Starting a new post, based on a message I got from one of my youtube friends.

Good morning Sir,

I am unsure of your mechanical background, but am impressed with your build. I just sat and watched your latest videos for the better half of an hour. Taking the time to video is always time consuming, which is why I usually opt not to record any of my work until its time for photos.

On to the nature of this message, I am a hydronics engineer and contractor. I see you embedded tubing in your concrete and used the staple up method for the second and first floors.
All I can advise is that you do not use an on demand water heater or junk condensing boiler. Take it from someone in the field, do it once, do it right, and you will be very happy. Also, if I recall from the video, you are on propane. Have the boiler properly set up with a combustion analyzer to ensure it is firing correctly! That will save you fuel, and save you future head aches. Lastly, most manufactures do not warranty units bought online, so buy from a reputable supply house.
Any questions, feel free to ask.

Wow! Thanks! It’s so nice to get real people talking about my garage! :) wondering if it would be ok, to have this conversation on my website? we can comment on a new post.

For now, I’ll reply.

So yes, I installed pex tubing all over the place. Mainly because it seemed easier than doing it later around all my stuff. I probably will use the tubes. I definitely won’t be using propane. :) partly because I want to get away from propane. But also because I DID use an on demand hot water heater to heat my house. All radiant tubes, a concrete over pour in the basement and staple up for the second floor. I will say it’s heated the house just fine for 3 years. I’m not arguing with you about whether it’s a good idea or not, I wouldn’t do it again. But I’d be curious as to the reasons why not. Ooh, can I take a stab?

The only way it would be “ok” would be if the hot water heater could have all things “perfect” So it’s designed GPM running through it, and it’s most efficient temperature hot water out, probably other factors like outside air temperature (combustion air cause it’s direct vent). The reality is probably that all those things have to be perfect in order for it to achieve it’s rated efficiency say 89% I have a takagi jr. So if those things aren’t perfect the efficiency is lower, possibly way lower, and I’m just burning propane.

That’s my guess anyway. So my solution to this problem is this.

A harman p60 pellet boiler. If you aren’t a pellet fan, i can understand, i wasn’t at first but I’ve thought long and hard about it and I think it’s my solution. Here’s why.

Comparing to Wood boiler which was as I saw it my only other option. Wood boiler is messy inside, and I have to cut and install and pay for a 40ft tall chimney. Wood boiler outside, looses a lot of combustion heat to the outdoors, and losses transfering hot water inside, and the tubing to get hot water underground efficiently is 24 bucks a FOOT, or there abouts. This is why I built my own which you’ll see in a later video, to run in between the garage and the house. Also, can’t leave for a week with a wood boiler, and I’m a curmudgeon so I don’t have any friends to come stoke it.

Pellet boiler, No wood mess, hoppers of infinite size to leave for many days, direct vent so no chimney, more efficient then, even a super gasification boiler.

I want the small boiler so I can heat my house. I’ve heard these boilers are best when they run pretty much all the time, so they aren’t cycling all the time. The 60 is just more than my house requires, so it seems like i could run it all the time, and give the excess heat to the garage on warmer days, and on colder than the “design day” i could give all the heat to the house. (basically give house priority and make the garage and over heat loop)

However, in typing this email, i realized that I think i want to put an addition on my house, which will make it hungier, and I don’t want to have to upsize a boiler later…so i might go for the pb105. anyway, let me know your thoughts on all of it.

And i’ll start this thread over on my website.

How should I heat my garage and house?
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2 thoughts on “How should I heat my garage and house?

  • July 25, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    There are some great ideas here. I’ve heard of but have little experience with heating via pellet stove/boilers. I have always been intrigued by the idea and how efficient/affordable they are versus traditional or older methods. Thanks for the post!

    • July 25, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      Thanks! Yeah, I hope to document the design and installation! Btw, you have a gorgeous website! :)


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