My wife is insisting on having radiant floor heating (RFH) installed when
we build our new house. I did some research on it and it sounds pretty
convincing. But I have a bunch of questions...
1) has anyone in the group had first hand practical experience installing
and/or using RFH and what are they?
2) what are the drawbacks that aren't described in the "pro" RFH literature?
3) I will have a basement in the house of about 2300 sqft plus an oversized
garage at the basement level. Do you recommend installing RFH there too?
4) If I use RFH in the basement should I have it put into the concrete
floor? I'm concerned about what I would guess is an enormous
cost/effort/inconvenience fixing a leak that develops within the concrete.
So I'm considering installing it on top of the concrete and installing a
plywood subfloor on sleepers on top of the concrete. Is this idiotic?
Regarding RFH for the first floor, I'm planning on using PEX stapled to the
underside of the subflooring with the use of aluminum heat difusers. I know
there are other systems where you can get subflooring material that has the
tubing embedded in it. Just seems to me that 1 poorly placed nail any
you're in for real trouble with that type of system. So...
5) Any comments on that type of installation?
6) What can you comment about the subfloor and the hardwood flooring's
ability to withstand the 100-120F temps and the variations? Any suggestions
about the materials (assuming I want hardwood flooring)?
And regarding the furnace, I was reading about one of the drawbacks of this
typ of system is that when you use PEX tubing, even the aluminum clad ones,
there's still a certain amount of Oxygen pentration. Because of that you
need to be sure that you have ABSOLUTELY NO ferrous materials in the systm
that the heated water will come in contact with. So, to a large extent
you're stuck using a pretty expensive Stainless Steel heater. I was
wondering why I couldn't use a standard glass lined hot water heater. The
benefits would be: a) lower cost for the hardware, b) one heater/zone
eliminates the single point of failure and c) because I could set the temp
of the HWH to 120 I could avoud the cost of the expensive "mixing" valves
that seem common in RFH systems. So...
7) any comments on using cheapo HWH's to as the heat source?
And as some additional info, the house to be built is a 3200sqft ranch with
full basement. It will be in downeast Maine, Bar Harbor to be exact.
There's no natural gas available there so I plan on using Propane or
possibly oil heat.
Finally, if you've read this far, thanks for your patience. I'm sure I'll
have a bunch more questions. But I will post summaries of the most useful
info I gather.