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Old 11-04-09, 11:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by AC_Hacker View Post
The styrofoam beads will reduce the thermal conductivity of the concrete...

Last summer, I was testing the thermal conductivity of various aggregates in concrete, and one of my test aggregates was aluminum chips. Made sense, beings as how aluminum is light and a wonderful conductor of heat. What I didn't count on was that the alkaline nature of concrete made the aluminum fizz, and the concrete+aluminum puffed up with a ka-jillion little bubbles and was a worse thermal conductor than plain old concrete.

The rest of your ideas sound really great.
What I meant by overlay is that the water pipes sit on top of the concrete. The foam beads mixed in the concrete are a recycling method for stryrofoam, which doesn't biodegrade, and help act as insulation against thermal transfer, as I understand it.

So the actual floor layout is concrete/hybrid slab, fluid lines laid on top, flooring options laid over that.

I figure 170* is more than enough to heat the floors and the rest of the house, right? (The temp that solar thermal setups can reach, even on not-so-great days.)
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