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Wood Pellet Radiant Heat

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by mbcijim, Aug 4, 2008.

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  1. mbcijim

    mbcijim Member

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    Relatives of mine have a huge house (8,000 sft?) that is very well insulated but uses oil heat distributed via radiant flooring. They use approximately 2,000 gallons of oil a year. They have asked me what they should switch too. They have ductwork for a/c. Sorry I don't know the size of the boiler they have, but figure it to be very large.

    They are leaning to geothermal (at a cost of $40k). Geothermal guy is going to abandon the radiant flooring in place and use the a/c ductwork for heat also. Is he misleading them? Why can't geothermal do radiant flooring?

    What about a pellet boiler? Do they exist at such a large capacity? I assume you could continue to use the radiant flooring right? If they wanted to store pellets in a silo, how big of one does it need to be? They have two oil tanks inside now, can the silo fit in the place of the oil tanks? Can you get the large bags (one ton) of pellets in Eastern Pa?

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  2. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    Thats about the same load that I heat with a pellet boiler. We have slightly too large a load for the residential pellet boilers available and far too small for the industrial ones. You could install two !!! I store corn and pellets in 6 ton farm silos outside but you can build large bins indoors.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    How many people are living in this place? They should switch to a smaller house IMHO. Maybe turn the castle into a condo?
  4. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    They should have a heat loss done on the house, to determine the actual heat load. As a rough guess, based upon oil usage, a Tarm MH4.0 would probably handle their load. Or two Pinnacle PB150's. Pretty much the same price, either way, although the two boilers would be a bit more complex to pipe.

    Geothermal can do radiant. Water-water geothermal is better and more efficient than water-air geothermal. If they want to go geo, they should find a different geothermal guy who understands that, in my opinion.

    Joe
  5. battyice

    battyice New Member

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    Do your relatives live in or around Schuylkill County as well? If so, they should seriously consider an anthracite boiler. They would use approximately 11 tons of anthracite coal to replace the 2,000 gallons of fuel oil. Using $185 as a estimate for a ton of coal delivered in the Schuykill area, they could heat the house for roughly $2000 per year.

    For additional information see the post by "thecoalman" in this thread. http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/19280/P18/
  6. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    How much work do they want to do? With pellets, wood or coal you have to load it and empty it.

    With the geothermal, my guess is the water/air combo is going to be able to help cool the house in the summer at a cheaper price than running an air conditioner. I'm not sure how well radiant cooling is going to work in an 8000 square foot house.

    Matt
  7. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    2K gals to heat 8K sq ft isn`t too bad actually if you think about it. But that doesn`t help with the oil bill either.
    Personally I don`t know anyone who needs a house this big to live in.
    Good luck to them anyway.
  8. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    COAL!!!! Burn it in an EFM boiler and get the advantage of less expensive domestic hot water also for the house
  9. TboneMan

    TboneMan Member

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    Like the luxury car saying, "If you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it."

    If $10,000 in oil is out of their budget, then they should probably downsize. That's they only way they'll save money.

    That said, if it would have been more readily when we build our house 15 years ago, I would likely have gone with geothermal.

    Given the year-around efficiencies (heat in winter, AC in summer), it would be easier to budget for, and costs are far less likely to have the spikes of directly burning dino-based fuels.

    As other have said, pellets/bio-mass fuel or coal would require a lot of work. If they can afford a 8000 sqr/ft house, they are likely too busy to maintain such systems.
  10. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    So..... We have regressed to bashing the size of a mans dwelling, rather that submitting relevant advice.

    Your all welcome to live in your little closets and hovels. There are other reasons to heat a large area.

    [​IMG]
  11. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Since they already have A/C ductwork, they can connect that as a zone off the geothermal, using a coil suitable for chilled-water cooling.

    Joe
  12. BadDad320

    BadDad320 Feeling the Heat

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    Sweet Fancy Moses......... I forgot the topic!!!!!!!
  13. smoke show

    smoke show Guest


    Real or fake? Who cares?!
  14. mralias

    mralias Minister of Fire

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    NO need for a stove if you have that.
  15. oc4man

    oc4man New Member

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    hmmm what's in the glass ?
  16. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    What glass?
  17. DiggerJim

    DiggerJim Feeling the Heat

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    Maybe not, but I think it would help keep you warm :)
  18. mbcijim

    mbcijim Member

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    Sting, how big are your 6 ton silo's? Would it take up the same floor space as two oil tanks? And if they are outside, is the transfer to the boiler automatic? I'm sure they could put the silo's within 25' of the boiler itself, how do they get moved?

    BeGreen/TBoneMan, even if they moved out, the house would still exist and someone would still live in it. Even if it is big it still needs to be heated regardless of wether they live their or the next guy does. I didn't say oil is out of their budget. Two things are driving their change out: If the old heat cost $8,000/year and the new heat cost $2,000/year, they can spend a lot of money in a new system and get it back. (How do you think wealthy people get wealthy?) Second if we don't ALL change, the Arabs will own us. That includes the wealthy. I happen to know two people who are worth eight figures who've bought scooters in the last year. I think it is pretty responsible of them to change. Lord knows they don't have to.

    BattyIce, yes they live in Schuylkill also, one of the homes of anthracite coal. They don't want the problems of the the ashes.

    Brownian, Thanks for the tips on geothermal/radiant, I'll point that out. If anyone had a webpage that shows how this is accomplished, that would be fantastic. For the heat loss, couldn't I just check out the size of their unit (say 150,000 BTU/hr) and size the unit (say Tarm) that way?

    Everyone thanks for your response.
    One last general question: The silo/boiler set up. That could have some kind of cork screw conveyor or a vacuum or some kind of transfer system so it doesn't have to be manually loaded?
  19. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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  20. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Pellets way 40 pounds per cubic foot. So six tons is 300 cubic feet. Storage can be in silos, but a rectangular bin is acceptable, too. Just need to build a sloped floor to move the pellets to one side, where they can be augured or vacuumed out. Personally, with a that size, I'd go with 8 or 10 tons of storage. For example, 10 feet long by 8 feet wide, by 7 feet tall would store 10 tons (including an allowance for a sloped floor and some insulation).

    There's not much to it. The geothermal system produces hot water, which is stored in a buffer tank. The hot water is used by the radiant heating system, just like if it was produced by their oil boiler.

    I would suggest calling companies in your area that advertise geothermal, and tell them that you have radiant heat.

    Because about 75% of heating systems in this country are grossly oversized. I don't mean by a few percent, either. It's not at all uncommon for a properly-sized replacement system to be half the size of the system that was originally installed. Over-sized oil and gas systems waste fuel. Over-sized solid fuel systems waste fuel, but can also be a safety hazard. A proper heat loss is critical to sizing equipment properly. You just need to do the outer envelope of the building (presuming that all interior rooms are kept at the same temperature), which makes it no big deal.

    Yes. There are a variety of transfer systems using rigid or flexible augers, or vacuum setups. They aren't cheap, if done right. And there is still maintenance (cleaning) on any system.

    Joe
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