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Mozart
Jun. 1, 2011, 11:08 AM
Anyone do this? I am planning a new barn and it will have a concrete centre aisle. Someone suggested this and it had not occurred to me. I can think of several advantages to in floor heat vs hanging garage style blower heaters (which is what I currently have and am not in love with, hard to get temp just above freezing and I have to frequently blow the dust out as I worry about fire).

What would the disadvantages be? TIA :)

rustbreeches
Jun. 1, 2011, 12:01 PM
We have it in the floor of our dairy parlor and the open area adjoining it that we use for bottles, washing, breaks, etc. It is fabulous!!! Even on the coldest 30 below days, it has kept the barn at a reasonable temp. It is a very even temperature, no bursts of hot air, followed by cold spells. We have found that keeping it at around 60 is sufficient except for the freakishly cold snaps, when we will put it up to 75 or so. Even after we turn it off, the barn stays decent for a couple days, but that probably has more to do with the large expanse we are heating.

I think in terms of respiratory health, because it is radiant and not forced air, it might be a little better for the horses. But, I have no expereience with a barn heated other than by in-floor radiant heat

Gloria
Jun. 1, 2011, 12:48 PM
Disadvantage? I think the only disadvantage is the cost:D... Just don't do them in the stall area. You don't want heated pee lol.

morganpony86
Jun. 1, 2011, 01:07 PM
Disadvantage? I think the only disadvantage is the cost:D...

Second this! Holy electric/gas bill, Batman!

Mozart
Jun. 1, 2011, 01:30 PM
Second this! Holy electric/gas bill, Batman!

Can't be worse than the forced air electric heaters that I currently use! The costs would be in the installation but I think once installed it would be cheaper in the long run. Need to research that though.

Reagan
Jun. 1, 2011, 01:32 PM
Second this! Holy electric/gas bill, Batman!

*Like* :lol:

I've never heard of this, but MD isn't horribly cold in the winters (though we do bitch about it non stop ;)). What is the fire risk? I would just worry with all the additional wires etc involved that the chances of an electrical fire would increase. Though I guess fires have a hard time starting from a wire encased in concrete!

Mozart
Jun. 1, 2011, 01:38 PM
Just to give you some perpective on my average winter temps..it is not unusual to have -30 celsius...that is -22 fahrenheit, for literally months at a time in the winter. And that doesn't factor in windchill.

Even spring and fall are no picnic. Last weekend it was 51.8 degrees fahrenheit. That is a bit unusual for us but not really exceptional....

So I make no apologies for heating my barn!

Sparky Boy
Jun. 1, 2011, 01:42 PM
Just to give you some perpective on my average winter temps..it is not unusual to have -30 celsius...that is -22 fahrenheit, for literally months at a time in the winter. And that doesn't factor in windchill.

Even spring and fall are no picnic. Last weekend it was 51.8 degrees fahrenheit. That is a bit unusual for us but not really exceptional....

So I make no apologies for heating my barn!

PLEASE tell me you live in Canada!!!

CHT
Jun. 1, 2011, 01:48 PM
Our barn and indoor arena are heated by hot water heating. The heat loops run in the floor of the barn aisle, tack rooms and washroom, and in a cement pony wall that runs around the outside of the barn and riding arena (up to about 3'6" high?)

It is extremely efficient heat. The coils heat the cement mass, and even when our boiler died for 36 hours in below freezing weather, the barn only cooled maybe 1 degree. We are very well insulated though.

Our barn is kept to 12 degrees celcius and the arena to 6 degrees...and that is the temp it is all the time in the winter. No noticeable drop even if doors are open. It does not take much to increase the heat if we want to for a special occasion.

No cold feet ever, the heat is silent, low fire risk, boarders don't have to worry about turning on or off heaters, and did I mention it is cheap?

The downside is in the winter when the snow balls in the horse's hooves, the snow will melt creating a slippery water layer between the ice and the floor. Riders have to be diligent about knocking the ice out right away or standing the horse on grippy mats until the ice melts completely.

CHT
Jun. 1, 2011, 01:51 PM
Just wanted to add, there are no electrical wires under the cement for the heat...just tubes anchored to the rebar with cement poured on top. The tubes are filled with Glycol (sp?) so that it won't freeze. The glycol is heated using a boiler the size of a mircowave and this heats our 200 foot by 70 foot structure.

winter
Jun. 1, 2011, 01:58 PM
Hello Mozart.
I am sorry I keep forgetting to scan my layout!! We have revised the drawings somewhat but when I get a more final one I will forward to you for sure.

