I'm looking for input on the following option for our old home. We have a 100 year old, 2200 sq. ft home in Minnesota. We've insulated attic with 3.5" of Icynene and replaced all the windows (double hung and picture) with new double glazed windows. Now we want to replace the 60+ year old boiler and standard hot water heater with a 90%+ efficient boiler and boiler-mate water heater (probably the TriangleTube Solo 110). Since we're re-doing the heating, we thought it'd be a good idea to zone the house by floor. One contractor's suggestion was if we wanted to do the zoning and they'll need to cut the headers to the first floor radiators anyway, that we could pull out those radiators and put in radiant floor heating instead. Then the 2nd zone for the upper floor would just use the existing radiators.
We are planning a major remodeling of about 1/4 of the first floor (kitchen, bathroom, mudroom), including moving walls, etc. (in a few years). It seems to me that not having to work around radiator placement would be a bonus then as well.
Having grown up in old homes with radiant heating, I have an affection for the radiators themselves but I think having even warm throughout the whole floor would be nice, particularly with 1 young kid and one infant.
Nice thing about the Solo, it has 2 supplies, one at a higher temp to heat an indirect and I guess your high temp radiator zone upstairs. The unit only comes in one size so you need to get a heat loss calc done to make sure it will cover your needs. Plently of other high efficency systems out there: Buderus, Viessman, WM Ultra, Munchkin, etc.
Just think about why only having 2 zones in total. Kitchen might want different zone then the living room. Difficult to just put down tubing all over the place and think you can re-partion the space. You don't want just one giant loop of PEX for the whole first floor. sperate loops for kitchen, livingrm, etc should come to a common manifold so you can add more zones or just adjust flow to each area.
So if we have multiple loops to a manifold we essentially get addtional zones that we can adjust manually or does the manifold tie into additional stats?
I haven't had the heat loss calc done yet but I'm going to ask for one and I might get the home owner version of HVAC calc and do my own as well.
the loops can have motorized heads on each so you can zone room(s) if you want to.
Keep in mind that a radiant heat loss is a little different than a conventional heat loss, due to radiants characteristics. It is critical to have a RADIANT heating design done to analyze loop temps/floor temps/ possible supplemantal heating. If someone wings it and throws tube in, it's likely there will be major disappointment.