I have a 2600 sq ft 2 story home built in 1846. I also have cast iron
radiators in both floors, which are the primary heat source. We have an oil
fired boiler which is five years old & 87% efficient att last measurement.
We would like to convert to radiant floor heat as we have total access to
the underside of the first floor. Anyone have experience/advice on
retrofit of a radian heat system in older homes?
I also have a boiler and hot water baseboard. When I finished the basement
recently, I installed radiant floor heat. I run 90 deg water through the
system. I have a mixing valve installed between the hot of the boiler and
the return of the loops. Water comes back at 85 deg and the boiler mixes
enough hot back in to bring it back to 90 deg. Check out
www.radiantcompany.com . They are out of Vermont. I purchased most materials
through them. They also figured out what size pex I needed, how many loops,
size pump. They also had a form you could fill out online which will give
you a better idea of cost equipment needed with no obligation to buy. Give
them a call. They were super friendy and helpful. By the way, Radiant floor
heat is the best heat I ever felt.
Ripped off? In some ways you are probably correct. I wasn't familiar with
the systems but I wanted one. Once I saw the manifolds they sell you I
realized I could have done my own thing. 5 300 ft lengths of 1/2 pex tubing
was right on with what I could buy around here. But the local heating supply
company's didn't want to bother with you if you weren't a contractor. They
told me that. So I thumbed my nose at them and bought out of state. If what
you say is true then I feel pretty lucky because I had great service from
radiantcompany and haven't had a problem yet. Their tech did tell me to put
130 deg water through the pex, But a local contractor I know told me I'd be
better off with 90 deg. I tried both and 90 is better.
You were one of the lucky ones. If you needed any tech support, you would
have been SOL. Besides, did you Vermont company (or you) run a heat loss on
your place? [no]
One of the benefits of radiant is lower water temps.
I went to the site you pointed out and read an hour worth of pissing and
moaning by contractors about DIYers. I did not find in any one post that
pointed out radiantcompany of vermont as a problem. There was 1 general
statement about a company in vermont, but I'm sure there is a few. I did my
homework before I started and now have a fine running system. Could it be
you are one of those contractors pissing and moaning because someone didn't
pay you 30-40 dollars an hour to screw down 750 conduit straps to hold the
pex in place for a gypcrete pour over an existing concrete slab? At 30 $ an
hour, that alone would have ran me $1000. I was told by a local contractor
starting into the radiant business, that the system I installed would have
ran $12,000-$16,000 by most of the thieves in the business. When all was
said and done, total costs to me $3,700. (the gyprcrete pour was $2,500 of
Ed, that still doesn't scratch what I would have charged, but hey, as the
poster said he accuses all of us HVAC guys as being thieves. Heck if what
we are is thieves whazt he heck is McDonalds with 4 times the Mark-up on
material as HVAC contractors. I truly resent the remark as all of us being
thieves. Beeper you can contact me off group if you would like a list of
all of our costs and overhead.
How long did it take you to install? What do you make per hour at work?
How much does it cost your employer to employ you? How much are your
unemployment and workmans comp rates, how much is you business insurance,
how much are your licenses and permits, how many trucks do you have to keep
ion good shape and operational, uniforms, tools, bad debts, what kind of
profit margin (after taxes) do you think we really make, what standard of
living do you think we deserve.
It took 10 hours x 3 people to lay the pex.(understand It was recommended to
me to pipe strap every 2 feet because pex was being laid over existing
concrete slab and would be air pressurized and since was being covered with
only 3 inches of gypcrete, the pex would float to the top if not stapped
down). If it was a new constuction, labor for laying the pex would be
substantially less. If it was an underfloor installation(which I have not
done yet but will shortly, I figure 4-5 hours x 2 people)I'll be generous
and give another 6 hours to plumb into boiler plumbing and make it work
Bob, Understand one thing. I am not condemning you for making a fair
price for your work. What I am condemning is the contractor who is trying to
scare the DIY into paying quadruple $$$ to have them do it. Radiant heat is
not that difficult to install! Yes it is labor intensive and yes you need to
know the rules. But the average Joe that knows how to solder and knows what
a compression fitting is can istall radiant floor heat. As a business man I
would think it would be in your best interest to offer a consult(of course
you would charge) to the DIYer so he/she could employ your service to
complete the techinal part of installation but allow them to earn some sweat
equity by laying/pulling the pex. If this was all done to your specs, what's
the harm? To be honest, the internet company told me to run 5-300 foot
loops, 1/2 pex and keep them even in length to within 10 feet of each other.
Along outside walls space the runs at 6" until I was 24" in from the wall.
After that, space the runs 12 inches from each other. At his point I
gathered up a 6-pack after the kids went to bed and sat in a chair in the
basement and pictured the refinished basement in my head. I got quiet time,
figured out a pattern(customized to my layout, (when I use the bathroom in
my basement, the floor is at it's best because that is where my 5 supplies
begin their travels)), marked the floor laid the pex, and ended up with 5
loops 275 feet long plus/minus 5 feet.
I would never condemn you or anyone else from making a living, just
don't do it by glamorizing the difficulty at the expense of a DIYer. After
all, we're just trying to make ends meet and maintain a standard of living
also. My advice to you, for what it is worth, is help your potential
customers. Yes charge for your time! But remember you can be paid for what
you know as much as for what you do and sweat less.
By the way, I am an Industrial electrician for a large non union
manufacturer in Pa. I get paid well but less than an union electrician. My
job consists more of troubleshooting than it does installation. No I don't
do business on the side, other than family and friends for free. Yes, I will
give out any elctrical knowledge I have to help someone. I hesitate to do
work for non family/friends because I do not carry insurance.
No one can tell you how possible it is to install radiant unless they look
at it. Is your house heated with steam or hot water(radiators can be
either)? How well insulated is it? And so on and so forth.... Go to the
Wall and ask at http://forums.invision.net/Main.cfm?CFApp=2
IMO, you need to find someone that knows what they are doing. Go here and
find one: http://www.heatinghelp.com/getListed.cfm
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