and lay it out so that I can mostly install it myself. This gives me more for less.

    I am planning on hiring a licensed local contractor to install my boiler, pressure test, and charge the system to avoid any boiler warranty issues should I have a problem. Really, it's not necessary. I can rebuild engines that have tolerances in the .0001" range - no that's not a typo, I mean one-tenth of a thousandth of an inch - I think I can handle a cast iron boiler. Irrespective, there are homeowners insurance and warranty issues to consider, and having somebody who does it all the time and is licensed is
    worth paying for a days' labor.

    Paying somebody $40 an hour for somebody they are paying $10 to drill holes and make Pex connections, or even sweat copper pipe isn't something I'm interested in doing. For that matter, my buddy and I just replaced a boiler that died in his house - it took us about 10 total man hours, and we're not 'experts'. AC connections, feed, and return connections, thermostat connections, it's *not* that difficult.

    What *is* difficult, is doing a complete system design, properly calculating the heat loads in the various parts of the house, and designing the zoning so you can benefit from newer style 'smart' boiler controls that use outside air temp and the various zone temperatures to decide how often and for how long to fire the boiler based on a given zone's needs, and thermostat-like (thermistor) settings. These are things I want done by a professional.

    If it comes down to some guy slapping in baseboard hot water
    and giving me a thermostat per floor to control a couple of zones, I could manage that - and the Slantfin company is all
    over helping me do it.

    Instead, I want panel radiators and radiant. I specifically built my house in such a way as to make 'joisted application' radiant really easy and simple to install. Everyone up here gets dollar signs in their eyes when you mention 'radiant' and thinks you must be made of money if you want anything other than baseboard.

    I think it's relatively telling that the closest professional I could find via the 'Find a professional' link on this site is 50-60 miles away. Mention books like
    'The Lost Art Of Steam Heating' and get either a blank stare or a condescending grin.

    I'm all for people making money, and I don't want to put everyone in the business out of it, but I'm also not interested in getting less, for more.

    An educated customer is a good customer, right? The more I know about what I'm buying, the less hassle I'll end up being once it's installed.

This discussion has been closed.