I'm considering an under-floor radaint heating system (boiler & Pex
tubing). The house has no other heating. I'm thinking about installing
this in a 2 story home. I will put the pex under all downstairs floors
but only be able to get it under an upstairs bathroom floor. I'm
wonder how much heat I can expect upstairs. They are wood floors with
rugs downstairs. Does anyone have a simliar system? How does it heat
I install the systems. Find a contractor and go with what they say. A good
heat loss along with a proper design will make for a properly operating
Here's a few good places to look for installers.
How the heck did my message end up at the bottom of this old thread?!?
I started a new thread. At any rate, thanks for the info. I've been to
heating help dot com and pretty much got the same info you suggested:
Call a contractor. I will check out the other links, though.
I plan on installing the system myself. I'm looking at this system at
the link below (polaris or Trinity boiler). I'm just wondering if it
is normal to only install the pex tubing on the downstairs floor and
let the heat rise up to the upper floor or if you would always install
it on both floors. Has anyone here ever installed it before? What did
you do and how was the out come?
Personally I would not expect to get much heat on the second floor.
Remember you would need enough heat to counter the losses via the windows,
walls and roof. You are going to have one COLD second story. The best bet
is a zoned system for each floor.
Getting a good well balanced system requires more than guess work or
just measuring outside walls. Done right and you will get good comfortable
even heat, done almost right you will have warm rooms and cold rooms and
your wife will remind you of it every winter.
Since it is radiant heat I don't think the heat will get upstairs at all.
I'm not an expert in thermodynamics, but I think radiant heats you directly
with infrared rays.
One of the houses on "This Old House" used radiant under floor heat. It
was the Wickwire (sp?) barn.
The system measured the temp at the floor and at the top of the barn. The
temp went down the further up and away from the floor you went.
On one install they used tubes in the floor on the first floor and used like
a baseboard type heat in the rest of the house. It was fed using the same
pex tubing and had a very low profile maybe 3/4 " thick and maybe 5" inches
high. It didn't have any fins like standard baseboard heat. It looked just
like a piece of trim.
Be prepared for what you don't get. None or minimal support after the
money's changed hands, a cookie cutter design.
Besides, if you are planning on using the first floor heat to also heat the
second floor, be prepared to be really cold.
While radiant floor heat isn't rocket science, it does take a bit of
training and experience. If you think you can buy either over the web,
Stagnant water breeds bacteria. Legonella breeds in stagnant water also.
The water doesn't move (aka stagnates) during the warm weather and the bugs
multiply. You take a shower and breathe in that bug laden steam and the
stuff gets into your lungs and can make you sick.
This is not quite the complete explanation, but it's close enough.
Thanks for the feedback. I was afraid I would really not heat upstairs
to well. The baseboard heaters may be a good way to go. I would REALLY
rather not have to rip out all of the ceilings on the first floor to
get the pex to the second floor. As it is, because of other work being
done, I will be able to get the pex under one bedroom and the upstairs
bathroom. That leaves 3 bedrooms. We have very mild winters here so I
should be able to come up with some way to get heat to those rooms.
One option I'm considering is a small forced air heater in the
attic/third floor, or maybe some other method to heat the 3 bedrooms.
I hate forced air heating. I'm still in the "design phase" here so
nothing is set in stone yet.
To HeatMan: Telling me to call a contractor and warning me that I will
never do it myself or that I will get sick really does little to add
to the exchange here. Obviously you are in the trade and probably
think us mortals are nothing but a bunch of morons who don't know
which end of the hammer to hold on to. Why do you bother to post here?
If you think someone will get sick from an open system then explain
why. If you think the company I will be dealing with is not reputable
then explain why you think this way. It does no one any good to just
lob your personal opinions at the group with nothing to back them up.
Greg - don't be too hard on Heatman. He is trying to help. Not knowing to what
extent your skillset encompasses, he's trying to help you prevent a costly
Understandably, when someone considers radiant on the 1st floor to heat the 2nd
as well, he probably took you for a very ignorant rookie.
Additionally, he was warning you about the dangers associated with indirect
systems and open direct systems, as opposed to closed heating systems. I looked
into radiant heat as well and there's a lot to learn.
The good thing about contractors advice is that they've got years of combined
experience on what works and what doesn't work. Many people expect contractors
to simply give that advice away and explain in every detail what they should
and should not do - including a detailed explaination as to *why* your own idea
isn't too swift when you insist on installing what could potentiall be a big
The bad thing about contractor's advice is we're not doctors and don't always
have such a stellar bedside manner =;-)
firstname.lastname@example.org (HA HA Budys Here) wrote in message
I've been doing nothing but reading about radiant heating for the past
week or two. The site I listed above has a lot of documention on-line
about the installation of radiant floor heating. It seems very
detailed and gives a lot of good information and insight. If I was in
a two story house with a gas or wood stove the heat from that stove
does heat the upstairs. I wasn't able to find any documentaion to say
that radiant heat would do that. The reason I asked the question was
so I WOULD NOT make a costly mistake. Simply telling me to call a
contractor does me no good what so ever. I am about as hard core a do
it yourselfer as you will find. Most of the things in a residential
situation are not brain surgery and can be done by a competent home
owner. You read; you study; you ask questions; you take your time. If
HeatMan does not want to answer my questions that is just fine with me
but don't just say: Call a contractor. I could go to every thread on
this board and answer them all by writing: "Call a contractor"
I answered you. Reading about installing RFH for 2 weeks or so does not
make you a pro.
I have been factory trained and doing these install for almost 5 years. I
have seen too many of these 'hard-core' do it yourself installations that
I have people that call me and ask if they can do it themselves. I tell
them yes they can and give them advice. Just because I say call a
contractor doesn't mean to have them do it for you.
I have said before that RFH isn't rocket science, but it does take time and
Want a look at the real world? Ask about do it yourself jobs here:
Well, I don't want to get in to a whole big thing with you here but
you didn't answer my question. In short, I asked if I could expect
heat upstairs from a system that was 100% downstairs and in only 1 or
2 rooms upstairs. Below is you response.
I install the systems. Find a contractor and go with what they say.
heat loss along with a proper design will make for a properly
I don't see an answer in those three sentences.
Further more, I don't claim to be a pro and never indicated that I
thought I was. If you actually read my post you would see that I was
stating that after reading about RFH heating for two weeks I was still
unsure about whether I could expect heat upstairs from the system. If
I was pro I wouldn't be asking the question.
Well, Jocko, what do you do for a living, besides Troll newsgroups? If I
said something that was obviously wrong, wouldn't you correct me?
You need to really study for more than 2 weeks to understand heating in
general, much less radiant....
Yes, I am in 'the trade.'
I almost want to answer with a statement like "You rotten pr***," but I
won't. Radiant isn't exactly rocket science, but it takes some experience
and training. If that's not enough, email me with your questions.
I do have a customer that has a system he bought from the people you
mentioned. He ain't real happy with the results.
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