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Hot Water Heating

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AV8R
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882 North Central Wisconsin
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2006-01-17          122891


I'm building a house this spring and I am considering using a hot water heating system.

Specifically: In floor in the basement and garage concrete; heat exchanger type water heater; air-handler/heat exchanger with ac for ventilation in the rest of the house.

I have envisioned eventually adding (in the future): more under floor heat in some other areas of the house (under tile); possibly (if someone markets a decent one at a reasonable price) an outdoor wood boiler.

I know there are some folks here who know more about this stuff than I do, what can you tell me about this type of system other than it is $10k more than a regular forced air system. Links to good information? Anything?

Thanks in advance!

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JAZAK5
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 276 coxsackie,ny
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2006-01-17          122895


I'M CURRENTLY INSTALLING THE HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS IN NEW CONSTRUCTION MYSELF.
I'M GOING WITH THE BUDERUS GB/142 PROPANE WALL MOUNTED BOILER WITH 4 ZONES ,3 HEAT/AC AIR HANDELERS AND AN 80 GAL BUDERUS INDIRECT HOT WATER HEATER WHICH HAS A LOSS OF ONLY 1/4 DEGREE EVERY HOUR OF NON USE.
NICE STUFF, THE BOILER IS RATED AT 99% EFF AND THE EXHAUST IS ONLY 120 DEGREES TOPS AND IT'S OUTSIDE FRESH AIR INTAKE AND OUTSIDE EXHAUST OF COURSE ARE PLUMBED WITH PCV, ENABLING ME TO CLOSE THE HOUSE UP BETTER.
WELL, IF YOU ARE USING AIR HANDELERS YOU ARE TECHNICALLY USING A FORCED AIR HEATING SYSTEM WITH ALOT OF EXTRA PLUMBING, YOUR USING A HYDROCOIL TO HEAT THE AIR AND FORCE IT WITH A FAN THROUGH DUCT WORK.
MY AIR HANDLERS ARE ALSO EQUIPPED WITH AC.WHICH ALLOWS THE FILTERING OF AIR AND HUMIDITY CONTROL.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK, NOT ALL HOME CONSTUCTIONS ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO BE HEATED WITH RADIANT HEAT ,THAT WAS MY PROBLEM, CATHEDRAIL CEILINGS, HIGH CEILING HEIGHTS, LOTS OF WINDOWS, SUNRISE/SUNSET IN RELATION TO NORTH,SOUTH,EAST,WEST EXPOSURE,TYPES OF BUILDING MATERALS ALL FACTOR IN, WITH ANY HEATING SYSTEM.
I CONTRACTED AN ENGINEER TP EVALUATE MY PLANS AND DESIGN A SYSTEM THIS ALLOWED ME TO USE A STRAIGHT UP OLD TIME PLUMBER TO DO MY INSTALL AND NOT HAVE TO PAY BIG BUCKS TO A "COMPANY ENGINEER" WHERE COSTS COULD NOT BE CONTROLLED.
$10,000 MORE ???? MAYBE THE EXTRA IN THE ADDITIONAL PLUMBING REQUIRED AND THE MAN HOURS TO INSTALL. THE PROBLEM WE HAVE FOUND IS THAT THE DEALERS FIX THE PRICES AND WONT SELL TO ANY GENERAL CONTRACTOR GOT TO HAVE CONNECTIONS ;)
HOWEVER ITS DIFFICULT TO FIND DISTRIBUTORS THAT ARE ABLE TO SELL DIRECTLY TO DYI'ERS ALOT TO BE SAID ABOUT WARRANTY ISSUES.
NOT TO MENTION THE LAWS AND TECHNICAL EXPERTISE NEEDED TO INSTALL THE AC.
TAKE YOUR TIME AND RESEARCH THE SYSTEM THAT WILL BEST SUIT YOUR HOME, THEN EVALUATE FUEL OPTIONS VERSES TYPES OF SYSTEMS. THEN FIND OUT WHAT EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES COST, THIS WILL HELP TO ASSESS THE FAIRNESS OF AN ESTIMATE. I HAD THREE MAJOR COMPANIES GIVE AN ESTIMATE BEFORE I REALIZED I HAD TO FIND ANOTHER WAY TO GO. THESE ESTIMATES RANGED FROM 23,500- 28,000 TO GET ME THE SYSTEM I'M DOING FOR UNDER 16,000 BEING MY OWN SUBCONTRACTOR. KEEP IN MIND MANY HOURS OF RESEARCH AND A VERY SLOOOOW BUILD ENABLED ME TO DO THIS.
....

