1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

New Build! Excited!

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by fowlerrudi, Aug 31, 2010.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. fowlerrudi

    fowlerrudi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Hey folks, its been a while since I posted here....

    I am working hard at our new home and thought I would post on this forum and perhaps get some advice / constructive critism that might spawn ideas, etc.

    I'm building in New Brunswick, Canada. About 30 x 60, plus a prow, a basement and a story and a half. The basement is all done now. We are using Logix ICF, 10" walls. In the basement floor I buried over 3 kilometers of PEX. We used 1/2" oxypex with 9" spacing, 6" near the walls. Underneath we put down insulworks 2" insulation there - it was great snapping the tubing into that.

    Now we are just finishing putting the first floor joist on. On top of this I am putting on warmboard radiant panels which double as the subfloor. I managed to find a deal on these panels on a repoed job in Alaska and had them shipped to me. Was able to save about $4000 after shipping!

    I have a Froling 3000 Turbo preordered from Revision Heat in NH, I'm pretty excited about that! We'll will be using storage so I'm thinking it will be most beneficial using the warmboard, which doesn't require high temps to be effective.

    I'm hoping to get away with minimal amount of circ pumps in our system and use zone valves.

    Anyway I decided to add some pictures to here if anyone is interested. Any pointers would be great. This is my first and last house and I am by no means an expert at anything! I'm 24 years old and learning everyday. So far the only person we've hired is the floor finisher, everyone else is free help! I am blessed with many great friends and family.

    Attached Files:

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. fowlerrudi

    fowlerrudi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Couple more pictures.

    Attached Files:

  3. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Messages:
    2,381
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    Jealous! Looks amazing.....
  4. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,422
    Loc:
    Addison County, Vermont
    Amazing project. How much storage are you looking at?
  5. fowlerrudi

    fowlerrudi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Initially I was thinking 2000 gallons, but I think what I need to do it try and make it so each firing charges the tank. This is per Patrick Coon's recommendation from Revision heat. I was also planning on going with pressurized storage but Pat says we can do non-pressurized storage and use the same number of circ pumps. Electricity use is very important to me.
  6. DaveBP

    DaveBP Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,071
    Loc:
    SW Maine
    Nice combination of 17th and 21st century technology.

    I'm curious to know if you did a heat loss estimate to design the radiant and what numbers you used for the log walls. A few decades ago I was started toward doing log construction on my place but ran into a Mobile Dimension sawmill for a price I couldn't pass up and suddenly everything on my lot looked like a sawlog instead of a pole.

    Keep us informed about some of the details that weren't available back then. Never hear enough about efficiency tricks.

    What are you caulking the logs with?
  7. fowlerrudi

    fowlerrudi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    The logs have sheeps wool and are sealed with a gasket, but none of that is ever seen. It is scribe-fitted and supposed to be airtight without chinking. Everyone that I spoke with that had their logs done by Heartwood Log Homes - http://www.heartwood-log-homes.com/ spoke very highly of them and their airtight guarantee. All of them would do it again.

    I'll admit that I never did a heat loss calculation on the house. I was going to, but decided that I was going to be using warmboard everywhere, upstairs and down as well as a heated slab in the basement. We are also going to use out woodstove (Pacific Energy - Summit) in the living room as an additional heat source. So I guess I assumed I was going to be overkill for heat anyway so I wouldn't have a heatloss calc done. Although I suppose a calc would definatly help me in deciding what I would need for storage....

    We have some really nice calculators put out by the Canadian Government that help in determining heat loss that I should use. I am using R12 as the min. for the log walls, which have an average diameter of more than 12". However the calculators don't take into account the thermal mass benefits of logs (another argument in itself).

    I wanted to do the logs myself but soon realized, after reading several books, how much I didn't know and how it was a job best suited for the pros and experienced.
  8. dogwood

    dogwood Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2009
    Messages:
    634
    Loc:
    Western VA
    Very impressive. You'll be glad you put in all the radiant heating. I still regret not putting pex in my floor slab when I built twenty years ago. Looks like you're doing a well thought out and great job. Your assistant sitting on the blanket looks like he might be slacking off though. What kind of outdoor temperatures do you have to deal with up there in New Brunswick? Good luck with your build. Keep us posted.

