Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity Innovations: Radiant heat System - Homes Across America Search Return

Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity




Goals of Innovation: To make home heating as efficient and inexpensive as possible.

Description: AHHfH researched alternatives for affordable home heating. It decided to build a hot water heater radiant heat system based on a Journal of Light Construction JLC Online article by Bill Clinton, titled Using Water Heaters for Radiant Heat. As described by Clinton, the system goes in easily, works well, and is inexpensive, whether a perimeter baseboard or radiant floor.

Electricity is extremely inexpensive in West Virginia, so the water heater is electric rather than gas-fired, as Clinton recommends. AHHfH describes the system as 'mom and pop', designed and assembled based on the information in Clinton's article and the needs of the project. AHHfH designed and built its own manifold as part of the system. Everything they needed was available at the local hardware store.

Obstacles: AHHfH experienced no serious obstacles in developing the system. What proved most difficult was engineering two water heaters rather than one in the small house, one for heating and one for resident hot water use. It took a little time and plumbing know-how to figure out how to build a manifold between the tanks that would enable the system to work.

Cost Information: According to AHHfH, the result of the radiant heat system, insulated building envelope, and other energy-efficiency measures is a 50 percent reduction in utility costs.

Additional Benefits/Drawbacks: AHHfH intends to continue to use this home heating approach. It is inexpensive, relatively easy to put together, and results in significant energy cost savings.

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