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Jason
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2006-01-17          122898


Why do you need to heat HOT water? (just kidding)...

I can't speak for the forced air systems, but I installed an in the floor heating system in my shop (3200 sq. feet), and it's a fairly easy project. Lots of info in available on the internet:

www.aimradiantheating.com
www.radiantcompany.com/system/closed.shtml
www.mvsupply.biz/radiant_heat_design_guide.htm
www.radiantec.com

I went with a tankless water heater in a closed loop system, and it's absolutely great. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2006-01-17          122903


I am in the design phase of retrofitting radiant floor heat on the main floor of our house to augment the POS ground source heat pump that is unreliable and can't keep up on cold days. It will be installed in the floor joists with heat reflectors, easy to do with an unfinished basement that is conditioned space. I've got some to learn so will be interested in what is discussed here. I'm thinking of using our massively oversized propane water heater at first. That may be a permanent solution, or if there are problems we can install a boiler later. ....

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grinder
Join Date: Oct 2003
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2006-01-17          122905


AV8R
The preparation is very important. The base must be very stable.
Check out building sciences .com ....

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AV8R
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882 North Central Wisconsin
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2006-01-17          122909


JAZ- What brand of boiler are you using with 99% effeciency? The best I've been seeing have been something in the area of mid to upper 80%.

Effeciency is a realitive thing, I realize. I was under the impression that comparing effeciency ratings between a forced air furnace and a boiler are like comparing apples and ballbearings. Is this true?

I have to be honest, I will probably do little of the work myself on the HVAC, so I'm looking for information to use in finding and deciding on a system to have installed.

I appreciate the information. Thanks. ....

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Peters
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2006-01-17          122915


On our house that was distroy by fire in 99. I had an out side wood heater and a coil in the Heat pump. With this system I burned little wood and could keep the house at any temp I desired. The outside wood boiler is 120K BTU I believe. I connected it to the pool and it will heat the pool although slowly.
If you have the air handling I think the radiant heating is a little over kill.
One of the things that is critical is isolation of the floor from the ground. If the ground water is high and you do not have foam or enough sand all the heat enters the earth.
I have not place the coil in my ground based heat pump. But could do what Ken suggested as I put marble floors in the Kitchen and baths. ....

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kwschumm
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2006-01-17          122918


Our house has forced air heating but we have electric radiant floor heat in the bathrooms with ceramic tile floors. The bathrooms are MUCH more comfortable than anywhere else in the house. One reason we're retrofitting radiant on the main floor is the comfort factor. With the high ceilings and 24 foot vaulted great room all the heat disappears upstairs, and the ceiling fan running in winter mode only helps a little. ....

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AV8R
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882 North Central Wisconsin
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2006-01-18          122933


Thats exactly why I want to do this too. My house design is similar to below link, so there is a loft and a high vaulted great room. I want to have the flexibility to add the other features in the future (under floor, outdoor boiler, solar, geothermal, whatever the technology brings).

The house I grew up in had baseboard radiators around the outside of the house and it was a comfortable heat that was very reasonable to fuel (natural gas). With no ductwork, there was no AC though. ....


Link:   My house design

 
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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
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2006-01-18          122939


My house has a hot water zone that flows through a copper grid in a forced air system. Then there are separate hot water baseboard zones to two upstairs bedrooms which are off the balcony. Combination baseboard, forced air system. Not sure why the prior owners did this. I assume it was to eliminate ductwork requirements to the upstairs. As a result, when I installed central air it only went to the first floor and balcony. I had to install separate air conditioners to the upstairs bedrooms. ....

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kwschumm
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2006-01-18          122956


Very nice looking home AV8R! The vaulted great room with all the windows will be a challenging room to make comfortable in the winter. Radiant floor heat is the way to go in there. If you live in an area needing A/C maybe forced air with radiant floor heat in the great room and bathrooms is the way to go. Budget allowing of course. You could use electric floor heat in the baths, it might be cheaper after labor costs are figured in and it doesn't seem to cost much extra to run. ....