    Mike
  9. fowlerrudi

    fowlerrudi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    That is our first son, he was foreman that day! The coldest day I've ever seen in NB was two winters ago, had a low of -40C - which is -40F as well! I spent a year in Nunavut and had not seen it that cold over their winter, although the temps up there stayed cold all the time. Typically we will see -33 C which is -27.4F in a winter.
  10. Chris Hoskin

    Chris Hoskin TarmSalesGuy

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    457
    Loc:
    Lyme, NH
    Pat really knows his stuff and we count ourselves lucky to have ReVision Heat as a dealer. I would tend to agree that going with a smaller tank makes a lot of sense - especially with such a well insulated home and a low temperature distribution. I would add that, while I am sure that unpressurized storage can be done with the same NUMBER of pumps as pressurized, pressurized storage will require less pumping ENERGY. I would encourage you to revisit this issue with Pat and ask him about using a Grundfos Alpha pump and outdoor reset so as to maximize your storage and minimize your pumping electricity consumption.
  11. fowlerrudi

    fowlerrudi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    That's great! Yeah, I was glad that Pat recommended the Alpha pumps as they are quite awesome by the looks of them! What is an outdoor reset?
  12. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Messages:
    530
    Loc:
    Nebraska
    What a great project. I am too jealous of the logs, ICF and Warmboard floors. Don't forget to design some sort of vacation mode into your system especially one that will work even when power is lost. Doesn't look like it will be too difficult with your setup.
  13. wood-engineer

    wood-engineer Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    35
    Loc:
    North West Michigan
    If you're concerned about electricity use, make sure you look at the wattage of the zone valves you select. Mine are about 10 watts, which doesn't seem like much. But, when you have 8 zones, and they are all on - you have an 80 watt load plus your circ pump!
  14. fowlerrudi

    fowlerrudi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Yeah good point. I think nofossil was once talking about zone valves that don't require power to open or close, only to move to their location. Maybe it was on his website I read it on. Is this true?
  15. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,782
    Loc:
    Cayuga County NY
    Yes, Taco Electronic Ball Valve (EBV) is mentioned here often. The valves look great on paper but most of us have had our systems in place before the EBV was introduced and don't have any experience with it. They require very little energy to activate and require virtually no power to stay activated. When activation signal goes away they go back to their normal state using energy stored in a capacitor.

    As a zone valve it should be great, and there are both NO and NC versions. However the Cv would typically be too low for more general system applications.

    --ewd
  16. DaveBP

    DaveBP Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,071
    Loc:
    SW Maine
    The Taco Electronic Ball Valves do use a little power to remain open, about 1.5 watts. They seem very interesting. Wish some of the pros around here would make some observations from the field about their reliability so far.

    Here's a link:

    http://www.taco-hvac.com/uploads/FileLibrary/101-090.pdf

    You may need to do the usual copy/paste into your browser to get it to work.

    P.S. Actually the 3/4" unit seems to have the least resistance to flow of the group. And I seem to remember Nofossil noticing that back a while.
  17. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Messages:
    693
    Loc:
    SW WI
    If you're in love with the log cabin idea, then good luck and don't bother reading this post.

    This project scares the bejeebers out of me from an energy use perspective. It's nice that the logs have some attempt at air sealing and insulation, but I suspect it will be sorely lacking. I would want some much better numbers before I committed myself to handling the extra wood to heat for the next few decades. There may be some point when you don't feel like burning wood. R=12 walls won't look as attractive when you're paying for fuel oil or propane to keep warm.

    I have never seen a modern log home up close, but I'm familiar with a handful of alternative building methods like straw bale and rammed earth. The owner builders will usually admit that the insulation value of the system is not as good as they were expecting. These high mass systems work great in regions with DAILY temp swings but you and I have seasonal temp swings.

    In our climate any mass MUST be inside of the envelope to have any contribution to comfort, and heat loss is determined first by air leakage and second by R value. Mass in the wall has no significant effect on heat loss.

