Radiant Panel Sizing in Four Easy Steps

Radiant Panel Sizing in Four Easy Steps

For any heating system, proper sizing is critical to performance – and infrared radiant ceiling panels are no different. One of the most frequently asked questions we get is how to size our infrared ceiling panels correctly. When we help someone size a system, we typically perform a heat loss calculation to determine system sizing. The following are some guidelines you can use to size panels for smaller projects, or when you don’t have all the information necessary for a heat loss calculation.

 

Step 1 – Measure the space

The size of the space is one piece of information you simply must have. Measure the length and width of the room and calculate the square footage by multiplying the two together. For example, if your room is 12 feet wide by 15 feet long, then the room size is 12 feet x 15 feet = 180 square feet (sf).

Step 2 – Estimate the necessary wattage

Next you need to estimate the amount of heating you’ll need. This is where a heat loss calculation comes in handy. However, there are some general guidelines we use that will get you pretty close.

  • Supplemental System (i.e. a ductless or forced air system is doing most of the work): 2 Watts/square foot (W/sf)
  • Super Insulated Room (meets US EPA Energy Star standards or above): 4.5 W/sf
  • Normally Insulated Room (meets current code): 6 W/sf
  • Low Insulation/Drafty Room: 7-9 W/sf

Step 3 – Determine the watt density (intensity)

Now you need to look at the mounting height (this is usually the ceiling height) of the panel to determine appropriate watt density. The higher the watt density, the more intense the maximum output of the panels.

  • 50w/sf – eg a 120AIP4-400 is 400 watts over 8 square feet of panel – 50w/sf. This watt density is best suited for lower intensity applications, like ceilings under 8′ in height.
  • 62.5w/sf – eg a 120AIP4-500 is 500 watts over 8 square feet of panel – 62.5w/sf. This watt density is the most versatile – readily used from 8′ ceilings up to 9’6″.
  • 93.75w/sf – eg a 120AIP4-750 @ 750 watts over 8 square feet of panel = 93.75w/sf. This watt density is best used in places where higher intensity is desired, such as high draft areas or ceilings over 10′.

Step 4 – Determine # of panels

We have a rule of thumb for coverage to get started here – take the square footage of the room and divide it by 20. Then, divide that number by either 6, 4, 3, or 2, depending on what panel size you think will work best in the room. Finally, round that number off and you have the number of panels you should use!

Let’s use these steps in an example. Let’s say our example room is 12’x12′, with 8′ ceilings. It has normal insulation.

Step 1 : 12 * 12 = 144 sf

Step 2 : Normal insulation = 6 W/sf – 6 W/sf * 144 sf = 864W

Step 3 : Watt density should be at least 62.5 W/sf (eg a 6′ 750W panel, or a 3′ 375W panel)

So, we should use either a single 6′ 1000W panel, or two 4′ 500W panels for this room!

Ceiling panels in a backyard cottage by Model Remodel + Live, Work, Play

After this step, you’ll have to make a few judgement calls on the system. First, you need to make sure your wattage requirement determined in Step 2 is met by the panels you picked in Step 3 & 4 – if not, you’ll need to adjust your selection. Second, do you want more, but smaller panels, to achieve more even coverage in the space? You can use a single 6′ 750W to achieve the same heating as two 3′ 375W units. You could even use three 2′ 250W!  Some people like the symmetry and distributed coverage provided by smaller units; others prefer to simply install a single larger unit – the choice is up to you.

Fall Infrared Heating Open Houses

Fall Infrared Heating Open Houses

Join us for an open house! Mighty Energy Solutions will be opening our home showroom to building professionals and homeowners on the following Tuesdays this fall: September 25, October 16, and November 6. This is an opportunity to see Infrared Radiant Ceiling PanelsRadiant Cove Heaters and our BioSmart Wall Heaters in action. Heating season is almost upon us and now is a great time to think about how to efficiently heat your home. Pacific Northwest rainy seasons can be tough, but not with Infrared Radiant Heat! These products provide a warm, cozy, and healthy heat all year long. Come experience this comforting heat for yourself!

September 25 | October 16 | November 6

8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

3108 SW Webster St

RSVP’s welcomed but not necessary. Drop in anytime, no formal presentation.

Radiant Ceiling Panels are a smart choice – wireless thermostats make them smarter!

