100 year old house, cold climate, retrofit to in-floor heat?

needinfo1April 16, 2014

When we were out of town, we had a freeze up that split the hot water radiators and cracked the boiler. So, we need to replace our entire heat system. We are getting a high efficiency boiler and replacing the old cast iron radiators with steel panel radiators, but we are also thinking about doing a retrofit of in-floor heating on part of the first floor.

We live in a very cold climate and are wondering if anyone has any feedback on having done this, and if they are happy with the result.

We put a kitchen addition on twenty years ago that has windows on three sides and faces north. Part of the room has a full basement underneath, and part is above an unheated crawlspace. The old slant fin baseboard heaters never kept the room warm enough in super cold weather, so we are looking at the idea of in-floor heat to be nailed up under the joists. But, given the room's orientation and plethora of windows, we are wondering whether just in-floor will give us enough heat in that area of the house. Kitchen floors are tongue and groove, narrow maple.

Anyone have any thoughts or any experience? Thanks.

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I installed radiant floor on an addition 7 years ago and love it. We are adding again, and the steam system is being ripped out and it is radiant everywhere. That being said, some rooms require supplemental heat (ie panel radiators). You need to have a heat loss calc done, I hired a radiant designer. My guess is if the baseboard did not keep up, you will have a problem going radiant, unless you can go ceiling radiant. I am doing ceiling radiant on most of the first floor. It can output 50-100% more than floor radiant. Ceiling is less expensive in retro jobs as well.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 5:38PM
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bakerboy--Thanks for the insights. I think we too have decided that where we live just in-floor alone might not do the job.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 6:21PM
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Whatever direction you go, insulate a lot! High efficiency boilers work best when temps are low.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 6:26PM
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