Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Radiant Heat

One of the cooler things about this house is the radiant heat in the main level floors (pun intended).  I had, of course, experienced radiant floor heat before but had little idea how it worked.  Turns out that it's hundreds of feet of plastic piping in funny patterns running all through the floors that carries the hot water.  This house will have six different "loops" for different areas of the house.  There are various theories on how to install the piping for maximum efficiency and comfort, but the way that we chose is to install the piping so it runs to the outside of the house first, where most heat is lost through windows and doors, and to group the piping closer together in areas that will be more frequently used like the kitchen and entryway. 

To install the piping, we used a fancy stapler that shoots big plastic staples that fit the diameter of the plastic pipes.  The staples are inserted into the foam insulation boards underneath.  We had to be careful to document with pictures and tape measures where all the pipes go, so we don't accidentally drill into one down the road when installing an interior wall.  There's also the danger of puncturing a pipe while pouring the concrete slab.  One sorta cool way to tell right away if this happens during the pour is to fill the pipes with mint essence so that if there's a leak it'll smell like mint and you'll know to act quick to stop the leak.

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