Radiant Ceiling Panels are a smart choice – wireless thermostats make them smarter!

by Steve Abercrombie, Connected Buildings

Wireless thermostats are a perfect way to improve comfort, make your home smarter, and save money and energy. Radiant Ceiling Panels supplied by Mighty Energy Solutions are a perfect complement to wireless thermostats. Since they offer precise heat on a per-room basis, you can fine tune your comfort while keeping your energy bills low for the rooms that are not in use. Radiant heat makes you start feeling warm in seconds, so you don’t have to worry about a long lag between turning up the heat and feeling comfortable.

“Wireless” thermostats are a bit of a misnomer. While they can be controlled from anywhere you have an internet connection, they still need power to run, and need to be connected to your home heating system. In some projects, you don’t have to run wire to mount a controller on the wall, which saves a lot of hassle and allows for a cleaner look. However, code requirements vary so make sure you get approval from your local building department. Wireless thermostats often allow control of your heating system from not only the next room, but from across the globe.

 

Ideal Applications

Smart, wi-fi enabled thermostats and radiant ceiling panels are an intelligent home-heating solution. Have a heat-pump serving the main part of your house, except for that cold guest bedroom or basement? You need to consider supplemental radiant ceiling panels controlled by a smart thermostat. If you replace your heat pump thermostat and use a home automation system you will be the envy of all your neighbors while also saving money on your heating bills! The radiant panel / smart thermostat combo is also ideal for vacation homes or Airbnb rentals where you can warm things up for maximum comfort just prior to arrival.

Have you ever wanted to say “Alexa, turn on the heat in the bedroom” so that it is warm and toasty when it’s time to go to sleep? A wireless thermostat integrated with your home automation system or controlled by your smart phone is just the ticket. Including such other conveniences as: turning off your heat from the airport before you depart for vacation, automatically setting your house to a lower temperature whenever you leave home, or warming up the house when you leave the office.

 

Wireless Thermostat Basics

Wireless or “wi-fi enabled” thermostats connect to your wireless network to allow you to control them via the internet. This control then allows you to use Amazon Echo, Apple Home, Google Home, IFTTT, or a variety of other Internet of Things (IoT) services to automate your home.

There are too many wireless thermostats on the market to review them all, but below are a couple of the most popular ones. Almost any wi-fi enabled thermostat can be paired with radiant panels!

 

Nest Learning Thermostat

The original ‘smart’ thermostat, the Nest is a great choice if you are looking for style and simplicity that you can control with your smartphone. If you want a minimalist look to accompany the low-profile radiant ceiling panels, and just want to save energy, consider the Nest. It works best when you are controlling a large room, say a great room or integrated kitchen / living room. This is because its learning algorithm works best in places that get regular activity, as compared to a sparsely-used spare bedroom. The Nest costs about $250. It also has a built-in occupancy sensor to detect room usage without other home automation components.

 

Ecobee 3 Lite thermostat

Ecobee produces a popular wi-fi enabled thermostat that can be controlled via a tablet, smart phone, or home automation system. The “lite” version of this thermostat is about $150. It is a good choice for folks looking for multiple room thermostats, while still getting a modern look, or for people with an established home automation system. To get a built-in occupancy sensor function or to be able to add native room temperature sensors, you have to upgrade to the non-lite version, the Ecobee 3.

 

Honeywell RTH6580WF

Although they don’t have the sleek design of the Nest or the Ecobee, Honeywell is a trusted name in thermostats. They have a line of wi-fi enabled and smart thermostats, with features rivaling their upstart competitors. After some evaluation, I chose the Honeywell RTH6580WF for my home. At less than $100 apiece, installing two of these was a snap to heat my office and guest bedroom!

 By reading online reviews and doing a little shopping it isn’t hard to find the thermostat that is right for you. Don’t forget, security is always important with any internet-connected device you get. Make sure to buy from a reliable manufacturer and change the default password immediately upon installation.

Bring it all Together with Relays

The key to making a smart thermostat work with radiant ceiling panels is a relay with a built-in transformer. The relay acts a switch that turns the heating panel on and off when commanded by the thermostat.

The Aube 840T is the relay that I used to connect my Honeywell wi-fi thermostats to the radiant ceiling panels in my office and guest bedroom. Besides allowing the thermostat to cycle the power on the radiant panels, it also provides power for the thermostats via 3 small wires that are run from the ceiling to the wall-mounted thermostats. The Aube relays cost about $40.

I almost never use the thermostat controls on the walls, although I notice when guests stay over on cold nights, they love bumping up the temperature a few degrees to bask in the heat from the panels. Of course, I can check the temperature on my cell phone after they depart to set things back to normal.