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AV8R
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2006-01-18          122967


The basement will not be finished for a while, so retrofitting "under" floor heat will be possible under the kitchen/dining room and master bath (which will both be tile). I'm unsure of putting it below the great room because that will be wood flooring. I may have to rely on ceiling fans for air movement.

Doing the in-floor heat throughout the House is prohibitively expensive for me, so I am trying to to as much as I can, as I can. Basement floor and garage floor are mandatory as far as I'm concerned, but how it's done is what I'm looking to learn. ....

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Oliver
Join Date: Sep 2003
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2006-01-18          122972


I just finished a new house which has a combination of baseboard and radiant heat. If I had to do it again I would:

1. Put radiant heat in the basement and garage, and lay all the pipe myself. I did not do it because of the cost (and my three small children, hence no time). The bulk of the cost is labor. It is not particuarly difficult, just tedious.

2. Run the piping for radiant heat myself, again, to save on the labor cost.

3. NOT use linoleum in the bathrooms (wiere there is radiant heat). It can be done, but the installer I used put the floring in wrong and it is thus far a nightmare to correct it -- I am not sure what the end result is going to be.

4. We have a great room with lots of southern exposure. In this room we have baeborad heat and a pellet stove. This is my first experience with pellet stoves, and it is great! We leave the heat at 55 with the stove at 70 and hve not had to turn the heat up since we moved in back in November. Without the pllet stove I would be worried about the warmth of the rooom.

Just a few quick thoughts before I need to head off to class...

....

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kwschumm
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2006-01-18          122974


I'm in the same boat about retrofitting underneath wood flooring. Not sure how well it will work with 1" subfloor and 3/4" solid oak, especially with a thick tibetan rug and mat on top. Next winter I'll know for sure.

Have you looked at the electric heating mats you put under tile floors? It only added $900-1000 per bathroom to our construction costs six years ago. ....

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JAZAK5
Join Date: Jul 2003
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2006-01-18          123000


the brand is "buderus"
BUDERUS HYDRONIC SYSTEMS
50 WENTWORTH AVE.
LONDONERRY,NH 03053
TEL.603-552-1100//FAX603-421-2719
WWW.BUDERUS.NET. ....

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
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2006-01-19          123060


The instant hot water tankless systems I employed in the plant were Takagi. They seemed to work well and were reasonable quality.
I also have the high cellings 24 ft in livingroom and 14ft in the kitchen and bedrooms, but have a number of fans and high E windows. I have not found it too cool but my heat pump does not run continuously. It only kicks on and off unless it is really cold. I found it quite comfortable with the hot water coil. It is just 300 or so for the coil from what I have read. I might add both or try the coil first. ....

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guest
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2006-01-23          123287


AV8R
I am also in the process of building a house this spring. Am going with Geo Thermal heat. (ground to air) it would be worth checking out. Most of the people I have spoken to with this type of heat can heat and cool thier house for less than $500.00 a year. ....

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kwschumm
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2006-01-23          123309


$500 a year? They must have some mighty small houses. We run nearly $300/month with our ground source heat pump in the winter and that's with gas hot water. In a 3600 sf house we run about $3000/year for electric. I don't think ground source heatpumps will ever reach payback at todays rates. If the rates double, yes. ....

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ndherb
Join Date: Jan 2006
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2006-01-24          123379


the people I spoke with, two in Northern Minn. and one in N. Dakota say otherwise. the one in N. Dakota has a 3200 sq ft house and he also heated his garage (in floor) and he was less than 600.00 the two in Minn. were less than 400.00 for the year and it's cold in them states. ....

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AV8R
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2006-01-24          123380


At this point the up-front costs on a geo-thermal system are prohibative. BUT, the system I am assembling (hopefully) will be upgradable to several differant alternatives in the future if they are perfected.

I was going to bump this thread back up, but you beat me to it. Thanks.

Please feel free to throw out other ideas. This is all good stuff to think about! ....

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Peters
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2006-01-24          123390


I don't know what the problem is with Ken's Geothermal. I use the pellet stove in the winter as I was heating for less than $90 per month. The max electric bill I have had for the house in $160. I have 2 teen agers, electric hot water and oven so I suspect the base without heat or cooling is $70. Are you loosing temperature on the water? I have that problem as I need to increase capacity. ....

