High-tech Heat

February, 2010 

Bird posters in workshop

When the old radiators were removed last fall, we found they were full of scale and rusting in many places. That opened the way for many choices for a heating system. The oil furnace is “newer” and could be used again with new radiators. But there’s always an oil smell that’s not pleasant. And what about efficiency? If a big change was to be made, this was the time.

Out here, natural gas is not an option. Wood boilers are intriguing and have a back-to-basics appeal, but do I really have time to keep up with a wood system? Is it good for the environment? Geothermal is not yet practical, or affordable, here. I could install forced air ducts since we’ve gutted the place, but forced air has its dry and drafty downsides too.

After a lot of research,(and a weekend enjoying the radiant-heated bathroom floor at my brother’s house) I’ve opted to go for under-floor, hot water radiant heat.  The system will have a new 98% efficient boiler, a pre-made manifold panel, and the tubing and insulation to heat the whole house. The new boiler will also provide domestic hot water and the system is zoned to provide the right level of heat to different parts of the house. If need be, I could install an evaporative cooler AC unit. We’ll see how the house feels this summer with the new insulation.


Bird posters in workshop

The HVAC supplier recommended John Carr to do the boiler installation and he’s been a dream to work with. I’d recommend him to anyone who needs HVAC work, he’s honest, fair, and knowledgeable. He also helped the crew through the early stages of installing the radiant tubing, generously giving them pointers and an encouraging thumbs up when they got it right.

By the time the whole thing is completed, it will be spring so we’ll have to wait until next season to give the system a try. Here’s hoping it will be it’s as delightful as expected.