Deja Vu All Over Again

Heard this on the clock radio this morning, which lead to momentary panic…

Two things before we get started:

1. Groundhog Day might just be Bill Murray’s best movie
2. Sonny Bono should be revered for giving all us below average looking guys hope.

Our ongoing series on the power of radiant zoning has sparked a bit of discussion over on LinkedIn (If you do LinkedIn, look for the “Think Hydronics” group – it’s a hoot!)

Was going to discuss how zoning helps with water temperature control, but when you have a guest blogger of Mark Eatherton’s stature, you have to suspend regular programming.

We were discussing how a normal, everyday home with radiant floor heat might require 4 zones on the first floor to ensure comfort (click here to review).

Well, Mark chimed in with a reminder that radiant heat doesn’t necessarily have to come from the floor:

My idea of a simple RADIANT system would be a system whereby all emitting surfaces (floors, walls, ceilings etc) had nearly the same output characteristics. 

Doing this with ceilings is easy, because we don’t have to worry about the wife of the house throwing Wooly Mammoths on the floor to make her footsies more comfortable. She can’t put anything on the ceiling that will affect the output of the emitter. 

Give as many zones as the consumer deserves/wants/can afford. 

For a heat source, I’d use my favorite mod-con boiler and eliminate any need for mixing down.

I have employed this system in my own residence…the system delivers EXCELLENT radiant heat comfort, year round, and once I tie my radiant cooling system in, it will deliver excellent comfort year round.

Inexpensive? No, but who are we to dictate what the consumer is willing to pay for good human comfort? If all you wanted was HEAT, a 55 gallon drum heater would get ‘er done. Oh, you wanted COMFORT and convenience? Well, that does utilize HEAT, and a whole lot more, and that makes it more costly, but well worth the money. 

And remember, in most cases, it is not necessary to cover every square foot of ceiling with tubing, holding installed costs down. We, as contractors need to focus more on delivering a good radiant comfort experience, and that is not the exclusive territory of radiant floors, although I LOVE my radiant floors, I REALLY LOVE my radiant ceilings. 

I honestly believe ceilings are THE most overlooked opportunity that hydronic comfort contractors are missing out on. Look UP to comfort and profitability.

Radiant ceiling heat is a pretty old concept.  I can remember my Dad showing me some pictures of a radiant ceiling job he did back in the late ’40′s.  ”Nice radiant floor job, Dad,” I told him.

He told me I was holding the picture upside down.

He was also shaking his head, wondering where the good DNA went.

As Mark states above, radiant ceiling offers plenty of advantages:

1. No worries about floor coverings
2. Higher allowable surface temperatures = higher output per square foot
3. Consistent BTUH/SF panel output due to consistent installation method
4. Same water temperature for each room – just vary much radiant panel area is installed
5. VERY fast responding

Want to read a little more about radiant ceiling?  Click here. It’s an oldie but goodie!

And this would have been the lead music video if it hadn’t been for the whole Groundhog thing..

Paul Simon (there he is again) with “One Man’s Ceiling is Another Man’s Floor.”  Seems appropriate.

Marginal video, but a great tune!

2 Responses to “Deja Vu All Over Again”

  1. Great articles!

    And hey I really like the radiant ceiling system! A man who does not learn something new everyday stays stagnant. Where can I get more information on this product, if it is available in Canada and who the local rep is for the Calgary, AB, southern Alberta area.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!


    Calgary Hydronics

  2. Hi James — if I understand your question correctly, any radiant product can be adapted to the ceiling — most common uses aluminum plates. Check with your radiant supplier. As for Taco products, they’ll be getting in touch!

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