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Radiant heat’s the natural choice for a home installing a daycare center

By Chris Kastner

A Weil-McLain Ultra oil boiler was selected to provide the power for the daycare center’s radiant-heating system.

If you’re planning to open a daycare center in the basement of your new home, it makes perfect sense to provide in-floor heating, especially if it’s a New England home, where basements can be notoriously damp. That’s what the homeowners requested plumbing-and-heating contractor Steve Gronski to install in the 26-foot by 33-foot basement area that will be dedicated to the daycare center. The owners realize that the children they’ll be minding will be spending most of their time, playing or listening to stories, sitting on the basement floor, so a warm floor, heated in this case by oilheat, is not only the ultimate in comfort, but a requirement for the business.

Radiant jobs are becoming an important part of Gronski’s business these days ‘ up to half of all his work ‘ and he’s installed radiant heating in body shops, car-wash entranceways and even a bus barn. A member of Uponor’s Home Comfort Advantage Team, Gronski said that ‘radiant is a beautiful thing.” It makes a room like ‘a big radiator, providing quiet, even heat. With radiant, there are no baseboards and hence no dust.” Plus, with radiant, ‘one has the freedom to place any piece of furniture anywhere in the room,” added Gronski, ‘without the worry of blocking off the baseboard or floor registers that are the room’s heat sources.”

For this job, the radiant zones help provide energy savings because the system Gronski installed will maintain a lower water temperature. With radiant heating, the system can be designed to run on 100-degree water temperature to provide a 75-degree surface temperature. However, the 75-degree temperature will actually maintain a 65-degree air temperature, which feels warmer than 65 degrees. A conventional heating system would take at least 140-degree water temperature to heat the room to 65 degrees, and that only heats the air. Once the call for heat is satisfied, the room would begin to feel chillier at 65 degrees because the air temperature cools.

Upstairs in the house are two radiant-equipped bathrooms, a master bathroom and an ADA-complaint bathroom for a son with disability. An elevator off the kitchen supplements the stairs leading down to the basement.

Steve Gronski of Gronski Plumbing & Heating faced a unique installation when he helped convert the basement of a house into a daycare center.

The 2,700-square-foot home under construction this past winter and spring consists of a total of seven zones throughout the house. In addition to the basement radiant zone and in-floor heating for two upstairs bathrooms, there is a zone for domestic water and three hydro-air zones. Heat PEX tubing was used for the radiant zones. The three hydro-air zones consist of First Company air handlers, while Rheem condensers will provide the cooling for the air-conditioning. An Uponor proMIX 201 controls the radiant heating along with Uponor 501 and 511 thermostats to control the radiant heating zones. Gronski had the heating system up and running in February, providing indoor comfort for the construction contractors working upstairs.

The heating system is powered by a Weil McLain Ultra Gold oil boiler with an 85 AFUE rating and was requested by the owner, who enjoyed a Weil McLain oil-fired boiler in his previous house. The Ultra Gold boiler is coupled with a Weil McLain Gold Plus indirect water heater. The homeowners stayed with oilheat for the new home, said Gronski, because oil gives them the freedom to switch oilheat providers, depending on the cost of oil and the level of service experienced.

‘After all, there’s only one gas company to deal with,” said Gronski, ‘as opposed to oilheat, where there’s freedom of choice.”

Gronski’s a big fan of Taco products and it shows on this job. There are five Taco 007 IFC (Integral Flo-Chek) circulators, a bronze 006 attached to the water heater for domestic water recirculation, a 0011 for the in-floor radiant zones, five ESP motorized zone valves, Taco Hy-Vents and a SR503 outdoor reset control.

‘Taco’s right here in my backyard,” said Gronski, ‘and they’ve got such a great product line, such selection.”

‘Uponor, Weil McLain and Taco make for a great working combination,” in his view. It’s not just the products themselves, Gronski said, but the level of training support and technical assistance that these manufacturers provide to younger, hungry-for-knowledge contractors like himself.

‘With companies like these behind you, when you call for assistance you know there’s always going to be someone ready to help,” he explained.

That translates to real brand loyalty.

For more information, contact Steve Gronski at his Web site www.gronskiplumbingandheating.com.

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