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Old Stone House Renovation and New Heating System

jimd
jimd Member Posts: 5
I am new to the site although I have been reading it for months now. This is a great resource, there is so much great info here.
I am a builder in Chester County Pa, about 30 miles outside Philadelphia. I have a 235 year old double stone wall house that is way overdue for updating. I have tube type cast iron radiators and a very old oil burner. It was a summer winter hookup but I disconnected that and installed a Navian tankless water heater, Time for the boiler and radiators to go.
I am in the process of gutting and restoring the house, i have or will have access to all floors above and below, I want to convert to all Pex radiant heat with a Mod/con boiler. Heat loss calcs come in around 65 to 70k BTU.
I would like to install the new boiler now and use the existing radiators this season while I do work on one half of the house. The reason being, I want to install a wood stove and use the existing chimney currently being used by the oil burner, my new source will be propane.
All radiators are feed off 1/2" copper coming off of a 1" copper loop, piping in and out of the boiler is 1-1/4".
I'm thinking about the K2 boiler, my question, is there a simple way to make this work this year and then switch over to all radiant next year? should i consider a combi in case my current tankless gives out?
i know the conversation is much more involved than this but I wanted to start to get some input form people who have done this before.

Comments

  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    You've got to get a radiant pro in there to assess the viability of radiant heat. Often, in old houses, the available heating floor surface just can't keep up with the load. Keep those rads, you may find yourself needing them in areas to supplement what the floor cannot produce. This is a critical step. If you're near York, Dave [email protected] Behler Inc. Is your guy, even for consulting.
    ChrisJZman
  • jimd
    jimd Member Posts: 5
    Wow, that's interesting, that is the first I've come across that consideration, I'm glad you bring it up. Oddly enough when I measured all the radiators, they come up to about 68k BTU's.
    I have about 1900 sq ft of floor space, if needed I would probably either get some newer radiators or other supplemental heat. As I mentioned the one space will get a wood stove, probably a soapstone model.
    Thanks for the info, I'm about an hour from York.
    What are your thoughts of the various boilers? I like the Viessmann but was concerned about parts and service.
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,693
    You may want to keep those radiators . keeping a house like that the way you found it is a very nice thing . Radiant to warm the floors to a level that is not uncomfortable is also nice , don't take the warm floors that all promise to heart though .

    If you start thinking along the lines of keeping the rads and installing tubing , you'll have a real winner running both at very low temps will allow true approach to rated efficiencies of the modulating condensing equipment . Radiators are really very effective and offer one the ability to also enjoy wire to water efficiency as well .

    Call Dave and see if he travels out to your area , I think he just might .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
    ChrisJ
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    It's good to know the rad capacities but not important yet in figuring what it will take to heat the house via the floor. Or even conventionally. Heat loss calculation is your blueprint for all things to come. I've my preferences on boilers, but it's the expertise in the installation that makes or breaks it. Also consider regional popularity. Viessmann may or may not be locally supported in your case. Mr. Yates can tell you.
    ChrisJZman
  • jimd
    jimd Member Posts: 5
    A few months back I did contact Radiantec, they did a design and quote and did suggest supplemental heat for the coldest days. I do have that in the form of a ventless gas stove and a Rinnai silent servant. Both of which i use every year.
    the problem with the existing rads is that some get hot and others do not and no rhyme as to which ones do and don't. Someone in the past was clever enough to add about 60' of copper fin baseboard heat by simply tying it into the radiator loop, so it never gets warm, hence, the Rinnai.
    As i mentioned, I also like the Burnham K2 boiler and the are local, which gives me some comfort.

    I am a home builder, pretty handy and would like to do a lot of the work myself so trying not to over complicate things, but want proper design and materials.

    anyone have experience with Radiantec? I read good and bad reviews.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,059
    What's a "ventless gas stove"? Sounds deadly?

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,693
    Radiantec's premier system is something they call the "Open Direct system " . This system would have cold water running through your entire radiant panel prior to reaching the water heater / boiler . Maybe because it warms the cold water prior to hitting the tank so it takes less energy to heat ? Maybe because it is cheaper ? Maybe all that cold waster running through your heated floor will rob whatever mass has been built up ?

    My advice . Don't ever think about Radiantec again and never even visit their site except to verify that they are terrible and will offer no supprt when you need it , and you will . When , not if something goes wrong it will be your issue , you will ahve done something wrong .

    Never saw a single one of their designs be anything near what they claimed . I have serviced many and ripped out more .

    http://www.radiantec.com/pdf/Direct_Radiant_Heating_System.pdf
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
    Bob Bona_4RobG
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Rich is correct. On line radiant companies are like diseases you want to avoid at all costs.
    ChrisJRobGZman
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,059
    Bob Bona said:

    Rich is correct. On line radiant companies are like diseases you want to avoid at all costs.

    Like forced hot air?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Rich_49njtommyRobG
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Oh definitely!
  • njtommy
    njtommy Member Posts: 1,105
    Whats wrong with forced hot air?

    Any way it sounds like you have some problems with your current system not heating currently wether its air bound, plugged with slug, and or just piped wrong. I would look into finding out why you have hot and cold rads and start there.
    If your current system is dirty or pipe wrong it will lead you to problems with switching into a tankless mod con boiler.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,059
    njtommy said:

    Whats wrong with forced hot air?