    Aside from the mediocre insulation of logs, there is the fact that you're stacking logs in such a way as to maximize the movement of the structure from moisture variation. Stick framing has ways of dealing with movement of wood by limiting movement. Wood stacked on edge will move some inches in the height of a single story wall. Some building codes require gaskets around electric boxes to the vapor barrier, but you are going to be trying to seal four edges of every log that is moving as well.

    With a new house it is so easy to build so much better than the vast majority of existing houses. To me it seems like a waste to do something so hard, but that's me, I'm sure you'll be happy with the house, 2 cords a year or 12.
  18. DaveBP

    DaveBP Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    1,071
    Loc:
    SW Maine
    Yeah, and you ought to ditch all those windows, too. They are only R3 at best and there may come a time when you're sick of looking out at the scenery and having all that sunlight coming in on a winter day and spoiling your television viewing.
  19. fowlerrudi

    fowlerrudi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    There is one in every crowd. Everyone I talked to with a handcrafted log home in Atlantic Canada had the same thing to say. They are warm cozy and efficient and they all have heating bills cheaper than their neighbor. It wouldn't have mattered with me as firewood is easy to get in my case. One customer even tried to tell me that his heating bill is less than his neighbor who has the same sized house in ICF right to the rafters. Don't shoot the messenger - just what I've heard. Here are some links if interested.

    http://www.loghomes.org/todays-log-homes-go-green-81/

    http://www.loghomes.org/uploads/EnergyPerformanceWP_2010.pdf

    http://www.heartwood-log-homes.com/energy.htm

    Anyway, the main reason for energy efficiency is because this home is going to be off grid. We are living off grid now and every watt counts! I believe Pat mentioned those Taco valves to me in an email - I must look back at it.
  20. juddspaintballs

    juddspaintballs Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Messages:
    149
    I like the look, personally. If I were building my own house, however, I would use ICF's the whole way up to the roof and make the roof out of SIP's for maximum energy conservation. I'd probably do a sealed attic in this arrangement too.
  21. Floydian

    Floydian Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Messages:
    438
    Loc:
    Southwestern VA
    Hello fowlerrudi-Quite the project you've got there.

    Have you looked into TRV's? non electric Thermostatic Radiator Valves. Search them here:

    http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-category/76/THE-MAIN-WALL

    Here is a ridiculous radiant installation using non electric thermostats:

    http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-thread/129415/What-a-year-2009-was

    also check out the Oventrop Unibox.

    Good luck,
    Noah
  22. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Messages:
    693
    Loc:
    SW WI
    The links looked like two sales brochures and one that was 90% sales brochure.

    What I gathered from the remaining 10% was that with the new building code log homes are easier to get approved and that research in New Mexico in the late 70's showed a benefit of thermal mass. No surprises there. There was also the typical sales BS comparing log walls to steel framing and quoting the Portland Cement Association on mass in commercial building.

    The 1% of relevant facts seemed to support my point:

    The research data has confirmed that in both very cold (heating dominates utility costs) and very hot (air-conditioning dominates utility costs) locations, the energy-saving effectiveness of heat capacity in a building envelope is reduced.

    In fact they used the figure 3.3% as the improved efficiency for Madison WI, considerably lower than I would have guessed.

    So if 3.3% better performance than a standard construction wall with an R=12 is good enough then you're set.

    If you're expecting all of that mass to have any noticeable effect for the heating season, it has to be inside the envelope. That's all I'm saying. Well, that and it has to be a pain in the neck to caulk all those logs when they shrink and swell, but that didn't seem to be debated.
  23. fowlerrudi

    fowlerrudi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    For Sale:

    One custom log home kit. Must sell, well trade for ICF wall of similar size. Reason for selling - didn't do enough research before buying.
  24. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Messages:
    693
    Loc:
    SW WI
    You're gettin closer, may want to think about SIP's. Most ICF have the concrete (mass) in the middle of two layers of foam where it is useless for mass or insulation.

    Just sayin, you did ask.
  25. fowlerrudi

    fowlerrudi Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Messages:
    39
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Some additional photos - logs arrived yesterday.

    Attached Files:

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page