Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit

Feedback on a whole house Water Storage/Heating System for Radiant Heating, Pool and Drinking Water.

Ozark42crk Member Posts: 1
While at the local plumbing supplier I learned about this site while reading an article in PM magazine. So I'm wondering if I can get some feedback on my ideal for a new house I'm envisioning. I'd like my new house to be as energy efficient as possible at a reasonable cost. I have yet to contact a developer because I like to gather some knowledge on a subject so I'm better informed when I do contact a builder. My forever house will be built in the Ozarks and there is only municipal water and electric. Waste water is thru your own septic systems. Also LPG can be added if desired. My ideal for the house is it is an ICF ( insulated concrete form ) structure and where possible the exterior building materials will be non-wood. Metal roof and siding or a synthetic siding due to insects and wood pecking birds. Homes in the area are built on slopped lots with walkout basements and my planned house is no different. It will be three levels basement (recreation, hobby, bathroom, storage and utilities ), main floor ( kitchen, pantry, brkfst nook, bathroom, family, formal living & dining and laundry ) and second floor ( 3 bedrooms and bathrooms, weight/exercise, activity and storage ). With a ICF house once the main floor is designed it is easier just to add additional levels that are the same footprint. So the total square footage of the house is roughly 10,000 sq ft with an attached glass enclosed year round 10 ft x 16 ft x 4-5 ft deep exercise pool. The HVAC and hot water is where your feedback is needed. Now I was planning to have radiant floor heating through out the house along with ductless A/C and a whole house dehumidifier. Since there is no natural gas it is going to be expensive to heat the water. Therefore I was thinking about possibly incorporating a solar hot water system with a large warm/hot water storage tank. Also as part of this water storage tank system I was thinking of some how infusing the heat output from the whole house dehumidifier and the ductless A/C units into this water storage tank. This is where I've found little information. Can the pool, radiant floor heat and potable hot water use the same heater/boiler or do they need separate heater/boiler? If there needs to be separate heater/boiler I was thinking of tankless hot water heaters for the bathrooms, kitchen and laundry due the distance from this water storage tank? Finally is all this even possible and what size would tanks, heater/boiler, utility room need to be or if not could solar electric panels provide enough power to run electric heater/boiler?


  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,328
    It's all possible, with the right design. You need the proper mechanical engineer to work with your builder and your architect.. Actually it's the other way around. They have to work with the ME.
    It's important to have that relationship working together before you finish your design as you most likely will need to adjust the design to accommodate the mechanicals. Otherwise, you'll have to do it after the building starts, or you may even make it impossible to achieve your goals.
    Pool/radiant floor/potable water can use the same boiler, but only if separated by heat exchangers for starters. Actually for 10k sq ft., 2 or even 3 boilers (if you're doing snow melt) may be the most efficient.
    Most likely you'll need a solar storage tank with 2 coils.
    Equipment sizing all starts with the designed heat loss.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,066
    Yes and no would be my answer. Everything you mentioned is possible, but usually not cost effective. I did a number of ICF radiant/ solar jobs in SW Missouri, I live near Springfield.

    I did a home for a doctor in Republic almost exactly what you describe, slab, ICF, attached swim spa, but around 2500 sq. ft.

    A boiler in a separate shop covered radiant and the pool load. The house boiler was radiant and DHW. I'd use two separate boilers.

    I wonder about ductless AC on that large of a home?
    The payback on thermal solar, even though I am a huge fan, is way out there.

    Finding plumbers around here that want to embrace unique hybrid thermal systems is next to impossible, especially now when they are all over-booked and short on experienced help.

    I did my LP pre-buy last Friday at $1.59 per gallon, so it is a viable energy source for heat and DHW.

    If you want solar, look into PV, Sun Solar in Springfield is promoting it heavily and doing a lot of systems in this area, commercial and residential. Do the number crunching carefully, they claim to be able to lease you a system for less that local utility rates?

    Ground source heat pumps are very applicable to this area, well or trenched. Heat, cooling and DHW is very possible, maybe a few critical area radiant zones and DHW from the boiler. There are a handful of top notch HVAC guys around here that embrace GEO.

    With a large enough PV array, efficient heat pumps, you could be fairly utility free on the electric side.

    Send me a message if you want to chat sometime.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,863
    edited August 2018
    IIRC, the device that routes heat from the A/C system to something else (storage tank in your case) is called a 'desuperheater". Here's an article on one of these as applied to a geothermal system:
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 423
    edited August 2018
    Speaking as a homeowner and if it were me in your case,

    You can use the same steam boiler for all three jobs using heat and
    your desired design cries out for a coal fired steam heating boiler wth a domestic hot water coil with a single pipe heating system using steam radiators fed by refrigerant grade soft copper to deliver dry steam to each radiator.

    You would have no need for radiant floors with the proper sized steam radiators fed using refrigerant grade soft copper pipe with the correctly designed heater covers using TRV's and a piece of hard board insulation behind each radiator to keep the heat from the radiator entering the exterior wall.

    All you would need is a heat exchanger for the exercise pool to keep the chlorinated exercise pool water from contaminating the boiler water using a small titanium shell and tube heat exchanger.
    You can still use air ductless conditioning with a coal fired steam system especially with new construction by shutting off the dry steam feed after the drop header in the summer season and letting the coal stoker run only as needed to heat the domestic hot water and the exercise pool.

    Anthracite coal is a very cost effective method of heating and buying in bulk will save you thousands of dollars for heating even with transportation costs from the coal breakers in Pennsylvania.

    If you visit the coal pail forum and look for the fuel calculator page you can see the economies of anthracite coal use versus other fossil fuels.

    My thoughts on a day where as it is too hot work outside.