Happy Together

The Turtles, like every band, had a signature song.  This one’s appropriate for our discussion…

Happy Together knocked The Beatles off the Billboard #1 perch in 1967, has been used in countless TV ads and was featured prominently in The Simpsons movie (remember when Homer first meets Spider-Pig?).  Talk about your cross-cultural influence…

And “happy together” aptly describes the experiences some readers are sharing about radiant floor heating in super-insulated homes.

While there was general agreement that with low BTUH/SF heating loads you wouldn’t experience “warm, cozy floors,” the consensus is that when it comes to comfort, radiant delivers like no other.

Larry Drake, the founder of the Radiant Panel Association, says the difference in comfort between a fancoil blowing air heated with 130-degree water and a radiant floor with a 74-degree surface temperature is dramatic.

“The numbers only tell half the story. Air coming from a hydronic air handler (with 130-degree water) is tepid at best and produces a drafty feeling due to evaporation on the skin. Even insulated floors (will have a surface temperature) in the mid to low 60’s.”

“(With a heated floor), there’s no blowing air and the floors don’t suck heat out of your feet.  True, they never get ‘cozy warm,’ but I can tell you from first hand experience that you will immediately know the difference between walking barefoot on a heated floor versus an unheated one.”

Hydronics wizard Dave Yates of F.W. Behler in York, PA says he’s taking it several steps further in the super-insulated homes he works in.

“These days I’d be adding radiant cooling and using (air-to-water heat pumps), variable speed air-handlers for dehumidification and for 2nd stage heating/cooling so that deep set-back could be utilized.  Exciting times to be in the trades!”

True dat! Dave says he has one low-energy, passive solar type home with a geothermal heat pump, an inverter unit, solar thermal and PV panels that actually produces more energy than it uses.

Exciting times, indeed.

And J. Iredell Smith, the world-renowned “Smitty” from Arvada, Colorado says radiant floor heating solves a lot of comfort issues, especially in homes with high or vaulted ceilings.

“A lot of warm air at the ceiling is not a good thing! Radiant floor heating solves a lot of comfort issues, even if the floor isn’t ‘warm.’”

And from North of the Border, our good friend J.J. House tells of a 22,000 square foot “starter-castle” in Ontario with a total load of just over 8 BTUH/SF, even with 12 to 14 foot ceilings.

“Stage one is radiant floor throughout. Stage two is 2 furnaces and 4 air handlers with hydronic coils for backup and A/C, as well as HRV’s.  During construction the last two winters, a tankless water heater connected to a 40 gallon storage tank provided construction heat even on the coldest day.”

Of course, says Jeff, efficiency goes out the window when they fire up the twin-boilers needed to run 10,000 square feet of snow melt.

But hey, it’s their money.  Says Jeff: “It’s just nice to help them spend it.”

How ’bout one more from The Turtles?  Talk about one of your great, underrated bands ever…

Got to see “Flo & Eddie” performing as The Turtles in 1985, with Gary Lewis & The Playboys, The Grass Roots and The Buckinghams at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA.  High comedy and classic pop-rock in one evening. Who could ask for more?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.