Turning up the heat

Dsc 0215Now that we had the floor all ripped out and put back in, we could finally start working on the radiant heat. We decided before we went to all that trouble we would go ahead and rip out the dropped ceiling that was over the bedroom. Of course the demo only took a good day, but dust would last for weeks. We were hanging new 2 x 10's on Halloween night. At one point I literally left my wife holding one end of a beam while I went to answer the door. Hanging the insulation took another couple of days, and unfortunately the drywall is still pending. Getting the radiant up and going quickly became the main focus as the temperatures started dropping. Dsc 0005-1I had read many, many articles online about DIY radiant heat installation. Most of them made it sound like it was a pretty easy thing to do. Get a boiler, add a couple of pumps, some pex and a thermostat and you're in business. I had read approximate square foot costs and figured I could do my 750 square foot home for around 3 thousand dollars. One of the single biggest costs was going to be the boiler. Thats where we totally lucked out. We found a monitor boiler, the "MZ25C" used in the classifieds for $500. It is a 95% efficient, gas boiler that puts out over 94,000 BTU, which is almost twice as big as we need. Normal retail for this boiler is over $2,500, so we were getting a screaming good deal. I asked for a quote online from radiantdirect, and it came back significantly higher than I thought it would. I don't remember the exact number but it was something like $4,500 without the heat source. Besides being significantly higher than I thought, I was less than confident about the support I would be able to get for installation. I decided to get a quote from a local plumbing supply place Standard Plumbing. They would take care of the system design and main board, and I would do the rest of the install. For some reason I was confident that they would come in cheaper. The initial quote I got from the was around $6,000. I was obviously shocked, but the fact that our house was getting down to 55 degrees inside at night convinced me that it was the best thing to do. Besides, their lead time was a lot less than the online places, plus they would do most of the hard part, the panel. The guy that was helping was obviously surprised to see that I told him to go ahead and do the drawings. He was used to plumbing contractors, not punk kids who had almost no idea what they were doing. I was pleasantly surprised when he called back a week later and told me that the plans were ready, and he had simplified it to save me a significant amount of money. Turns out he was just trying to scare me off with the original quote, and when he saw I was serious, he reworked things. It was now starting into December, it was very cold, and we still didn't have any heat. They were several weeks out on any panel assembly, which was way too long for me. I decided that I would go ahead and build it myself, even though I had no idea how to sweat copper. They were even nice enough to take me back to the back and give me a crash test on how to do it. Luckily for me, the day I went to pick up all the parts to build it myself I got another call. Apparently one of the guys that did the assembly had offered to do the job over the weekend for me. Instead of paying $1000 for the job, he would take $400 under the table for Christmas money, plus another $250 for part to the company. I gleefully agreed. Now all I had to do was run all the tubing, and hook up the panel and boiler before I froze. Dsc 0001 2

Please excuse me while I pay some bills...