Builders, Contractors View Hydronic House

John Carpenter (second from left) points out the features of his hydronic heating system to attendees at his open house.
HOWELL, Mich. - John Carpenter is trying to sell his home. He is also trying to sell affordable hydronic heating. He decided to combine the two.

Carpenter, territory heating manager for D&C Plumbing & Heating Supply Co., Ann Arbor, Mich., held an open house in early December in his home, which he hoped would serve two purposes.

First, he invited area heating contractors to bring builders to his home to get a look at his hydronic heating system. He wanted both groups to see the hydronic system that he installed in his home and how it can be an affordable system for new homes and replacement systems. Visiting builders were given a discount coupon for equipment used in the system.

"The system in my home minimizes technology without affecting comfort," said Carpenter. "The idea is to demonstrate the comfort of hydronic heating and move away from price objections."

The second reason for the open house was to bring in interested buyers who could see first-hand the features and benefits of hydronic heating.

The 2,520-square-foot two-level home features one combination water heater for both the domestic hot water and space heating needs. According to Carpenter, the benefit of this system to the contractor is that he or she installs just one water heating appliance, one gas line, and one vent system, saving time and money. And he added that the system provides "maximum energy savings and comfort."

Carpenter poses with the “workhorse” of his home’s hydronic heating system — Delta Performance combination water heater.
Here are some of the specs of the system, which had an installed cost of $18,700:

  • Combination water heating appliance.

  • Air handler with hydronic heat coil, air conditioning coil, and ductwork.

  • Radiant floor heat in lower level with walkout basement.

    "Now assuming the building costs were $110 per square foot, this house would cost $277,200 just for the structure, not including location or extras," said Carpenter. "For only 7 percent of this total building project, you get the state-of-the-art modern comfort hydronic heating and cooling system."

    Carpenter attempts to sell both his home and affordable hydronic heating.
    Carpenter also added features in his home including a radiant floor heating system in the three-car garage, a 1,500-square-foot driveway snowmelt system, and spot radiant floor heating in the main floor kitchen, laundry, foyer, and master bedroom foyer, bringing the total heating and cooling cost to $31,610 or 11 percent of the total project cost.

    "John has taken the concept of hydronic heat and simplified it into a system that is affordable so that the system won't break the bank," said Bill Allen, sales representative from Buy Van Associates Inc., Auburn Hills, Mich. Buy Van is a distributor of the Triangle Tube manufacturer of the Delta Performance combination water heater used in the Carpenter home.

    For more information, visit or If you'd like a copy of Carpenter's space heating/piping schematic, e-mail John R. Hall at

    Publication date: 12/26/2005

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