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Unread 10-14-2013, 01:08 PM   #1
Bodie Powers
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Need help with hydronic heating system

Does anyone know of a forum dedicated to hydronic heating systems? I'm in the early stages of designing a system for my home and am in need of technical assistance. I've googled it and the closest that comes up is Terry Love's forum, which is more geared toward general plumbing...very limited hits when searching for hydronics.

JB's tile forum really spoiled me....it's truly a blessing for those seeking DIY help, wish I could find something similar for hydronics.
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Unread 10-14-2013, 01:34 PM   #2
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We do have some people here experienced in installations. I don't know about the engineering end of it, though.
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Unread 10-15-2013, 10:11 AM   #3
Bodie Powers
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Thanks John. I've got a small 1,500 sq ft home with minimal heating requirements (SF Bay, moderate climate/well insulated home). It's one of those deals where I THINK I know what I'm doing but am looking for someone with actual experience that can point out the obvious errors in my thinking.....kind alike the pros do here when I'm on the verge of shooting myself in the foot...lol.

The value of this site really comes into focus when you try looking around for help in other trades....wish your model would be copied by other trades. Terry Love does a pretty darned good job with plumbing but is a bit thin on radiant heat stuff.
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Unread 10-15-2013, 11:04 AM   #4
dhagin
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I've installed and inspected a number of hydronic systems. Each manufacturer of the piping and boilers typically has all the info you need. Make some calls.
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Unread 10-15-2013, 09:38 PM   #5
madronatile
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heatinghelp.com
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Unread 10-18-2013, 03:22 PM   #6
Bodie Powers
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Matt, thanks for the tip. Heatinghelp.com has some very knowledgable folks on board, and I'm getting lots of good advice.
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Unread 10-19-2013, 10:16 AM   #7
Screw Loose
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I have installed several hydronic heating systems.
Are you going with in-floor, baseboard, steel panel rad, cast iron rad or another?

For only 1500sqft you might look into a Combination mini wall hung condensing boiler that would supply both your heating requirements as well as hot tap water.
Viessmann Vitodens 200 is a nice unit I installed in a small (about 1000sqft) house here in Ohio on a system of small steel panel rads.
http://www.viessmann.co.uk/en/detach...ens_200-w.html

Have you already done the math to calculate your Btu/Hr requirements per room, or just the total building envelope?
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Unread 10-19-2013, 08:12 PM   #8
Bodie Powers
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Yep have done the heat loss calc by room.....adds up to 35K whole house. Boiler is 40 year old AO Smith Hydronic Copper 80K BTU output. Way o'kill but as far as I can tell the main downside to an o'size boiler is added fuel cost. A new boiler is several thousand installed, when I weigh that against a couple hundred/year added fuel cost the math says to wait until the boiler wears out. Just installed a new house water heater last year so really no need to consider a combo now. And...I'm selling the house and moving next year.

Am installing Runtal radiators throughout....combination of wall panel and baseboard. What I'm not clear about is whether to install a reverse return or direct return system. Reverse return means extra piping but a better balanced system, but direct may work equally well if I use TRV's on the radiators....which i plan to do anyway to control individual room temps. Where I need the most help is with pipe sizing. The math calculations are beyond me. I'm leaning toward 3/4" input/return trunks with 1/2" on the radiator loops.
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Unread 10-19-2013, 09:40 PM   #9
Screw Loose
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Considering that your current boiler is YES overkill for the house, figuring pipe sizing would now be an issue more with the type of pump you have at the boiler.
Even though I've not purchased from Runtal(I buy Myson or Pensotti), I know their product line has great tech support. Find out what your pump is, then determine what the needed hot supply rate to your new units is to be, then call tech support. Worst case scenario is that you have to go to bigger main trunks like 1" pipe that then feed down to the .5" rad pipes. OR a better pump.

Just checking, this is all closed loop, right? It should be, but sometimes... there's weirdness. Also is this house all 1 zone or multiple zones?

Since you're doing a combination installation of panels and baseboard units (without seeing your site) I would say that the two pipe feed/return system is a better installation. It does add more pipe, and also more water to the system to heat, but you won't get a cold or banging radiator like a mono-loop or direct return can have.

I do multi-pipe multi-zone installs all in cut and threaded black iron pipe; Rube Goldberg himself would look at the mazes of pipework I make and say "That's crazy!"
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Last edited by Screw Loose; 10-19-2013 at 09:45 PM. Reason: pump info
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Unread 11-15-2013, 10:10 AM   #10
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Try the folks at radiantheat.com
Most of the big PEX dealers have calculators and engineering help.

Just to crow a bit-- My place is on a natural hot springs so I have hydronic heat in five zones running by gravity. It's only controllable in 24 hour delays, so I vent on warm days and used outside air circulation to control temperature. For really cold, windy weather, I boost circulation with a pump.

The entire system runs from springs to a waste pond with tropical fish, lilypads and turtles. Not bad for the high desert.
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