You’ll want to consult with an expert to help you with the design of your control system and make sure everything meets code – Mighty Energy Solutions can help direct you. There are a lot of possibilities depending on the number of zones that you set up and how many thermostats and panels you want to install. They will also make sure that the relay you select matches the voltage of your heating panels.

Here is a diagram that I used to work with my electricians on the installation in my house. They took it from there and made everything look easy!

 

I found setting up an efficient, comfortable, and smart home with a couple of wireless thermostats and Radiant Ceiling Panels from Mighty Energy Solutions wasn’t nearly as daunting as it sounds and was made even more simple with assistance from Mighty Energy.

Infrared Radiant Heat on the 2018 NW Green Home Tour

Infrared Radiant Heat on the 2018 NW Green Home Tour

We are excited to announce that FOUR projects featuring infrared radiant heat will be on display during the NW Green Home Tour this year! This opportunity to see the latest and greatest green building projects in the northwest is not to be missed! Join us on April 28-29, 2018!

April 28 – 29, 2018 | 11am – 5pm

 

 Garden Cottage with Norwegian Roots

7535 25th Ave NW | Open Sunday Only

Designed by Red Cottage Studios, the Cottage in the Garden is “koselig”; warm and welcoming as an expression of the owner’s Norwegian roots and features infrared heat supplied by Mighty Energy Solutions. Less than 500 square feet, the cottage includes a separate pottery studio which can be converted to a future bedroom. A conventional heating source would have been too big for this cottage, but the radiant ceiling panels heat only the occupants, at a fraction of the cost of a heat pump or boiler. More info here.

Ballard Industrial Makeover & Addition

653 NW 52nd St | Open Sunday Only

ming | architecture and design and Pathway Design & Construction teamed up to give the owners of this duplex a seamless approach for finding creative solutions. The family of 5 had outgrown their 1200 sq ft unit, yet codes limited what they could add. The original 1970’s radiant heating system was replaced with cozy and efficient infrared radiant ceiling panels and cove heaters. Long-lasting and cost effective, these heaters help maintain superior indoor air quality in the home by eliminating the need for ducting or fans that circulate allergens. Read more here.

 

 

Molly’s Pocket Mansion

2608 46th Ave SW |Open Saturday Only

By S.A.G.E. Designs NW, Molly’s Pocket Mansion is a wonderful DADU in West Seattle. At just under 800sf it is a great layout for one person or for a couple. This project prioritized aging in place accessibility and natural light. It is heated with a ductless heat pump and infrared radiant ceiling panels. More info here.

 

architectural drawing DADU

DADU With A View in Ravenna

6510 19th Ave NE | Open Sunday Only

Designed by Living Shelter Architects and built by Mighty House Construction, this project includes super energy-efficient building solutions with an emphasis on healthy finishes for superb indoor air quality. Infrared Radiant Ceiling panels provide a simple and efficient heating solution for the entire space. Read more here.

Spring Radiant Heat Open Houses

Spring Radiant Heat Open Houses

Mighty Energy Solutions will be opening our home showroom to building professionals and homeowners on Wednesday, March 21, April 18, and May 16. This is an opportunity to see Infrared Radiant Ceiling Panels, Radiant Cove Heaters and our BioSmart Wall Heaters in action. Spring is a great time to think about how to efficiently heat your home. Pacific Northwest rainy seasons can be tough, but not with Infrared Radiant Heat! These products provide a warm, cozy, and healthy heat all year long. Come experience this comforting heat for yourself at our open house.

March 21 | April 18 | May 16

8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

3108 SW Webster St

RSVP’s welcomed but not necessary. Drop in anytime, no formal presentation.

Reducing the Cost of Ductless Heat Pumps

Reducing the Cost of Ductless Heat Pumps

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance recently published new research on the market saturation of ductless heat pumps (DHPs). They found that consumers are mostly motivated by the significant energy savings (up to 50%) that heat pumps offer. However, the study findings also show that one of the most prohibitive factors to installing this energy-saving technology is the high cost of installation. You can read the full study here.

Lowering the cost of a DHP install can be as simple as reducing the number of heads needed in a home. This can be done by adding supplemental heat source that is distinct from the DHP system. Often, the lowest cost, most efficient way to do this is with infrared radiant heat. Contact us for more information on how radiant heat can complement your ductless system!