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Old 01-26-11, 05:19 PM   #51
Drake
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As I understand the plate HX's being used they are exchanging heat from water to Refrig to water on roughly a 1:1 volume inside plate HX. Water on both side needs pump to circulate the water. Seeing an advantage for a volume of water "stored" on both sides to buffer temp and cycling of HP I see a HX that could xfer the directly to stored water as a way to elimatet wo pumps. Stored water >(HX?)HP(HX?)> stored water rather than stored water>pump>plateHX>HP>plateHX>stored water. Less parts to loop. Don't know if you have come across diagram of an "open system" for hydronic radiant heating but I think xfering heat into the central tank of this system would be ideal. Might not be a good HX to do that(not moving water).

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Old 01-28-11, 02:44 AM   #52
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As I understand the plate HX's being used they are exchanging heat from water to Refrig to water on roughly a 1:1 volume inside plate HX. Water on both side needs pump to circulate the water. Seeing an advantage for a volume of water "stored" on both sides to buffer temp and cycling of HP I see a HX that could xfer the directly to stored water as a way to elimatet wo pumps. Stored water >(HX?)HP(HX?)> stored water rather than stored water>pump>plateHX>HP>plateHX>stored water. Less parts to loop. Don't know if you have come across diagram of an "open system" for hydronic radiant heating but I think xfering heat into the central tank of this system would be ideal. Might not be a good HX to do that(not moving water).
Could you say that in a different way?

I'm just not getting it.

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Old 01-28-11, 09:38 AM   #53
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I will certainly try(I think we are after nearly the exact same solution the simplest HP water to water heat xfer to hydronic heating). As I am seeing your impressive "proof" HP your ground loop is pumped into a barrel(I am calling that stored water) it is than pumped thru plate HX so HP can xfer to "heat" side plate HX where water is pumped thru it to holding barrel(which I think is simulating your yet uncompleted floor loop?). The pumping on either side could directly drive the water loops directly(w/ no barrels) but I like the idea of water storage tanks on each side to buffer, limit cycling(like a pressure tank does) and on ground loop side to store possibly prewater water from other sources(solar, greywater?) to increase COP. I see this needing four pumps w/ plate HX's. I wondering if direct tank to tank xfer is possible with HP and right HX's eliminating two pump loops. In an open hydronic system the loop is heated in a storage tank(any means) so feeding this tank w/ HP heat would be ideal(and serve as backup). Direct HP HX to this tank seems best. This may not be mechanically simple and and second pump loop best. Trying to follow the KISS rule.

As I have neither a ground loop or heat loop(nor will for a couple of years) I have no means to evaluate a HP beyond what you have already accomplished and an HP is not a deciding factor in going with hydronic radiant heating. Only the most efficient Tech,to date, that I know of if it can be made affordable.

I believe as I gain knowledge on refridgeration I understand the mech hdwr well but I am fully lost on the controller board you are showing. Are they for controlling power to HP and /or pumps/sensors switches or for testing data collection?(not strong on electronics).

Hope my thoughts may be helpful. They certainly aren't criticisms.
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Old 01-29-11, 05:20 PM   #54
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AC, would like to follow your results of hydro floor install if you go the cement board route . Think that is best option for shallow bed install because board is structurally more stable(internally reinforced) than cement bed under 1.5" thick. Would like to install radiant under traffic and bath area of my second floor and stay w/.5" pex(less trouble than .375 pex).
I went to a trade presentation yesterday and they presented a product calle EcoWarm, which is strand-board topped with thin aluminum sheet.


This is the patent drawing.

For ease of manufacturing, they route the strand board (could be MDF just as well) and contact glue the soft aluminum sheet onto it, then they slit the sheet over the channel for the PEX to go into.

Can you spell DIY?

The aluminum sheet was really thin, only slightly more than foil.

If the aluminum sheet was thicker like maybe 1/16" I think it might live up to it's hype.

Can you spell DIY yet?

Also, I have been struggling with the floor mass issue. Some mass can be good, but too much can be a problem, especially if there's a temp change.

So, my latest thinking is along this line:


(the above concept is copyleft into the public domain for all time and all purposes, including manufacture and sale. Any and all proprietary claims are strictly forbidden -AC_Hacker)

Legend:
  1. Aliminum sheet aprox 1/16 thick
  2. 1/4" concrete board, Wonderboard has tested best
  3. PEX
  4. 1/4" OSB
  5. 1/2" High-Density Extruded Poly Styrene
  6. thermal-transmissive goo consisting of flyash and linseed oil

This stuff could be built in place easily or made beforehand. The layers would be glued together with construction adhesive.
  • 1/16" Aluminum would be a killer-good conductor of heat
  • The concrete board would be a fair conductor
  • The OSB would supply the support
  • the XPS would privide a thermal break between the Hacker-Backer and the floor.

The wonderboard provides some thermal mass, but not as much as an all concrete board floor.

What do you think?

-AC_Hacker
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Old 01-29-11, 05:26 PM   #55
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I will certainly try(I think we are after nearly the exact same solution...
Let's do this over at the Homemade Heat Pump Manifesto thread.

