Radiant Floor Heating/Liquid VS Electric wire


QUESTION: Hi, I have recently lifted my house & put a full foundation, this new space will be living/sleeping area. I have decided to put radiant heat but do not know whether to go electric or liquid be it water or glycol.This will be the primary heat of the basement & there is a huge rock which could not be removed so I intend to incorporate it into "heated surface" as well.
No cement has been poured for the floor yet so it can easily be incorporated into poured cement, a)can you do this with electric wires ? B)which type of system would you prefer ? My foot print is roughly 57' X 24" and will be divided into 4 or 5 zones with the largest room being 21' X 24'(garage).
Thanks for your consideration.
I have many questions but this would be a place to start.

ANSWER: Bonjour. Hot water or electric heat, that is the question.

I always prefer a hydronic "liquid" distribution system in which warm water is circulated through PEX pipe embedded in the basement slab over an electric cable heating system leaving you no choices should you change your mind.

Since the ground temperature will be cool, you will want to keep that big rock warm. Insulate below the slab and use a room thermostat to keep the basement comfortable year-round.

The heat source for a hydronic radiant floor heating system may still be an electric boiler but you can switch to oil, gas or wood fuel should the need arise. If we perform a proper heat load and find it is less than 30mbuth/10kW we might specify and domestic water heater sized for dual or combi space and water heating.

If you send a set of plans we can quote a design price.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Cottage Reno
Cottage Reno  
QUESTION: My apologies for the late response & Thank you for the original opinion.
What information do you need in order to determine if a domestic water heater would suffice as it was the direction I was leaning towards as the boiler seems to be a main expense in the system. I do not have any "official" plans drawn up other than floor dimensions & room sizes & I could identify the amount of seperate zones I intend to have.
I do have a lot of photographs taken during the project that could help as well but if you could define what you need, I may be better prepared.

Kind regards & Happy Holidays

You may send your pictures with a simple drawing with dimensions and specifications for windows and insulation.

I can tell from the information what it will cost to design and specify the combination a hydronic space and heating system.

Also include your local fuel cost and availability.  

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Morgan M. Audetat


Radiant panel heating design, including floors and ceilings, European wall panels and snow melting for residential and light commercial buildings..............................................................-Master of Steam and Hot Water,City of Minneapolis....................................................--- Master Plumber, State of Minnesota...........


30 years..... Charter Board Member - Radiant Panel Association, former manufacturer of condensing boilers, former national distributor of radiant floor products, son and apprentice of mechanical & plumbing contractor. Current owner---www.BadgerRadiantDesigns.com---Minneapolis mechanical/plumbing contractor specializing in hydronic based, integrated HVAC systems. Radiant floor heating/cooling. Snow Melting. Condensing Boilers. Indirect water heaters. System design, consulting and technical training world-wide. Licensed contractor, designer, installer and consultant.

B.S. University WI 1981 CONTINUING EDUCATION: Viessmann Condensing boiler and Solar water heating certification 2010, N.D.S.U. Lead Worker RRP certification 2010, Knight condensing boiler certification 2009, Wrightsoft Manual J CAD certification 2009, RPA Designer & Installer Certification 2008, Nate Hydronic/Forced Air Certification 2008, Uponor/Wirsbo advanced design school certification 2007, Buderus Wall-hung certification 2007, Power Limited License (low voltage controls) 40 CE credits 2005, Basic Hydronic Certification IPEX & Northern Alberta Institute of Technology 1998, Charter Board Member - Radiant Panel Association 1994, Residential Off-Electric to Hydronic Conversion Heating School Canadian Hydronics Council 1994, B&G Little Red School House 1993, Rood Utilities (now Auburn Technical Institute) Oil Burner School 1993 ,Tekmar Controls residential and commercial 1993, Division Manager and Advanced Hydronic Seminar Instructor for the first Exclusively Hydronic Radiant Floor Distributor in the USA 1990, Hydronic Radiant Heating Association Workshop participant with Richard c. Bourne, PE spring 1988, Master Plumbing, Hydronic, Solar Course Red Rocks Community College 1987.

Awards and Honors
2009 System Showcase Award - Radiant Panel Association

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