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Old 07-22-16, 09:05 PM   #11
buffalobillpatrick
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I love radiant warm water floors!

I have installed 3 systems & have learned quite a bit over time. Read this as: my first system only keeps house warm at -15*F because I put in so much insulation.

ECM pumps like the Grundfos Alpha really reduce electric usage, as I prefer constant slow circulation in heating season, this is a big deal.

Be sure to have a strong magnet in system, like the Caleffi Dirt Mag, as the generated magnetite will gum up ECM pumps.

This new system won't use a mod-con boiler, I'm sick of them!

Note: when a mod-con on LP happens to be working at high altitude, they don't condense very much anyway, so anything over 90% is wishful thinking.

And yes I bought an expensive combustion analyzer to set up these pigs.

I will use a Burnham RV3, direct wall vented, cast iron boiler, only 86% efficient, but they last 3x or more longer & have much less maintenance $$ vs. mod-cons

The boilers only master is the aquastat (30*F delta-T) on the Vi$$man dual coil 79gal. DHW / buffer tank.

Long efficient burn cycles help the boiler get to 86% along with post purge that gets most of the residual heat out of the high mass cast iron. As the boiler will be inside the house insulation most of the residual heat is not waisted, in Winter.

I have a new Erie Boiler Boss 3000 that controls the injection speed of a standard PSC pump using Outdoor Reset (the colder it is outside, the warmer the water that is injected into system)
This is set up with rotary parameter control knobs.
This was an EBay steal at $130

The system heat is pulled out of the top HX coil in the Vi$$man tank, boiler and/or solar heats the tank via the lower HX coil.


Last edited by buffalobillpatrick; 07-23-16 at 11:06 AM..
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Old 07-22-16, 11:52 PM   #12
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In that climate I would really consider the passive house approach. Without a need for AC you can get really really close to actually being truly passive.

I have to say I agree with you on the modulating condensing water heaters and boilers. My experience with them has not been highly positive. I think I would look to put the energy savings in the building rather than the equipment.

*edit... uggh... I didn't see where COs new law was only 110 gallons. While a step in the right direction that is highly disappointing.

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Old 07-23-16, 10:53 AM   #13
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A rant on why professionals love mod-cons, and it's NOT that they are more efficient & save consumers money: (that is a sales gimmick)

Mod-cons are much lighter & easier to install = more profit

Mod-cons cost 3x more = more profit

Mod-cons require much more maintenance = more profit

Mod-cons need replaced much more often = more profit
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Old 07-23-16, 11:32 AM   #14
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I like much about the Passive house idea.
They make sense in Euro-land, IMHO not so much in USA

Europe has much higher energy cost than USA (for now)

In Europe it is quite common for many generations to have lived in and make payments on the same house.
You don't see this in USA, this next house will be house #6 for me.

Most people here move around more.

It's usually more about the up-front cost (payments) & bling and later, the resale price.

I wouldn't live in my fathers house & my son will never live in my house.


Don't get me wrong, I try hard to be energy efficient, but with an eye on cost.
I over insulate & use good Windows.

In my current house that is selling Friday, basement is ICF's, all the other walls are thick SIP's (7.25" EPS) all brick on outside (no maintenance).

All Windows Have a base of: triple pane, low-e, argon filled.
Six of the large (72" X 48") have a 4th layer of 1/4" storm windows, one decorative window has 6 layers of glass.

BTW, I'm looking for good windows at a good price? Ideas?

I like the Marvin Infinity, but the only local seller stated that they wouldn't install their replacement type windows into a new construction house.

Last edited by buffalobillpatrick; 07-23-16 at 12:34 PM..
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Old 07-24-16, 07:07 AM   #15
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A passive house is a decision on where to spend your money. I try to look at things Via a cost for performance perspective, rather than just up-front cost. I'll even pay a bit of a premium when you compare life-cycle cost for better performance vs. lifetime energy costs. My reasoning is that Energy Costs are highly volatile and it is a lot more annoying to try to budget for rising energy prices than it is for a mortgage.

As for Windows I like what I see from Alpen, Though Marvin Integrity and Infinity are good choices too as are Numerous other Fiberglass options. My preference is to get something that has local support. Alpen is fairly local to you (Yes I know how big CO is) so that would be a big plus in my book.

You may be able to get a more affordable option by going with a uPVC frame such as Intus Windows as well.

You might also look at Indow interior storm windows as well those will give you about a 0.9 R-value increase. And if you want to get really crazy insulated exterior shutters (other than air sealing this is likely the best bang for the buck).
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Old 07-24-16, 11:07 AM   #16
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Sorry to say, my lifetime energy costs will be pretty low, I will probably be 77 yrs old when house is done.

I got top dollar for current house partly because the buyers appreciate that my energy bills are less than 1/2 what code built houses typically would be.

Mostly it was the solid construction details, low maintenance, & fantastic views.

I have been in the Alpen store in Boulder, I'm not a fan of the plastic film inside their windows.
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Old 10-12-16, 09:11 PM   #17
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Now have a good Draftsman & Structural Engineer on board.

Changed from vented roof to unvented, worried about possible fire in nearby trees.
Will have underside of roof sheathing SPF closed cell high density. Going for R50.

Got window bid on Anderson 100 series Fiberex Argon U=.25 & .26 a bit over 7K

Got attic truss bid about 7.5K

Main level walls will all be 8" concrete with 6" of polyiso on inside.

Going with 6" of type 2 EPS under slab.
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Old 10-13-16, 09:38 AM   #18
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Thats a good bit of insulation! Very nice.
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Old 10-13-16, 10:36 AM   #19
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Upon checking prices for closed cell high density SPF, I decided to do what we did in my sons new house.
Flash & batt
Put only 4" of the closed cell high density SPF against under side of roof sheathing, this meets the requirement for a vapor barrier & then Johns Manville R-30 Rock wool batts.

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