    What's right with it?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Bob Bona_4jonny88
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,425
    njtommy said:

    Whats wrong with forced hot air?

    Everything!

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Bob Bona_4ChrisJ
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,425
    jimd said:

    the problem with the existing rads is that some get hot and others do not and no rhyme as to which ones do and don't.

    That's fixable, but you need someone who knows how to deal with it. Many "heating and a/c" contractors don't. Fortunately, you've come to the right place to find the help you need.
    jimd said:

    Someone in the past was clever enough to add about 60' of copper fin baseboard heat by simply tying it into the radiator loop, so it never gets warm, hence, the Rinnai.

    That never works well. Baseboard and cast-iron are two different animals. If you're going to use both types on the same system, they need to be on separate zones.

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • njtommy
    njtommy Member Posts: 1,105
    Lol i'm not sure what you guys are talking about. You don't like hot air then cold drafty spots when the system shuts down? lol

    I'm a hybrid guy I love hydronics and heat pumps. lol
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,137
    As I read the OP's posts going along... it would seem that he has a heating system in place. Which doesn't work properly.

    The place to start. Always the first place to start. Is to figure out why the existing system doesn't work properly, if it doesn't. It never pays to assume that it never worked (although that may be true; you will find out) but rather to find out why it doesn't work now. Then -- and only then -- begin to think about what can be done to fix it.

    Once in a long time ripping it all out is the correct course. Once in a very long time. It is, however, the course suggested by people who either don't know how to figure out what is there is supposed to work, or who want a nice big job. Beware... they may not be who you want working on your job!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,059
    njtommy said:

    Lol i'm not sure what you guys are talking about. You don't like hot air then cold drafty spots when the system shuts down? lol

    I'm a hybrid guy I love hydronics and heat pumps. lol

    Hot.
    Cold.
    Hot.
    Cold.
    Hot.
    Cold.

    Need a system with mass! Same reason a good heavy brick oven works better than a cheap gas one.

    Not to mention they circulate smell, dust, and exaggerate drafts. They also have fairly low efficiency when you include electric consumption and typical drafty leaky ductwork.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    njtommy
  • njtommy
    njtommy Member Posts: 1,105
    ChrisJ said:

    njtommy said:

    Lol i'm not sure what you guys are talking about. You don't like hot air then cold drafty spots when the system shuts down? lol

    I'm a hybrid guy I love hydronics and heat pumps. lol

    Hot.
    Cold.
    Hot.
    Cold.
    Hot.
    Cold.

    Need a system with mass! Same reason a good heavy brick oven works better than a cheap gas one.

    Not to mention they circulate smell, dust, and exaggerate drafts. They also have fairly low efficiency when you include electric consumption and typical drafty leaky ductwork.
    Believe I'm not arguing those facts. Hyrdoair is nice its warm heat, not blasting hot.
    Duct sealing and insulation goes a long way.





  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,059
    edited September 2015
    njtommy said:

    ChrisJ said:

    njtommy said:

    Lol i'm not sure what you guys are talking about. You don't like hot air then cold drafty spots when the system shuts down? lol

    I'm a hybrid guy I love hydronics and heat pumps. lol

    Hot.
    Cold.
    Hot.
    Cold.
    Hot.
    Cold.

    Need a system with mass! Same reason a good heavy brick oven works better than a cheap gas one.

    Not to mention they circulate smell, dust, and exaggerate drafts. They also have fairly low efficiency when you include electric consumption and typical drafty leaky ductwork.
    Believe I'm not arguing those facts. Hyrdoair is nice its warm heat, not blasting hot.
    Duct sealing and insulation goes a long way.





    But, hydroair has no mass? It's still fairly instant on and off, is it not? Also has zero IR radiation.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • njtommy
    njtommy Member Posts: 1,105
    I wouldn't call it instant on and off. longer runtimes slow and steady wins the race with hydroair
    Not every system can have mass or be able to give you radiation.
    Thats the beauty of Hydronic's plenty of different types of systems.
    Rich_49
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    ChrisJ said:

    Like forced hot air?

    Usually worse, in this particular case.

  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    Sounds like you have a mono flow system and someone cut into it to add 60 ft of baseboard if I am reading correct.I would advise against a combi,Veissmann make fine products .Not familiar with the K2 but as it is new to the market I would be a little hesitant.Was not impressed with Freedom or Alpine.Actually have 2 Freedoms 90k if anyone know someone in need let me know.
  • jimd
    jimd Member Posts: 5
    Funny, the guy at US Boiler said the same thing about the K2 about being new, he likes the Alpine.
    Yes, I would agree the system is mono flow, water leaves the boiler and runs through the entire house.
    Don't think I have air gap, I added some isolation valves 2 seasons ago in order to install new circulator and actually the flow and heat were better than ever.
    I probably jumped ahead of myself here, I want to accomplish two things. First, upgrade heater and use existing chimney for a soapstone wood burning stove while using existing radiators this season, and convert from oil to propane. Second, have new system ready for next season.
    Don't necessarily have to be a mod/con (although I like the idea) a direct vent unit would be ok because as I go thru the renovation there will be sealing and insulation added. Existing plaster and lath over stone will be removed.
    Thanks for all the input thus far.
    P.S. I had some concerns about the online radiant companies.
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,460
    I say correct the flow problems, install new modcon boiler, maybe consider floor warming also. Would be a great system for comfort and also retain character of house. Just a thought.