We are using in floor heat in our barn, it's supposed to be much more efficient than forced air. It will run in the alley way only, not in the stalls. I will have to make a note to make sure it goes in the tack room floor as well....

As far as I know the arena is supposed to be radiant or something else (I can't remember what now), CHT, could you explain a little more about how your arena is heated? I am having trouble picturing how the boiler heats the arena since obviously it doesn't have concrete underfoot. So the kick wall in the arena is concrete?

Mozart
Jun. 1, 2011, 02:25 PM
PLEASE tell me you live in Canada!!!

LOL, relax, I am in Canada. In what is probably the coldest semi-civilized part of Canada at that.

Really interesting the hear that CHT. Insulating the arena was in the "someday" plan and I did not plan to heat it but I had no idea you could heat the arena that way too. As a matter of fact, DH is working in the concrete business at the moment and is encouraging me to find ways to use concrete in the construction.

winter, I finally scanned my plans too and will send to you as well. They are not the final ones either, an agricultural building draftsman is going over them and there will no doubt be adjustments made!

CHT
Jun. 1, 2011, 02:26 PM
The outer wall of the entire structure is cement for the first 3'6" or so, so in the arena the kick wall is cement. It is easy to line with something such as puck board or wood which is what we have done in the stalls.

smurabito
Jun. 1, 2011, 02:30 PM
Just to give you some perpective on my average winter temps..it is not unusual to have -30 celsius...that is -22 fahrenheit, for literally months at a time in the winter. And that doesn't factor in windchill.

Even spring and fall are no picnic. Last weekend it was 51.8 degrees fahrenheit. That is a bit unusual for us but not really exceptional....

So I make no apologies for heating my barn!
And you shouldn't! Holy cow that is cold! I can't even imagine.

poltroon
Jun. 1, 2011, 03:28 PM
We installed radiant heat tubes into concrete in our addition. It was more trouble to do than I expected but still very doable. For a simple shape like a single rectangle, you wouldn't even need to do much in the way of careful engineering - just find the recommended separation between tubes for your heating load and make it a single zone. Make sure you insulate underneath so that the heat isn't lost into the ground below.

There's no particular fire risk and you can use any kind of energy that suits for warming the fluid that runs through the tubes.

People install the tubing into garages and walkways in the northeast, so I think it's worth pursuing.

fivehorses
Jun. 1, 2011, 05:19 PM
Can't be worse than the forced air electric heaters that I currently use! The costs would be in the installation but I think once installed it would be cheaper in the long run. Need to research that though.

You are right about that. The cost is the installation.
I know someone who uses an outdoor furnace to heat their radiant heat center aisle barn. WOnderful

suz
Jun. 1, 2011, 05:35 PM
dh is planing to use an outdoor wood boiler to heat our hot water.
maybe the barn too if we replace it. we have 35 acres of woods, so firewood is cheap and plentiful for now.

FertilizerLeaves
Jun. 1, 2011, 09:08 PM
It's about time my arch degree paid off.

1. Radiant floors are more effective than forced air. They heat from the floor and as heat rises, it heats the whole space. Vents from the ceiling, really only heat areas furthest away from you. Also because of concretes thermal mass, there is a lovely time delay effect, so yes, it will feel like it's still warm after being turned off.

2. Go with liquid radiant flooring. Air doesn't work well and electric isn't cost effective.

3. Remember that anything in contact with it will be warmed as well. Not hot, but warmed.

4. If you are worried about cost, you can install the tubig while the slab is being poured and the actual above ground mechanical components can be added later.

2tempe
Jun. 1, 2011, 09:20 PM
A bunch of years ago Andrews Osbourne School outside Cleveland built a super-fancy new barn and it had some kind of heat under the floor of the main area. I wouldn't swear to it, but I believe they put down pavers or something like that instead of pouring concrete. Don't know how cost would compare, but if for some reason you had to get to the parts underneath, its easy w/ pavers. I would think that if you called them they might share ideas; equine staff is listed on their website

rodawn
Jun. 1, 2011, 10:32 PM
Just to give you some perpective on my average winter temps..it is not unusual to have -30 celsius...that is -22 fahrenheit, for literally months at a time in the winter. And that doesn't factor in windchill.

