Ok, got a quote for radiant heating today..

Started by Dustin, December 22, 2005, 06:07:20 PM

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I got a radiant heating system quote today for my new house and I was wondering if the pricing was too high. It's a muchkin boiler setup, preassembled, but I have to install it, with indirect heat for my HWH. What do ya think?

Weather-responsive radiant floor heating and domestic hot
water. System features 80,000 Btu, high efficiency Munchkin
T80 boiler, and 30-gallon indirect tank for near-ondemand
hot water. No additional water heater is required if
system includes indirect tank.
??1700ft2 Main and second floors: or staple-up in floor
joists; 2 thermostatically controlled zone (7 loops)
??750ft2 basement: Pex installed in a concrete overpour,
1 thermostatically controlled zone (3 loops).
Dustin Hollis 12-21-05
Client name:__________________________
HB0103 T80 Munchkin boiler, Nat.gas $2,225
SW0318 SSU30 Superstor indirect tank $790
HB0110 Vision computer board upgrade $300
(Installed, pre-programmed for your specific application)
GM0101 Base feed-return manifold $714
GM0124 Three-zone manifold assembly $951
FF1607 10 port Caleffi manifold $872
FF1661 20 ea. 1/2" Pex adapters $173
FF1670 10 ea. thermo actuators $340
GM0100-B Pressure bypass loop $195
(Required for 3 or more zones)
GM0102 DHW to manifold assembly $470
GM0130 Boiler fill assembly $139
AS2017 Drip leg assembly $22
FX0805 3000ft 1/2" Pex tubing $1,440*
Subtotal of kit system with DHW: $8,631

John Raabe

My rough rule of thumb for custom design clients is that the entry fee for a radiant system is $8K to $10K. This is the additional cost over a ducted hot air system and includes labor, of course. I think your estimate is in general agreement with that.
None of us are as smart as all of us.

bldg in NY(Guest)

When considering a central heat system is forced hot air always the cheapest option??  We have it in our current home which is fairly new.  Our heating bills are reasonable , but it feels like cold air is always blowing around??  Is there a good hot air system that people are happy with?  


Mind you, this quote does not include installation. That's me doing the labor.


Cedar City, right?  Check around locally.  Call Wirsbo and get the name of their distributor.  Just say Wirsbo because they seem to be the most "plugged in" mfg.

Call the distributor and see if who's the RIH specialist in your area. They'll tell you.  They help the plumbers design systems.  They'll give you a good one.  They want the products they sell to be successful.  Get a bid from him.  That way you can tell how much your labor is worth.

Seems high to me.  In NM, I can get the whole thing done for around that price for that much sf.  In other areas of the country, I see 20k-30k thrown around.  

You need to know the going gouge in Western Utah to be able to determine if this is good or not.


Yeah, once the house is sold, I'll be living there and be able to connect more with folks. Right now I'm just taking long distance internet pot-shots.


And, another thing.  You really can't do it "all" yourself.  You need a gas line run and a gas license to hook up the boiler.  Inspectors frown on DIY gas work.  Don't want the neighborhood blown up.

Another thing I noticed.  You only have 3 zones.  Is that really enough for you in a house that size? Imagine they're figuring living areas/mbr/other bdrs.  Is that OK with you?  If not, the manifold price goes up.

And to the other poster.  If you've ever had radiant.. be it infloor or radiators, or even an old-fashioned gravity air furnace....the answer to your question is "no".  If all you've ever known is forced air, then I suppose it's normal and OK.  Some of the higher priced, newer furnaces have features to mitigate the inherent problems....but I'd go to a lot of trouble and have to avoid forced air.


We've been thinking hard about RIH in our FirstDay.  One of things we really don't like the idea of is having to put down a floor over the standard FirstDay floor if we do RIH, we really love the look of that wood.  We had an idea, can you do a single zone of radiant heat in the basement and using the same boiler, do forced hot water radiators on the first and second floor?  We have been looking at the european style radiators and would like that better than the standard floor units they look like this: http://www.hydronicalternatives.com/IntegraPL200501.pdf  We will also have the issue of how to heat the water, electricity is not efficient and natural gas is not available.  Does that just leave propane?  
Then of course there is the monitor heater option but then you have the issue all point source heating options have...getting an even heat throughout the room or house.
I hope David is well versed in this stuff.  Whatever we do, we will put in a woodstove too.


