Thread: Ben's Garage
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Old 11-11-16, 08:19 AM   #11
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 545
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Hey Guys.

I'm driving a Mitsubishi iMiEV electric car. It's not fancy, but it's a VERY functional car, and in the 2012 model year, it was THE MOST EFFICIENT CAR in the United States, period. It was also affordable enough that I could simply write a check and be done with it.

I'm designing the radiant floor system right now. I was able to get a trial copy of the LoopCAD software. Unfortunately, I couldn't get it to work on my computer, so I had to install it somewhere else. Would be handier to have it at home, but oh well.

I did a few loop layouts, and it looks like 12" spacing on four circuits of half-inch Pex tubing would work fine, but there would be a fairly steep temperature gradient from the send to return lines. I also spoke with Daox, who said that in part of his house, he has some 12" spaced radiant heat, and that you can really feel the difference between the warmer and colder spots.
I don't know how different it will be with the heat coming up through four inches of concrete, but a little closer spacing seems like a good idea.

I also ran diagrams for 9 inch and 10 inch spacing. 9 inch starts to look a little complicated, and starts using longer runs of tubing. I think I'm going with the 10 inch spacing. The loops are still relatively short (only one going over 250 feet) and the labor to lay out the tubing should be a little easier.

Here's an image of the 12" layout. I forgot to save an image file version of the 10" layout when I was on that other computer.

All three of the layouts I ran COULD get my garage up to 70 degrees IF I wanted it to. I'm shooting for just being able to comfortably work in the garage in the winter, and 50 degrees is LUXURIOUS compared to not being heated, but I'd like the system designed so that I COULD heat it higher (for example, if I ever have to live out there, work on an extended project, etc.)

The masonry for the garage is done. Now I have to layout the Pex this weekend, and the mason will come back on Monday to pour the slab. We have 2 inches of foam under where the slab will go and around the foundation wall.

For solar power overall, the plan is to go with PV only. That will make a nice looking array on the roof. With PV, I can make electricity which can then charge a car, power my house, or make heat. I'd love some solar thermal as well, but I'm just very limited on space.

I do have a 4x10' hot water panel on the south-east corner of my house, which I do not have plumbed up yet. That should be good for domestic hot water in the summer, but probably not much help in the winter, and certainly not enough for any garage heat. (I've spoken to a guy locally with a very nice modern solar domestic hot water system. Says it's fantastic all summer, and does minimal good in the winter. That's just all based on cloud-cover and sun angle in my area in Wisconsin in the winter.)

I do have a wood-stove in my living room and would love to plan for future expansion. In theory, I could run some "outdoor wood boiler"-style hoses from my house to the garage, and at some point in the future, connect a heat exchanger to my wood-stove to be able to send some heat from the house to the garage. Likely, I would need to upgrade my stove to do that properly.

Here's some photos of the masonry in place with the insulation on top of it.


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