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Maine Custom Home Houses Classic Cars
in Comfort


Custom home building usually means unique requests which often lead to creative problem solving by the plumbing and mechanical contractor. This was certainly the case for Jonathan Eaton, owner of Clearwater Plumbing, of Darmariscotta, Maine. He recently finished a hybrid hydronic heating system for a 15-room home overlooking Booth Bay. The challenge on this job was focused around the garage and the homeowner's desire to display and work on a portion of his notable collection of classic cars.

The main living areas of the house are heated using a combination of in-floor radiant, including the basement slab, and by Concept panel radiators. The heating system is powered by two Biasi oil-fired boilers controlled by a Taco PC702 2-Stage Outdoor Reset Control. The PC702 plugs directly into a Taco Expandable Switching Relay to provide energy savings via outdoor reset, boiler staging, boiler rotation, adjustable interstage delay and a domestic hot water demand pump output with switchable priority. A Taco 0010 circulator is used as the primary pump, feeding eleven zones, each with a 007-IFC circulator.

When Eaton was designing the heating system for the house, it was the owner's use of his garage that ultimately drove the design and equipment choices. The homeowner likes to spend his free time working on his classic car collection in the garage and showroom. A radiant floor system in the showroom, plus the panel radiation in the garage, made the most sense. The radiant floor provides a comfortable environment in which to display his cars, while the panel radiation allows the homeowner to heat the garage up quickly whenever he decides to work on his latest restoration project.

Since the Taco X-Pump Block provides total isolation between the heat generation side of a hydronic system and its heat delivery side, it was the perfect equipment choice to get the job done. This allowed Eaton to avoid the hassles and extra expense of adding glycol to the entire house. The X-Pump Block, Taco's latest addition to its Radiant Made Easy product line, is an all-in-one mixing system, combining a variable speed mixing control, a heat source circulator, constant speed circulator and an attached brazed plate heat exchanger.

Eaton used a second X-Pump to provide antifreeze isolation, but this one heats the entryway, mud room and melts snow on the front steps to the house. Eaton also set up this X-Pump Block to control temperature by utilizing its built-in outside reset feature, raising and lowering the temperature of the floor, as needed, in direct proportion to the outside temperature. According to Jonathan Eaton, this feature works remarkably well in reducing high and low inside temperature spikes, especially during more moderate weather situations.

Eaton calls the X-Pump Block a "sweet little unit" that made possible the extension of radiant heat in the garage and outdoor entranceway. Without the availability of the X-Pump Block, Eaton says that the controls complexity, heat exchanger sizing and space requirements of constructing two separate isolated heating loops to accomplish the effects achieved by the X-Pump Blocks would not have been reasonable. With just 4-pipe connections "the speed of installation and material cost far outweighs anything I could construct in the field," he adds.

Jonathan Eaton is a big fan of Taco, having used the dependable green products for over 30 years. "I like Taco products. The Taco name on the box makes a big difference. I use Taco because it works." He also credits Taco and its local manufacturers' rep. agency, Emerson-Swan, with superb technical help and assistance: "It's the best in the business."