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kwschumm
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2006-01-24          123394


According to the three companies that have investigated there is nothing wrong with our geothermal system. All the pressures and thermodynamic values are within spec. So either the energy projections were wrong, or the energy savings are hype, or the unit is junk or all of the above. It's not the house, blower door and duct blaster tests have proven that. Even if the projections were correct the payback would have been 20 years. As it is the unit will never pay for itself, especially since we have to retrofit additional heat to keep the house comfortable. The only way I'd make that investment again is if the company would guarantee savings with cash penalties for non-performance. ....

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kwschumm
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2006-01-24          123395


Peters, was that question about losing water temperature directed at me? I checked the loop temperature and pressure last week. It appeared normal - loop water temperature of 46 degrees and pressure of 80 lbs. Loop temperature drops as the season wears on which is probably normal. The first year the unit had a bad TXV and the loop temperature was 31 degrees. That was an expensive year for heat. ....

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ndherb
Join Date: Jan 2006
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2006-01-24          123401


Ken thanks for the info i will have to check into this deeper. so far all i heard was positive feedback it's good to get another point of view. what type, (brand) of system do you have? ....

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kwschumm
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2006-01-24          123422


It's a Waterfurnace model ATO52 three-zone system, desuperheater for hot water and two stage auxiliary heat (which sucks up a lot of power on the coldest of days). I've had independent kwh loggers on the three circuits feeding the heat pump for years, and it consistently uses 120% more electricity than the pre-sale estimates that were prepared by Waterfurnace. Every time I think about this system it pisses me off. I may end up talking to a lawyer about it. One piece of advice - if ground source units aren't common in your area then DON'T GET ONE. As it is now for us the installing dealer dropped Waterfurnace and the nearest dealer is 600 miles away. ....

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Peters
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2006-01-26          123533


Ken, what is your base ground temperature? Mine is 60 degrees so that may make a difference. I would think yours is 50 something. Ideally you should not get any drop or increase in base temperature over the season. But yours sounds reasonable.
I looked at Waterfurnance and was not impressed. There must be something wrong with compressor or heat exchanger. My unit blows about 120 degree or more air when running. With the temperature down to 28 last night it only kicked on a few times in the morning. This is with the pellet stove on low.
Ken, what system did you find to run under the floor? Have you got a link? ....

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kwschumm
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2006-01-26          123563


Ground source units aren't at all common in this area so we went with WaterFurnace because there were two dealers. We went with the dealer with the best references. Now there are no dealers and we have an orphan. Our supply air temp is nowhere near 120 degrees, last time I measured it was less than 80 degrees with the compressor running on high speed. Extremely poor. No idea who I can go to for an unbiased analysis, so I really feel like hiring a lawyer to write a letter to the installing dealer, WaterFurnace and the loop guy. But I'm whining. I'd estimate the ground temp to be in the 50's too but haven't measured.

As far as radiant heat, I was thinking of going through radiantec dot com. A friend of mine used their stuff in a garage with overhead apartment he built and he was really happy with their product and support and got great results. ....

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Peters
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2006-01-27          123638


Ken, to determine the ground temp. I measured an artisan well here. I know the temp in Vancouver is 50 as I measured cooling water one day from the mains.
I did not add the aux. heat as I had the pellet stove.
Something must be wrong with the unit. I would fight with Waterfurnace. ....

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kwschumm
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2006-01-27          123642


Waterfurnace won't talk to me. They ignored the letter I wrote to the president of the company, and when I call I always get directed to the distributor, who always directs me to the same guys who have been her a dozen times already. Maybe they'll talk to a lawyer. I know for a fact that the loop was not installed per spec, but the loop guy swears it will meet requirements. Maybe I'll start there. I've had three different companies look at the unit and all swear it is operating correctly. ....

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jdcman
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2006-02-01          123939


Hey Ken,

These WaterFurnace guys claim a 400% efficiency spec, I had come across this ad sometime back and dismissed it as “flubby” dust when they never responded with a system data sheet. Maybe I’ll try them again.

I assume you got one since you installed their system … how many BTU’s is your system?