I have seen aluminum pressed plates that fasten the heat tubing to the bottom side of wood floors.---Somewhere. :)


Heeey that is not a bad looking kerosene/oil heater...http://www.toyotomiusa.com/products/laserventedheaters/L-60AT.mv  I think we may explore this option a bit more.  In our floorplan the bathrooms sit over each other to avoid plumbing box in issues that FristDays have.  So if we can put a large heater either in the basement and use vents and fans to disperse the heat between floors and rooms, that may work. And kerosene and oil are very easy to get around here.  I know, I know, flip flop on decisions...but hey now we know which house we are building and which septic we are doing, just details left now.  :)


No reason that you can't combine infloor and radiators.  You may have to noodle a bit.  Know there's some ability at the manifold to vary the temps of the different zones.

In addition to the European rads, someone's making reproductions of the old ones.  One of the boiler mfgs whose site I've hit lately.  Maybe Weil-McClain or SlantFin.  Can't remember.

Wirsbo's design doc goes into great detail on how to run the pex under HW floors.  I've heard the horror stories of cupping and shrinkage.  They imply that proper installation makes the two OK.

Know that you have a lot of wood at your disposal.  There are wood-fired boilers.  Never seen one. Oil-fired boilers.  Propane would be it unless your electric is very cheap.  You could heat it with solar.  I hit a web site once.  Somewhere in your area.  Sold metal roofs/solar collector combo.  Tubing and roof were one.  Bet that's pricey.


I'm in the same boat with you Daddymem. I will have to do propane too, since our lot is nowhere near any gas lines, or water lines, or sewer lines and only nominally near power lines.
I still may do the Munchkin boiler deal (and I did  check, it does do propane or natural gas), and just put tubing in the basement, then staple up with aluminum plates underneath the first floor. Then I might just do an electric mat under the tile in the bathrooms in the 2nd floor. Since heat rises, I think that will be enough (maybe put in a few vents in the floor?).  I would like to have it set up so that one day I could convert to solar, or do solar if I could afford it! I just need to find the right deal. And yes, I'm sure I'll need a plumber for gas lines at least. Don't want to blow up the house, do we?
I also plan on a wood stove in the living room as a backup, and also for recreational value (I like caveman TV).


Re your comment about getting to know locals when your house in Pnx sells.....you should be able to come pretty close over the phone.  Distributor will probably be in SLC or some big town.  A RIH specialist should be able to wag you a pretty good price with just square footage, number of zones, and the fact that you're looking for an integrated HWH.  His price should include everything....roughin, top-out, and all the finish work.

With the climate in Cedar City, I'd be surprised if RIH is not normal there in new construction.  Guess it depends upon the frost depth. Once something becomes normal, the price ususally drops like a rock.  That's why I suggest finding a specialist.  Any plumber can figure it out, but they want you to pay for their learning curve.  That's why we're DIYing it.


Oh, and may I just say, I LOVE THIS FORUM! John, thank you for the opportunity for such knowledgeable do-ers to gather under one "roof" and offer such great info to eachother! I have posted similar type messages on other forums and the best I usually get is not much.
Thank you all for contributing and being here! I have a feeling I will be relying on this forum more and more, for a good long time, as I go through the process of building my home.



I talked to some of the real estate folks and most of them said that most of the houses are using the standard AZ/CA style electric heat pumps.  Maybe it's the proximity to St. George, rather than Salt Lake. St. George is much more like where I live now in Phoenix area, but milder. I don't know, because I bet RIH is much more common further north in the Salt Lake area, even though Cedar City is definitely cold and snowy.
I may just have to investigate more and maybe look for more Salt Lake guys and see what they offer.
I budgeted about $9-10K for HVAC, so I'll see if I can stay in that range or even save some money somehow.


Heat pumps?  Go figure.  Altho some use them, they don't even work in Abq.  Think CC is colder.

St. George, I'd believe.  But, not in your area.  Be strong.  Don't go there.


All you ever wanted to know about radiant heating.  Solid advice from professionals in the field.  
-Check out the old Rad Net posts.


