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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
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    Hydronic in floor heating options

    Hi all,

    Iím currently getting ready to build a new home and it seems that my heating options are the biggest struggle Iím having right now. What is the best and most efficient way to heat my home?

    I would like to have in floor heating. I considered a ducted heat pump system, but the installation costs are still high and the house has two 600 sq ft garages that canít be heated by the ducted system. So I figured I might as well spend the money and get the in floor heat that I would like.

    However there are so many different ways to generate the heat. I am open to burning wood, so a wood furnace is an option. There will be propane in the house anyways for the range and fireplace so a wood furnace with backup propane was another thought. This could also provide my domestic hot water.

    I was interested in an air to water heat pump as well, however I am having a hard time trying to find someone in my area to install one. But if I could how would this hold up to a wood/propane system? I live in Eastern Canada so the winters are cold, how efficient would the air to water heat pump be in the winter months when it gets down to minus 15,20,25 degrees celsius?

    Another question I had was about using the same air to water heat pump to heat a pool? I have no idea if the same air to water heat pump for a house could be used to heat a pool but it would be very convenient if they could. The house is 2500 sq ft main level and a full 2500 sq ft basement. So 5000 sq feet total. From what Iíve been told Iíll need two heat pumps for a house this size. So if one could be used to heat the pool in the summer it would be a great idea. But I have no idea if this would work so Iím looking for all the advice I can get!

    Many thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Broomall, PA
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    There's many ways to do this but if you're building a home, you really need a mechanical engineer to design your system, not whoever the builder recommends.
    An M.E. or P.E. who specializes in HVAC/Hydronices, could answer all your questions and more.
    You could use an outdoor wood boiler, probably with an indoor buffer, tied into a conventional system. By utilizing a buffer, you can load the wood boiler in the morning, and run low temp water thru the radiant. Radiant could also be used in ceilings too.
    You could also consider snow melt. One of the RPA members used the radiant in the snow melt (under asphalt) and just circulating it in the summer was enough to warm up the pool (has to be sunny of course).
    Water to water would be better than air to water but you'll need supplemental heat for sure.

    I'd start here:

    And here's a pretty top notch cutting edge hydronics person:

    And here's a wealth of expert information about hydronics

    It's just a matter of how much you want to spend
    If I do a job in 30 minutes it's because I spent 30 years learning how to do that in 30 minutes. You owe me for the years, not the minutes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Northern NV
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    Unless you are doing an insulated slab radiant floor with little or no covering, the air source heat pump will not cut it. Cannot reliably develop high enough temperatures to do the job. Problem is with the compression ratios on the compressors. Too high...

    air source or water source heat pump is a great option for pool heat at no higher than 85F water temp.

    Most outdoor wood "boilers" are being frowned upon if not banned for the emissions.

    Do a cost comparison of LP and Electricity per delivered BTU. Eastern Canada is mostly hydro, so cost might be quite competitive and equipment to heat water may be less as well. Outfit named SEISCO make a neat modulating electric floor "boiler" that I've used with great success.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Post Likes
    Thread Starter
    Thanks for all the input so far!

    I wanted to stay away from an outside boiler, Iím not really interested in having to go outside and fill up my boiler all the time, and I know when Iím gone away working my wife definitely wonít want to. Plus I think this would be unappealing to a buyer if we ever had to sell the house.

    I thought about using an electric water heater as a backup but from what Iíve read electric is 3-4 times more expensive then gas to operate. Electricity is fairly cheap here where I live but my province currently built a huge hydro project that went way over budget and rates are expected to double within the next year.

    One thing I was curious about though is say in the spring and fall when itís not that cold but you still need a little heat on, would having a furnace burning inside make the house uncomfortably hot? Or if the furnace was used for domestic hot water as well would the house be hot in the summer when people were showering, etc? I know my grandparents had a house that used an oil furnace to provide hot water radiant heat and domestic hot water and they had to install a traditional electric hot water tank to use in the summer because the house would get way to hot in the summer with the oil furnace providing hot water if multiple people got a shower back to back. But this system was 30 years old so Iím sure improvements have been made since then.

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