Even spring and fall are no picnic. Last weekend it was 51.8 degrees fahrenheit. That is a bit unusual for us but not really exceptional....

So I make no apologies for heating my barn!

Hear ya!

Radiant in floor heating in a house is rated as higher energy efficiency than forced air heating. It maintains an even temperature which is more energy efficent than having to constantly heat a rapidly cooled space.

Your energy efficiency will go up if you have insulated your roof and walls, either via spray foam or dense Ruxall insulation which has a higher R value than fiberglass.

One bonus is it will melt the snow balls off their feet and ice will not build up on your floor so it will not get dangerously slippery. If you think the temporary moisture from melted snow will cause slipperiness, have your cement contractor scuff the cement so it has a grooved pattern, thus creating traction. The pattern makes it harder to clean, but nothing that a leaf blower can't fix - we use that after the horses are outside and we've finished cleaning stalls. Make sure you seal your cement floor - cement absorbs moisture.

The huge bonus is respiratory health. The number 1 cause of respiratory disease in a horse is airborne contaminants caused by dust and micro-amounts of molds in feeds, beddings and the general polution in the air. It is impossible to keep a barn dust free, but it is entirely possible to heat a barn without blowing it all around.

You don't even have to keep your barn hugely warm in the winter. Unless your horses are clipped, they would be very happy with the nighttime temperature hovering around 5 to 10 degrees celsius with all their hairy coats on. If they're clipped, well you could either stall blanket, or keep the temperature a little warmer.

As someone else mentioned, use the liquid radiant tubing. No fire hazard and very efficient.

You could get really energy efficient by hooking up your radiant floor heating to solar panels for power. ;)

We're planning on building a new barn in a couple years. It will DEFINITELY have in-floor radiant heating.

CHT
Jun. 1, 2011, 11:28 PM
To save money we ran the heat loops ourselves after the rebar was put down (which we also did ourselves). It wasn't hard at all, and it felt good to be part of the building process.

Leprechaun
Jun. 2, 2011, 05:48 AM
Wow! I didn't even know that was an option.

poltroon
Jun. 2, 2011, 04:57 PM
To save money we ran the heat loops ourselves after the rebar was put down (which we also did ourselves). It wasn't hard at all, and it felt good to be part of the building process.

Which is what we did as well. And it was satisfying. I held my breath when the guys were stepping on it pouring the concrete, but all went well. Our installation was for a house, so there were lots of funny corners and six zones, thus more complicated.

Things that you'll need to pay attention to include the total thickness of the concrete and the choice of concrete - not a big deal, but you can accidentally mess up there. It's likely that the people pouring concrete in your area have some knowledge of the right choices for radiant.

I also took the time to photograph everything before the concrete was poured.

Do yourself a favor: buy knee pads before you start! :D

rmh_rider
Jun. 2, 2011, 05:15 PM
I just read the OP's post to my husband.

He said how about cooled floors in the concrete aisleway of the barn? We would like that alot. Being that it is 92 right now. And we have been hauling and stacking hay today. Whew.

Equibrit
Jun. 2, 2011, 05:19 PM
You could probably heat water, to run through pipes in your concrete floor, with your manure pile.

Rabtfarm
Jun. 2, 2011, 06:51 PM
I installed pex radiant floor tubing in the 32x23' 2 1/2 car garage I build at our old house. It cost about $1000 in materials to put in the foam/foil sheets, the wire rebar grid and the tubing. You want to have 4-6 equal short lengths or runs of radiant pex all laid out in a grid about 12-16" apart, held in place by wireties. These 100-150 foot runs are then connected to a manifold that feeds all the zones you created equally. I think the brass manifold was about the most expensive part. I never got to the water heating part as we moved to the new farm. I wanted to try out passive solar water heating as I think that marrying these two would work really well: you have a massive heat sink in your concrete floor slab that will happily stay warm on those cloudy/rainy/snowy days when you may not be getting much solar heating...but even just keeping the slab at 50 degrees F would be preferable to an arctic slab of ice underfoot.
When I win the lottery I'll have the old cement floor to the connector garage at the new farm jackhammered and install another radiant floor tubing set up here at the new farm. Poltroon is right on about the kneepads...you will really hurt your knees wiretieing the tubing without protection.
Good luck.