Also check out Northeast Radiant Technologies http://www.nrtradiant.com/

DIY friendly - located in Maine.


I have a heat pump here in AZ where I do maybe 25 hours a year electric heating and run the AC 4-5 months a year. They work ok here.
I know they don't work well in cold climates. I don't know why people would put them in Cedar City.
Thanks for the links. I will check them out.


Then there are geothermal heatpumps...

How thick of a floor will the "staple up under" radiant heat work for though? (nice links chuck)


QuoteOh, and may I just say, I LOVE THIS FORUM! John, thank you for the opportunity for such knowledgeable do-ers to gather under one "roof" and offer such great info to eachother! I have posted similar type messages on other forums and the best I usually get is not much.
Thank you all for contributing and being here! I have I feeling I will be relying on this forum more and more for a good long time as I go through the process of building my home.


I also have checked out a few other forums just for my own info - some have questions posted with no reply for months- even ones with thousands of members -then when they start attacking each other things really fall apart.  What good is that?  Thanks to all of our members for keeping this forum a living growing friendly place.



The staple up is what I'm thinking to use on the first floor of my firstday - If I don't totally cop out & do radiators for the whole house.....  I think it would work O.K. with the T&G flooring.  Water temps may have to be raised (how much is the quesion)

If one did radiant in the basement slab, staple up on the first floor & radiators upstairs - it could work out well & not get slowed down by doing two layers of flooring on each level.  Another question for the staple up idea would be routing of the PEX through the beams, as drilling holes may be a design consideration you take up with David or your Radiant Contractor.

Radiators on the two upper floors would definately be the easiest -barring the hiding of necessary piping.

Oh yeah - Good luck on your trip up north - David is Fabulous.


I was cruising the links pages again on the First Day site and noticed some radiant heating FirstDay pictures I hadn't before on the "Fontaine House" web site. Perhaps he's been updating.
Take a look at this page for a bunch of radiant install pictures:


Looks like he installed a laminate floating floor over the radiant which he routed out channels for:

"We elected to install radiant heating in the cellar slab and on the first floor.  The channels were made by using strips of wood lower than the 2x6 flooring, and the returns were routed out by hand with a plunge router.  I found I had to lay down on the floor to get the control I wanted when routing.  

Each aluminum heat transfer plate was formed individually, making a U in the metal by stepping on a form.  I have around 24 staples in each plate.  If the laminate flooring was to be installed sooner than I was planning, I guess it would not have taken quite so many."

I think I would rather just do staple-up with aluminum transfer plates (you can get ones of varying thinknesses to transfer more heat if needed) on the first floor to eliminate that and see if I can drill a few holes.
Then I'll have a 9' ceiling for the basement , so I'll just cover up the roof of the basement with more tongue and groove.
I think the radiant panel idea in the bedrooms makes the most sense. I can put one in each room and maybe do tubes inside gypcrete and tile over that in the bathrooms, or just to electric mats under the tile.

I was a good boy this year. Santa got me  "Homing Instinct" by John Connell, "30 Energy Efficient Homes You Can Build" by Alex Wade (featuring pictures of a much younger David Howard with his little house), "The Owner Built Homestead"  by Ken Kern, a Dewalt compound miter saw, a shop vac, and a Porter Cable compressor with nailer set.


Ok, found another example. This time at the Hazzard House. This time he put the tubing in the same way, but used another layer of FirstDay flooring over top.


Hmmm. Choices, choices...


Yeah I've seen those radiant installs.  Noticed there is a bit of updating on the page.  Getting excited now.  Gonna polish up our idea tomorrow before we head out Tuesday.  If the Monitor type works, I think that is the way to go for now, you can always add radiant "staple up under" later and with the cost difference between the two, it makes my I/A system cost easier to swallow.  Nice pic of John's house, that is the site you see as you drive down his driveway...IRL it screams home.


Nice presents.

I once made some friends who were living in a very crowded situation a wall hanging of Wade's own very tiny house from that book--even though if they had tried to live in it they would have been worse of than they were.   Complete with pigs and chickens in the yard (she collected pig images) and a really spectacular crocheted sunset.  The book was about new at the time.  I think they loved it.

I think it was my favorite of my houses in the book, anyway.