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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/20/2010

Been a long time since Colleen and I were last putting in radiant tubing, but it's amazing how fast it all comes back to you.

Colleen couldn't come up today, so after a nice Burger King breakfast (hey, they're on the way!) I got to Tanglewood around 10 or so and got straight to work. Working around without assistance was definitely slower, since I had to unroll the tubing on my own, then work my way down the floor on hands and knees (Odin bless knee pads!) to tie things down. Because the wire mesh is on 6" centers and I was installing on 8" centers, I also had to use a lot of zip ties as I went--I could only use those nifty little clippies on every third run of PEX (since those lined up with the wire mesh). The weather didn't help a lot other--it was nice enough in the morning but quickly got hot and muggy by the time mid-afternoon rolled around, and this slowed me down significantly. 

Still, I got two loops done. Working out all of the zone design ahead of time was a great help, since I knew exactly what I was doing, and I only had a few on-the-spot changes to make to accommodate drains and plumbing  penetrations. Having learned my lesson from January's festivities, I made sure to give myself plenty of tail on each zone, starting the layout from the manifold itself. I also took care to install the tubing protectors (in our case we used 1" electrical PVC "els"--these help keep the concrete from collapsing the pipe when it's poured) before I started playing out the tubing, and to carefully label each Send/Return pair for each zone. I also made sure to carefully label each valve on the manifold itself--this is something I didn't do until the end of the process last time around, and it was very confusing to follow loops around to find out where they were going at the end of the day when you're cold and tired and just want to go home. You can use just about any labeling system that makes sense to you; in my case I labeled by floor (1), then manifold number (in this case, 1) and zone within the manifold (1 thru 4). For me, this made the apartment loops run from 111 to 114.  I used some little circular paper tags to hang on each valve, since they are about an inch in diameter and fairly easy to work with.

The manifold itself is another Icma, this time a four-zone unit I picked up from Radiant Kurt last week. Since this time I can more properly mount the first-floor manifolds on the walls rather than out in the middle of nowhere like I had to do upstairs, I put it on a bit of scrap plywood that is 1/2" thick so it would be properly spaced once we install the drywall down the road. This particular manifold will end up under the apartment-kitchen window behind some cabinets, so for this one I'll probably put in a false wall to protect it from any accidental smackage.

Pics below. I work tomorrow, and Colleen is busy trying to arrange some other tasks (septic and a packer for the well) so I won't be able to do more than a couple of hours in the evening, but every bit helps. I'll need to swing by Walmart and pick up another batch of zip ties too, since I'm likely to run out before I finish the apartment--I still have two bags of the clippies though.

Exhausting, but fun!


Steven in Colorado Springs

Photos

The apartment manifold with the first zone started. The plywood will help it to be properly spaced once we install the drywall.
Two loops so far! Note how I had to jog a bit around the plumbing penetrations, but I managed to keep the bathroom and the closet on their own zone. so they can be run a bit hotter (nice for bathrooms).
The manifold at the end of the day. Lots of tail here for me to trim for proper fit into each valve.


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