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Radiant Floor Heating/Renovating with radiant floor and coal-fired boiler

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Question
Montour Falls, NY, about 1600' elevation, planning stage.

We have a salt box shape house that currently has oil fired forced air heat with a Harman coal stove in the LR.  We are planning to put a floor over the cathedral ceiling space, add a dormer and new bedroom space totaling about 300 sq.ft..  We'd like to change to a hot water radiant system with baseboards in basement and second floor and retrofit underfloor on the main level #accessible from basement#.  I've been thinking about a coal fired, outdoor boiler as I can get coal for about $12/million BTU and oil costs me about $29/million BTU.  What are your thoughts regarding the general radiant concept we are considering and what are your thoughts regarding an outdoor coal fired boiler?

Answer
Why not? We don't use fin-tube unless we must, as it requires relatively high water temperatures. The higher the water temperature, the more coal you have to burn. Just to be clear, you need high water temperatures in any solid fuel boiler but you want the lowest temperature possible in the distribution system. This is a subtle point not mentioned by many wood/coal boiler dealers.

Better to use a panel radiator sized to the design temperature of your new radiant floors.
We try to design all of our hydronic heating system with 140F maximum.

We also design a lot of solid fuel systems and would love to help if we can. Coal and wood are dirty fuels and keeping it all outside is often the best option. If you have the back and the will I'm on your side.  

Radiant Floor Heating

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Morgan M. Audetat

Expertise

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...........

Experience

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.

Education/Credentials
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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