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Radiant Floor Heating/Small radiant floor heat source chicken coop


I am building a very well insulated building to house chickens. The size is 12' x 20', with 8' ceilings.(240 sq.ft.) The floor is 6" concrete with 100' of 1/2" PEX. The slab is on 4" foam and the perimeter is also insulated. Outside temperatures can dip to -10F occasionally, in the winter.

I would like to use an electric heater/boiler that would be appropriate, but balk at paying $700+. This seems like "overkill." It is very tempting to use an electric tank-less water heater, such as a Rheem, that is less than $200.

I plan on using solar propylene glycol for the fluid. (Prevent freeze-up, in the event of a power failure in the winter.)

Any comments or suggestion will be greatly appreciated. I will have the building completed and ready for "occupancy," next week.


Sorry, I had to get that out. It just so happens that I built a well insulated chicken coop this summer. First, you have to look at occupancy since each chicken will produce about 8 btuh/pound so 5 btuh x 5# chicken = 40 btuh per chicken.

I admit that I did not perform a heat load for the coop but estimate it at around 500 Btuh. So 13x40=520. No additional heat needed in my case. I would guess your load will be less than 3000 btuh (if you leave out the picture window) and your need for heat, minimal.

In my own experience we have had night time temperatures in the teens and the coop (36 sq.ft. with no floor insulation, R-10 walls and roof and 13 chickens, the temp has not dropped below 50F.

Your heat loads in all but the coldest weather will likely be covered by the chickens. In fact we found air quality was suffering and added ventilation. The light we added to extend egg producing "day light" has been more than enough with a bit of ice in the water can some mornings.

Small electric boilers or dual purpose electric tankless water heaters driving radiant floors, can do a very nice job serving one room loads such as yours. I will be the first to direct you to a small tankless electric water heater for this application, as long as the manufacturer has it listed for same. Gotta love them chickens!

Merry Christmas

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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 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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