Date: October 2011
Project: Proulx Homestead Building
Location: Buena Vista, CO
Supplier: Infloor Heating Systems
Infloor Heating Systems has become known for designing original radiant heating systems and meticulously installing them for long-lasting, peak performance. And for good reason. They continually step up to new challenges and go where no other company like them has gone before.
In 2011, the President of Proulx Homestead Building, Steve Proulx, came to Infloor Heating Systems with a unique project in mind. He wanted to heat a new 6,000 sq. ft. company shop and a new 3,000 sq. ft. home through one reliable, consistent, quiet, and energy-efficient heating system with all the heating elements located in the shop. The challenge was… the shop and house were located 150’ apart. “I didn’t want to hear the equipment running,” Steve shared, “and Infloor was willing to take on the challenge and figure it out.”
Large areas to heat separated by 150’ of outdoor space meant Infloor Heating Systems took to the drawing board to engineer a system that would require new techniques and installation methods. “A project with these requirements had not been attempted before by us,” said Michel Willburn, President of Infloor Heating Systems.
He went on to explain they decided to install 3/8” tubing, 6” on the center, with a max loop length of 200’. Steve shared that this is one of the key design features. “The smaller tubing and loops with shorter runs is one of the secrets to the system” he said. Keeping the loops short and closer together increases the efficiency. “The shop temperature never changes, regardless of the weather outside,” Steve said. “It’s amazing!”
The constant, even, flameless heat is also important for the work Proulx Homestead Building is doing at the shop. “The radiant Infloor heating system is ideal for the painting, staining, and woodwork we do there,” Steve identified. Lacquer and other painting chemicals are highly flammable, making the presence of flames and heaters very hazardous. Even with 16’ ceilings, Steve said they continually experience nothing but sheer comfort with a temperature that is always within one degree.
However, this method meant other design changes were needed. “To do this, we had to embed the manifolds into the concrete slab,” Michael shared. “Normally, they go on the wall. The shop space was too big, so we changed it,” he said. Every 16’, manifolds were placed in the slab to accommodate the needs of the system.
Infloor Heating Systems also used 4” blue board under the concrete slabs, increasing the rating to an R-20. That means it has a quicker response time, reflect heat up to 20 times faster. “The system runs way less because it holds the heat,” said Steve.
Yet the greatest challenge came in connecting the boiler system located in the shop to the house, 150’ away. “This was something I really wanted,” Steve shared, “so I presented the idea and they figured it out.” A trench was dug from the shop to the crawl space under the house. Insulated lines were ran between the two and buried. “Infloor took the time to properly engineer the solution and made my idea work,” he said. “They took extra care with the design, insulation, and installation. They took the time to do it right.”
At the heart of it all is a tekmar Control System, perhaps more accurately representing the “brains” of the system, which is responsible for staging two modulating condensing boilers and controlling a 60-gallon side–arm hot water tank for domestic hot water. One boiler runs at 110,000 BTU and is always called upon first for hot water demands. Alone, it has the ability to provide 90% of the hot water necessary for the entire 9,000 sq. ft. space. If needed, a second boiler running at 199,000 BTU is called upon to provide additional heating.
“The tekmar Control System is really intelligent,” said Steve. “It’s like a carburetor on a car where the computer controls the system. It’s very impressive.”
The tekmar Control System consistently maintains the area temperature within’ one degree. “The thermostat never changes,” Steve recalls. “It’s like living in a magic house. The temperature is always consistent and we can’t hear a thing. We forget it’s even running most of the time,” he said.
“Incorporating the tekmar Control System is a key component to the efficiency of this system and maintaining peak performance for consistent heat and comfort,” said Michael Willburn.
With the addition of the tekmar Control System, the energy and cost savings add up to be quite impressive. Fueled by propane, Steve said he went from using 15 gallons a day to 5 gallons, saving 10 gallons daily, totaling up to an estimated $600 a month. “The savings can easily pay for the system in one heating season,” he shared. “It’s worth every penny.”
Proulx Homestead Building is located in Buena Vista, CO specializing in general contracting and home building for the past 20 years.