RPA - Radiant Panel Association

Engineering Design Services

The word “design” means different things to different people. Some feel they can “design” a hydronic system using rules-of-thumb or so-called “catalog engineering.” Others simply start installing a system - piece by piece - without a clear overall picture of what the system will look like when finished. This is the unsure “design-as-you-solder” approach. Still others rely on wholesalers or equipment manufacturers to “design” a system based on a set of construction drawings they drop off. This is usually done at little or no cost to the installer. The motivation for the wholesaler or manufacture is to specify the hardware they sell into the system being designed.

Appropriate Designs takes a different approach. We provide professional engineering design services for all types of hydronic heating applications. All drawing and specification are produced under the direction of John Siegenthaler, a licensed professional engineer. 

Appropriate Designs does not sell hardware. We are never limited in the scope of products that can be included in the systems we design. This allows us to design based on what best suits the clients needs and circumstances.

A typical scope of work for the design of a hydronic heating system includes the following tasks:

  • Discussion of heat emitter / heat source options with client
  • Heat loss analysis of building
  • Selection and sizing of all system hardware
  • Tubing layout drawings for radiant panel heating systems
  • Preparation of piping routing drawings
  • Preparation of piping schematics
  • Preparation of control system drawings
  • On-site inspections (depending on project location)
  • Technical support for installing contractor

Complete and thorough system design and documentation can reduce installation cost while also improving performance and reliability. In all cases, designs are tailored to specific equipment and installation constraints. Our task is always to represent the best interest of our clients, and not those selling specific brands of hardware.

All designs are developed using state-of-the-art methods and documented using modern CADD technology. All design documentation is archived and available for future reference.

In many cases, optimized design reduces the installation, maintenance, and long term operating cost of a system by an amount that exceeds the cost of design services. Permanent and detailed documentation ensures the system can be properly installed, commissioned, and maintained over a long service life.

At Appropriate Designs we value the term engineering professionals, and constantly seek to demonstrate that philosophy in the work we perform for clients. We have over 25 years of experience specifically in hydronic heating, and have designed hundreds of systems ranging from small residential to large (170,000 square foot) industrial projects.

How Much Does It Cost To Have a System Designed?

There is no simple answer to this question. It’s like asking, “How much does it cost to build a house”, or “How much does it cost to buy a car?” Every building is unique in its opportunities and limitations for the installation of a hydronic heating system.  A wide range of hydronic heat emitters, heat sources, and control options are available.

After review of building plans and discussion with client, Appropriate Designs will develop a scope of work, time frame, and price quotation for engineering services.

The current minimum project fee is $950. Larger, more complex buildings usually require more engineering and documentation time, and thus entail higher design fees.

Appropriate Designs will be happy to discuss design options and costs for specific projects.

Prospective clients are encouraged to have a set of drawings for the building available that can be e-mailed, faxed, or mailed.

Please contact Appropriate Designs at info@hydronicpros.com to discuss how we can assist is the design of a modern hydronic heating system for your building.

Examples of Design Documentation

Most drawings used to document system designs are 24” x 36” plots, and thus too large to be shown in their entirety within a browser window.  However, the following graphics are taken from larger drawings, and demonstrate the type of documentation provided.

Tubing Layout Plan:

The following drawings are tubing layouts from different projects. Each layout shows several radiant floor tubing circuits supplied from separate manifold stations. As part of the design, all circuits are carefully selected based on the required heat output, floor coverings, and other considerations. All circuit lengths are determined and charted to allow fast and accurate installation. Details on specific hardware that would normally be included in these drawings have been omitted.

Piping Schematic

The follow drawings are piping schematics for multi-load / multi-temperature hydronic systems. These systems provide space heating using fin-tube baseboard convectors, panel radiators, and radiant panel heating. They also provided prioritized heating of domestic water. Details on specific hardware that would normally be included in these drawings have been omitted.

Wiring Schematic

These are examples of wiring schematics for a multi-load / multi-temperture hydronic systems. They show the devices required and how they are connected. Powered devices such as circulators are cross-referenced to the corresponding piping schematic. Details on specific hardware that would normally be included in these drawings have been omitted.

Installation Details

These are typical installation details associated with different methods for installing radiant floor heating. Such details show how various architectural materials are coordinated with heating hardware. Details on specific hardware that would normally be included in these drawings have been omitted.

Concrete slab-on-grade installation detail

Concrete thin-slab installation detail

Above floor tube & plate installation detail


Full Size Drawings

The following links allow you to view PDF files of full-size drawings. Keep in mind that these drawings are for specific systems. They are also copyrighted, and should not be used as templates for other systems.

You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the drawings.