Radiators + Geothermal During Construction
Phew, getting to the point where we can say all of our radiators are installed has been a marathon, not a sprint. Doug has been absolutely amazing. He has done some plumbing before, but very minor like hooking up a sink and some supply lines, nothing as complex as running six zones worth of radiant heating for a 2500 sq ft house. But this man can learn anything. He devoted a lot of time to research, asked our geothermal contractor some questions, and ultimately he was able to run and install all the lines for the radiators with only minimal issues. It was a learning curve, but he got the hang of it so quickly once he started!
We spent countless hours going back and forth with both Castrads, our radiator supplier, and our geothermal contractor working on the heat loss calculation of the cobblestone to ensure we ordered enough radiators/sized the geothermal system correctly. Our geothermal contractor went so far as to have a local passive house expert analyze our home as extra assurance that we were making all the right decisions. We are so thankful for the support and knowledge Castrads provided during this process - not to mention the patience, haha. The radiators are from the "Florence" Bespoke line. These are steel column radiators - they are so much lighter than cast iron radiators, but still have that beautiful traditional look. With the Florence Bespoke line we were able to customize the number of columns and height of the radiators to each rooms specs. Some rooms we calculated a higher BTU based on the direction of the room - for example we went larger in our kitchen/dining space which faces the north.
After spending the summer in production, our radiators arrived in early October. So many parts of working on the cobblestone are like Christmas morning, and the arrival of the radiators was no different! With the arrival of the radiators it meant time to really get moving on our geothermal installation. The team we worked with was fantastic and the owner of the company went above and beyond to help us figure out the best way to run the water lines for the radiators. He shared his local plumbing supply store and we have had nothing but a great experience with them as well!
Per the recommendation of our geothermal team we broke the house into 6 separate heating zones. Each of these zones has its own pump that will go on as those zones call for heat. This made it easier to do the radiator installation in bite sized chunks vs installing them all at once. It also allowed us to start with an easier to access zone and really helped with the learning curve of the install. After the first two zones Doug really had the hang of it and we were able to a zone per weekend over the last two months.
We were honestly a bit nervous that we sized our system too small once we hit these really cold winter days - where we had a high of 10 degrees. The geothermal was running constantly and the house just couldn't stay at the set temperature. But a few weeks ago Doug went up in the attic and taped all the seams of the floor and within hours the house was up to the set temperature and managed to stay there. It just goes to show how important sealing up a house is! Lesson learned, don't judge the heating performance until the homes envelope is sealed! We can't wait to see how much better the system runs when we get the drywall up between each of the rooms too. Right now the warm air is just following the path of least resistance to go upwards, so naturally upstairs is nice and toasty. Once the rooms are all enclosed it will force the heat to circulate within the confines of that space. Moving past the "construction" phase and into the finishing phase will definitely help the house stay warm!