See you there...

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Old 01-29-11, 11:21 PM   #56
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Looks like it would work fine. Is the thermal break to prevent unwanted loss to a space not needing to be heated(like a basement)? I wish to use a "thin floor" install on my second floor floor where loss to below really wouldn't be a loss. The Alum xfer surface has merit but I would possible consider sandwiching in wonderboard layers. If your top surface is to be ceramic, having laid tens of thousands of sq" of tile in every way imaginable I would be concerned about the quality of bond you could achieve directly to Alum or Alum to wonderboard. It maybe possible but it would take a very high quality adhesive(very heavily latex fortified of epoxy thin set) to hold for longevity. Is .5" pex intended size?
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Old 01-30-11, 03:03 PM   #57
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Looks like it would work fine. Is the thermal break to prevent unwanted loss to a space not needing to be heated(like a basement)? I wish to use a "thin floor" install on my second floor floor where loss to below really wouldn't be a loss.
Yes, preventing heat loss to the basement, that's exactly what I'm anticipating.

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The Alum xfer surface has merit but I would possible consider sandwiching in wonderboard layers. If your top surface is to be ceramic, having laid tens of thousands of sq" of tile in every way imaginable I would be concerned about the quality of bond you could achieve directly to Alum or Alum to wonderboard. It maybe possible but it would take a very high quality adhesive(very heavily latex fortified of epoxy thin set) to hold for longevity.
I did some experiments with aluminum and mortar and the results were not at all good. So keep thinset away from aluminum!

Yes, I know that tile, especially a porcelin tile, would be great for heat transfer. If a Hacker-Backer configuration was going to be used, a backer-board would need to be applied over the aluminum, as you say.

I saw some organic linoleum at a trade fair recently one brand name is Marmoleum and I really liked the stuff. Linoleum wouldn't impede heat transfer much at all, and I am thinking seriously in that direction. Outgassing is no problem with this stuff. (made from linseed oils, pigments, pine rosin and pine flour, natural jute backing). It's not the cheapest stuff, however.

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Is .5" pex intended size?
Yeah, that's where my thinking is now. I'm really struggling with the idea of tube-spacing. I want the spacing to be close, hopefully as close as 6 inches (maybe even closer), and the bending radius looks to be a limiting factor.

I saw a very flexible PVC tubing at a hardware store, that had a certain appeal, but the outgassing of carcinogens is a total deal-breaker.

I know that copper tubing has been abandoned by the radiant heating industry for reasons of cost and also because it is subject to corrosion by high-alkali (cementitious) materials. Perhaps there is a non-alkali material that can be used that is not too expensive and is a reasonable conductor, or perhaps corrosion is not a problem with in a 'dry system'.

I'm not ready to start laying tubing yet.

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Old 02-01-11, 06:45 PM   #58
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I was poking around on the internet today looking for various radiant flooring techniques and found an interesting site with some fairly descent pics of this guys' "sandwich" type radiant floor that he claims to have done in the hundreds as a contractor for residential customers over the past 29 years.

I especially liked a couple of his tips regarding how he effectively runs hallways, loop returns, consideration of floor squeaks, and consideration of finished surface materials. He also talks about his 29 years experience with respect to "standards" in spacing the pex.

I have been silently reading and scheming on a DIY radiant section in my basement as a starting point for my inspirations gathered here. Have also contacted an old friend who has been installing geothermal systems here in St. Louis for the past few years. He claims he will help with a design and installation of geo lake loop on my property later this spring. I will be sure to document and photo. AC, I have been crawling around the attic and inspecting in the basement plugging and filling voids and gaps... you were right, I haven't added ANY insulation whatsoever, but just blocking off the airways has made our home more comfortable already. I am really looking forward to adding more insulation. Next I will remove the casing around all the doors and windows and pack them with insulation, it certainly is making a difference. Thanks for all the input on these threads, it has truly been an inspiration.
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Old 02-01-11, 06:46 PM   #59
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sorry guys... I did not give the link I was talking about.

Radiant Heat
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Old 02-02-11, 03:41 PM   #60
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AC Hacker,

I have been pondering your 'Hacker Board' and I wonder if the polystyrene foam board is a good idea. Not questioning its ability to insulate and help direct heat in the direction you want it, but how will it hold up and for how long? On top of that polyboard will be some fairly rough and abrasive surfaces. I understand that the impact from footsteps will be dispersed throughout the finished flooring surface as well as the conglomeration of hardiboard and osb. However, with traffic, heat expansion, contraction, humidity, that floor will bounce and move. There is absolutely no question in my mind about that. The bouncing and shifting of the above flooring from these, even though slight, will probably wear away at the foam board over the course of a few years and turn it into "pink dust". Maybe it would take 10 years, but regardless, you probably will be expecting your radiant floor to hold up longer than that. It just seems to be the weak link is all. Whats more, the weak link is on the bottom of all your other work.

Would it perhaps be easier to cut that insulation board and glue it to the subfloor planks underneath between the floor joists?

I only bring up this design consideration because a failure in this material would cause you to have to remove ALL of your work as it is on the bottom.

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