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Peafowl breeders who need to provide heat for their
peafowl during the winter months face a difficult challenge.
The heating method needs to be safe, efficient, and effective.
Conventional methods such as heat lamps, furnaces, heated roosts, and
space heaters are often inefficient, unreliable, and can be dangerous to the
peafowl. Forced air methods such as
furnaces and space heaters often become fouled with dust and feathers which lead
to poor efficiency and overheating. Heat
lamps can be knocked lose from their hangers and fall to the floor.
Many barn fires have been attributed to a heat lamp falling to the floor
and igniting the bedding material. The
purpose of this article is to present information on hot water (hydronic)
in-floor radiant heating which is a safe and efficient heating method that can
be used for peafowl and any other type of bird and animal.
Hydronic in-floor radiant heating is also becoming quite popular in
During the summer of 2005, my wife, Lisa and I had
a new pole barn constructed on our farm. Our
new pole barn is designed to provide 12, 8’ x 8’ x 7’ high, heated box
stalls for our green peafowl, East African crowned cranes, and Cape Barren
geese. We have chosen to install
hydronic in-floor radiant heat in the concrete slab to be the heat source for
our box stalls. Radiant heat is safe
because there are no ducts, heating elements, fans, filters, or grates to become
fouled with dust and feathers generated by the birds.
There are no exposed fixtures that the birds can knock loose while
flying. Radiant heat is very
efficient because the heat radiates up from the concrete flooring and evenly
warms the entire room area bottom to top. There
are no cold spots or drafts since the heat comes from beneath the floor.
in-floor radiant heat installation is called a slab-on-grade system.
A slab-on-grade system is described as follows.
PEX tubing is distributed through out the concrete slab in 12 inch
on-center serpentine loops that are fastened to the 2 inch extruded polystyrene
insulation that has been installed on top of shot sand backfill.
A 6-mil polyethylene vapor barrier was installed on top of the backfill
prior to laying the 2 inch insulation. Two
inch insulation was also installed vertically
around the perimeter of the concrete slab to prevent heat loss through the edges
of the slab. There are many other
methods to install in-floor radiant heat systems on existing concrete floors and
under wood framed flooring. Articles
can be found on the Internet and in home improvement magazines and books.
PEX tubing is cross linked polyethylene tubing.
PEX tubing is very common in new home construction today for plumbing of
potable water. The PEX tubing used
for in-floor radiant heat systems is specially designed for this purpose.
In-floor PEX tubing has an additional oxygen diffusion barrier which
prevents oxygen from diffusing in to the water circulating through the tubing
and the heat source. If oxygen is
allowed to enter the water, corrosion will occur in all ferrous components.
PEX tubing comes in diameters from 3/8 inch to 1 inch.
Our heating system uses ½ dia. tubing.
The serpentine loops of tubing are held in place by plastic clips that
screw in to the 2 inch foam insulation. Our
heating system has 14 tubing loops that begin and terminate at a central
location where the supply and return manifold is mounted.
The supply and return manifolds will control the water flow through each
loop in order to supply heat to the different areas of our pole barn.
In addition to the box stalls, a workshop area and an office area will be
heated by the radiant system. Each
of these areas is a different zone in the system which will allows us to keep
each of these areas at a different temperature.
The box stalls have been designed to have a constant temperature of 40
deg. F in the winter months.
A LP fueled boiler supplies the heat for the hot
water in the tubing. There are many
other types of heat sources that can be used
to heat the hot water. Some examples
are a hot water heater, wood fueled boiler, natural gas fueled boiler, or a heat
pump. The LP boiler was our best
option. We have installed provisions
us to utilize a wood fueled boiler in the future if we so choose.
The radiant system has a circulating pump to move the hot water through
the 3,500 feet of tubing that runs through the concrete slab.
The circulating pump and the flow control valves are controlled by
thermostats mounted in the box stalls, workshop, and office area.
The workshop zone has been designed to be 50 deg. F during the winter
months and the office area will be 60 deg. F.
The design work for our radiant system was done by Bader
Mechanical, a local heating and
air conditioning contractor. We
provided the dimensions of each area to be heated, the R values for the
insulation in each area, and the desired temperature to be maintained by the
radiant system. Bader Mechanical took
this information and sized the boiler and the rest of the radiant system
accordingly. Once we had the design
information, we purchased the materials and we have done all of the installation
ourselves. The manufacturer for all
of our radiant system supplies provided us with a complete installation guide
that has been very easy to follow. There
are many articles on the Internet and in home improvement magazines that
describes the steps required to install a radiant heat system.
Each of the heated areas are well insulated, which is a key to making the radiant system work
efficiently. We used R19
insulation in the walls and R30 insulation in the ceilings.
After the insulation was in place, the PEX tubing was hooked up to the
manifolds and the system was filled with water.
The boiler is on line
and provides heat to the 3 heated areas of our barn.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article and I hope that it has given you some valuable information on a safe and efficient method of providing heat for your peafowl, animals and even yourself.
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