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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Barns Pole Barns Forum

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 05-22-2005, 22:11 Post: 111378
chrisscholz



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 heating the shop-radiant floor vs infrared above

We are building a 30'x50' insulated pole barn. The main area will be concrete. I plan on using it for car storage, a work-shop, and the kids can play basketball there in the winter (vaulted trusses).

I want to keep it about 50-60 degrees in the winter. Should I install a propane infrared overhead tube heater, or insulate the slab and run radiant floor heating? I don't have to heat all 1500 sq ft, and thought about in-floor heat on just half, and use a thermal break to separate heated slab from unheated. But am worried about the long term cost to keep that floor heated all winter. Would it be better to just use infrared as needed when occupied? Would I just buy a hot water heater to hook up to the in-floor heat with a thermostat?






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 05-23-2005, 06:56 Post: 111385
hardwood

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 heating the shop-radiant floor vs infrared above

My heated shop is realitvly small 24 x 26, but if I were to do it over I'd probebly use the same system installed about 25 yrs. ago. I don't remember the exact amounts, but under the slab we put 2-3 in. of foam board then put radiant heaters just below the ceiling, (about 9 ft.). It seems to not cost a lot to keep it at about 50 degrees, and have had no matinence problems yet. Liquid heated floors are getting popular and they may have some advantages over what I did, you should check it out. I'm sure ther are folks on the board who have them and perhaps they will share their experience. Best of luck. Frank.






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 05-23-2005, 08:20 Post: 111391
havoctec



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 heating the shop-radiant floor vs infrared above

If you want to keep it heated all winter then in floor is the way to go. If you just want to heat it when it is in use then radiant heat is the way to go. Our shed is 26x40 with in floor using an electric on demand hot water heater. It is on an off peak elctric meter ($.04/kw) and it costs about $300 to keep it at 50 deg. all winter.

I would stay away from the forced air gas units. JMHO.






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 05-23-2005, 14:51 Post: 111420
pkzochow



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 heating the shop-radiant floor vs infrared above

In floor heating would be the way to go. Do you have access to wood for heating? I have a neighbor that built a 34x60 barn and a 3,000 square foot house and is all heated off one of the outdoor wood burners, it could heat twice that with out any issues.






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 05-24-2005, 12:18 Post: 111473
chrisscholz



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 heating the shop-radiant floor vs infrared above

I thought about outdoor wood furnaces, but work too many hours to be cutting firewood.

What about the on-demand electric water heater idea? Never heard of these for in-floor heat. Wouldn't a simple gas or electric water heater be better? What is the advantage? I do want to keep my utilities low. I am still leaning towards radiant floor heating in part of the shop's floor. I assume with decent insulation that this radiant heat would help the entire shop stay 50-60 degrees.






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 05-24-2005, 14:27 Post: 111482
havoctec



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 heating the shop-radiant floor vs infrared above

Yes you can use a regular gas hat water heater. Everyone that I have talked with says don't use an electric tank hot water heater. I think the problem has to do with recovery time and element longevity. I went with a tankless heater that is designed for in floor heat because we do not have anything else that is gas and didn't want an LP tank sitting beside my shed. I attach a link, hopefully it works.

If you want to heat the shed all winter I think the in floor is the most economical. followed by the radiant heat. The nice thing about radiant heat is that you can shut it off and it does not take long to warm up your building again. Not so with in floor.

If you do go with in floor I would urge you to do the whole building. You can do two seperate zones so that you don't heat the whole bilding but you will still have the capability if you want it latter. It's dang hard to get that tubing into hard concrete!!






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 05-24-2005, 20:20 Post: 111492
daveinnh



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 heating the shop-radiant floor vs infrared above

Although we don't have a barn yet, our timber-framer provided a 1st floor radiant slab and a basement slab (for my workshop). The basement slab is insulated w/ 2" blue-board beneath; the radiant tubing and components are supplied by "Wirsbo".

You should speak to a local plumber how has done this work before, has the (radiant) tools, and is comfortable in working w/ radiant. I keep the cellar at about 61 deg. - it's cool initially, but once you start working, it becomes almost hot.






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 05-25-2005, 22:53 Post: 111539
AnnBrush



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 heating the shop-radiant floor vs infrared above

On demand water heaters are common in Africa. Over the whole year they are more efficient than regular tank heaters (they dont keep a reseviour of water hot). However they are very ineffiecient when actually heating water. To verify this you only need to look at the venting requirements for these units. It's kind of like the BTUS to heat a gallon of water is WAY higher for a on-demand heater vs a regular heater but then you have no BTUS needed to keep it hot so the turtle passes the hare and wins the race. In this case a tankless heater would be a disaster for heating water to provide building heat since I assume there would be a almost constant demand and therefore a constant operation of the tankless heater and subsequent efficiency loss.






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 05-25-2005, 23:58 Post: 111542
dklopfenstein



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 heating the shop-radiant floor vs infrared above

I have floor heat in my 38x44 shop and heat an apartment above it (about 1,000 square feet)with an 85% efficient boiler. In the shop below, I have four overhead doors and other windows/doors. I heat the shop to about 63 and the apartment to 72 all winter long and only have to fill-up my 500 gallon propane tank 1x per year. We like the heat and love the efficiency. You will never regret this system even though it is more $ initially. Indiana winters can be rough at times so it is a good "test area" for others.






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 05-26-2005, 07:26 Post: 111551
havoctec



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 heating the shop-radiant floor vs infrared above

The on demand gas heaters may be less efficient but the electric units are as close to 100% efficient as you can get. There is no heat loss through a vent with electric and any heat that is lost goes into the building.






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