It seems weird talking about heating your house right now with the gorgeous spring days we’re having…but if any of you are starting a house build out there, here’s my experience!
In Saskatchewan, how you are heating and insulating your home is probably one of the first things you think about, well at least for me it was. All I had ever known is having a furnace, which blows warm air all over your house…but at the same time dries everything out immensely. They’re also somewhat inefficient if you have tall ceilings since the warm air just floats up to the roof, leaving you chilly down on the floor.
So, from the get-go I was aggressively researching hydronic in-floor heating since from what I’ve heard, its one of the most comfortable and efficient ways to heat your home. The only issue standing in the way was the huge price tag if you hire a plumber to plan/install the system all for you. Installing the piping all over the house is fairly straight forward so we decided to tackle that ourselves and then we only have to hire the plumber to hook everything up to the boiler at the very end.
I found a company with some searching and ordered all the piping, controls, pumps and manifolds through them. They even drew up a plan based on our house layout of the pattern to lay the pipes in, this was so helpful!
Installing the pipes for the main floor in the concrete was the easiest…even in -15 degree weather!
Just hook them up to the manifold, lay them out, and zip-tie them to the rebar.
Then, before pouring the concrete, pressure the lines up with some air and make sure it holds the pressure throughout the process.
The upstairs was a bit more challenging. We wanted to put the tubing on top of the subfloor so that the heat response time would be faster. Normally a thin slab is poured on top of the pipes on an upper floor but the huge amount of space made that cost-prohibitive, and using plywood seemed easier to do ourselves.
The only pictures I could find of doing it this way was on Ana White’s website, these were immensely helpful and I am so thankful for discovering her incredibly helpful and informative website this way!
Here’s how we did it…it was pretty easy and straight-forward, just time-consuming because of how much floor space there is upstairs.
First we laid down a reflective paper on the subfloor. It helps direct the heat upwards.
Then laid out strips of plywood with 12 inch spacings with channels in between them to allow for the metal reflective plates and pex tubing to go in between.
We started at each manifold and rolled out each roll in the pattern we had. Since we have 4 zones in the house, there are two manifolds upstairs and two downstairs.
It made it much easier to roll out all the pipes before the walls were drywalled, that way we could easily follow a pattern without always having to go in and out a doorway.
So that’s how it ended up looking in the areas where we put laminate down…I won’t lie, it was time consuming. But worked well! In the 3 rooms where we put tiles we skipped the reflective plates.
Looking back the one thing I would change is to put the manifolds in places where its easier/closer to run the supply/return lines to. Also, our one manifold upstairs ended up in a slightly weird place that’s quite visible, would definitely change that.
But with two winters behind us, I can fully agree that this is the way to go when you live in a cold climate and have many months of subzero temps to deal with. It is such a gentle warmth, and the air can have a comfortable, cool feel to it but you are always warm because your feet are toasty all the time!
Thanks for reading!