After seeing your post I thought about it a little further and now I wish I could see a data sheet … but I applied their web claims to my house --- consider the following:

My current air handler, (approx. 40K BTU system), draws about 50 amps at 230 volts, or approx. 11.5 KWH. So according to their claim, (given a matched output), their combination of heat exchanger / pump and whatever other electrical stuff is on would only draw approx. 29 watts. For argument sake, assume that this all goes to the pump, this equates to approx a 1/26 hp pump --- .

I must be missing something. I’m of course making the assumption that the system would require a pump motor combo closer to at least a one hp motor rating which is going to require approx 750 watts, it certainly would be larger than 1/26 hp.

Do they talk at all about the gals/min of fluid exchange? Can you see the motor in your unit? What does the nameplate say?

This analysis completely ignores the aux coils. As far as I can tell the efficiency claims don’t seem creditable.

But this doesn’t explain why your system doesn’t heat the house.

I haven’t seen a description of your collection field … what type did you have installed? Who sized the system … are you sure they did what they claimed.

Interesting topic, something I’ve consider doing, please keep us posted.

Regards and Good luck
....

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Andy_H
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2006-02-01          123940


KW
Sorry to hear about your trouble with the geothermal unit.
On the front page of the local paper there was an article about a 7k sqft home using a geothermal unit. Their elec. bill last year was just over 2k, but their unit used well water then dumped it in the pond. Not bad for Michigan. What happened to the outdoor stove idea? ....

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kwschumm
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2006-02-02          123946


jdcman, I'll try to post some specifics in the next week or so. I'm gathering data to take to a lawyer. The heat pump started tripping on a water flow fault light over the weekend but the pumps are running and water pressure is good.

AndyH, $2k/year for a 7k foot house? Our electric bill for just january was $320 and we have the cheapest electrical rates in the country. I've jettisoned the outdoor wood stove idea because of smoke issues. We don't want to live in a cloud of smoke and there's no way to know up front how much smoke there will be. ....

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Andy_H
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2006-02-02          123958


I understand your concern about the smoke. My stove is only 70ft. from the house, which is close. There have only been a few days in two winters that I could smell the stove if I opened the back door of the house. It just depends on how green and how wet the wood is. I don't even cover mine, I just stack it on a trailer that I pull up in front of the stove. The stove I have, you make the chimney as high as you want. The stoves that have blower fans only smoke for the first 10 seconds and then clean up. My last electric bill was $97 for 1254kwh. My propane is at 40% of 500 gal. from 10/04. ....

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jdcman
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 103 washington
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2006-02-03          123986


Ken,

Just caught the error of my ways,

My arithmetic was off --- assuming 11.5KW output with a 400% eff, would dictate an input of about 2.9KW, not 29W. For sake of arguement again, assume that all the energy went into the pump, in theory, a unit of up to 3.87 hp could be used. I'll assume that a unit of half this size could actually provide enough drive to cover the flow requirements.

So the up shot is that I now believe that the eff spec's do seem plausible, provided the assumption about the flow requiremnts are correct.

My home is relatively small compared to yours, (2500 sf, 24ft vault only in the living rm and kitchen), but based on these numbers I could in theory have this unit on for 16 hours a day, 31 days a month and expect to pay approx. 105 bucks for heating, (albeit it be damn hot). Based on how we actually use our forced air system, it would actually be closer to an ave of less than 5 hrs a day. Looks like quite a savings provided the system actually worked.

Having said all this I really haven't priced out a system, but I suspect for us the time to pay off may be a really issue considering that we generally only have 3-4 months of any substantial heating bill per year.

Again good luck, too bad you're having such problems. But I know how frustrating it can be when the "supposed" experts come out and aren't very helpful. Worse when they deceive you and you've paid good money. ....

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2006-02-03          123995


JD - we have the system on more for cooling than heating. I did not stop cooling into October. I will probably start periodically in April. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2006-02-03          123998


JD, I worked through all those numbers before purchasing our system and they seemed to make sense. In real life it's just not working out that way for us. You mentioned that you were considering a geothermal system and I see you're nearby in Washington. If you decide to install one let me know and I'll tell you who NOT to use for your loop installation. ....

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jdcman
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 103 washington
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2006-02-03          124005


Thanks,

I'm going to do some more research and thinking about our requirements. Good to have access to a group of people with experience on both sides of the coin.

Priceless.
....

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