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Radiant heating boiler room

Hydronic radiant heating is the best way to heat a house. Infrared rays from the floors warm up objects they hit, providing uniform heat from the floor to the ceiling. There is no noise, dust, clogged filters, ducts or wind. In a house that is heated with radiant floor heating you don’t feel hot, cold, you don’t even realize that the heating system is on. You simply are comfortable like on a warm spring day.


I suffer from sever asthma. In our new house we opted for radiant floor heating as this is what the Asthma and Allergy Foundation is recommending. Since we moved in I saw my attacks greatly reduced in both frequency and intensity…


Asthma and Allergy Foundation

Radiant heating can be installed in floors, walls and ceilings, with the most common place for the tubing is to be encased in concrete in your basement slab, on upper floors stapled to the sub-floor and over-poured with self leveling Agilasilica concrete. The source of heat is most often a gas or electrical boiler, but we can work with wood burning boilers, oil fired ones, heat pumps, geothermal and anything else that can be used to make waters warmer than 120F.


You forget that this is the heating season. The whole house feels simply put; comfortable. We walk around barefoot from the basement to the second floor all year round. Would never go back to traditional forced air furnaces. All this and  30% energy savings compared to before we installed radiant floor heating during the renovation!

It is best to plan things out well in advance. Will you only heat the basement floor? How about the upper floors too? Maybe the garage? What about snow melt and domestic hot water? The beautiful thing is one single boiler can take care of all of the above and even heat your swimming pool or hot tub not to mention provide heat for forced air systems should you want them through hydronic air handlers that use the hot water to heat the air. When you integrate you not only simplify and therefore lower your total costs but you also will be saving space and energy. Sure the up front costs are higher than a traditional forced air system but not by that much. You can expect about 6 years until your extra costs are made up by the energy savings you realize. All the while enjoying a much better quality, low maintenance heat.


We start by installing tubing and insulation in the basement and garage. On the upper floors we staple the pipes down to the sub floor. All the tubes are converging at the location where the future manifold will be. On retrofits where there is simply no space to install any insulation we can use a Mylar/bubble thin insulation layer and tie the tubes to a wire mesh placed on top. Complete with the overpour you lose about 1-1/2″ from the height of the room. The tubing is then pressurized for the duration of the concrete pour at lease. If there are any leaks due to damage to the tubing, the escaping air at 150 psi will be hard to ignore.
We can recommend trusted partners who do concrete work and Agilasilica overpour or you can hire your own professionals. The pipes must be encased to protect them as well as to have them heat a large mass that will store and even out the heat. Unless the tubing is damaged during this phase they are good for the life time of the house, as they are pretty resilient to wear and chemical damage. If at a later stage they are damaged by drilling, cutting or nailing through the concrete, they can still be easily fixed provided the person doing the damage is forthcoming about the accident. They don’t just spontaneously spring a leak and flood your house out. You will notice on the above pictures by code where they exit the concrete they are sleeved in a conduit.
Once the concrete is hardened we can remove the air from the tubing. The next step is to mount the radiant heating manifolds.
Every tube from the ground is connected to a radiant heating manifold. They have balancing valves and flow meters that allow us to equalize the flow between every loop.
Supply and return lines that will carry hot water from the heat source are connected and taken back to the mechanical room. If the loops are to be filled with antifreeze for a garage, a compact heat exchanger module can be connected to the manifold. If the floor is zoned, thermal actuators are installed that control flow to the loops.
Wall mount boilers are hung, floor standing monsters are nudged in place. any indirect heaters and buffer tanks get positioned depending on the design and the allowed space.
Hydraulic separators, indirect heaters and buffer tanks get connected first completing the primary circuit. Everything is planned out so that all components fit the space.
All secondary circuits, injection mixing lines, pumps and manifolds are connected. Glycol feeders, water make up lines that will be used to fill the system are installed. Pumps, boilers and control boxes are wired up. Low voltage lines from thermostats and snow melt controllers are all hooked up.
Next we purge of all the air. Air is the enemy of a hydronic heating system. Kills pumps, corrodes components, causes noise if trapped. We want it out. IN glycol filled systems we use a high capacity solar filler pump with a built in reservoir, on water filled systems we fill directly from the potable water source. In special cases where the water is too hard or have chemicals other than chlorine present we either treat the water before filling or carry it on site in buckets. Once all circuits are air free, the gas guys did the gas line and vent hookup and combustion analysis we can fire up the system.

If you like what you see or have any questions please call or email us and we will be happy to help.