Title:
Radiant heating system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A radiant heating system is provided that includes a first manifold, a second manifold, a heat source, and a circulator. The first manifold includes, an outlet port, a first heat distribution port receiving a heat transfer medium from the heat distribution system, and a supply port. The second manifold includes an inlet port, a second heat distribution port supplying a heat transfer medium to a heat distribution system, and a return port. The heat source transfers heat to the heat transfer medium and includes an intake port and an outtake port. The intake port is operably coupleable with the return port to receive the heat transfer medium from the second manifold. The outtake port is operably coupleable with the supply port to supply the heat transfer medium to the first manifold. The circulator is adapted to force the heat transfer medium from the first manifold to the second manifold and includes a first circulator port and a second circulator port. The first circulator port is operably coupleable with the outlet port to receive the heat transfer medium from the first manifold. The second circulator port is operably coupleable with the inlet port to supply the heat transfer medium to the second manifold.



Inventors:
Wieder, Horst K. (Watertown, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/502615
Publication Date:
03/27/2008
Filing Date:
08/10/2006
Assignee:
Cito Products, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24H3/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050098642Operating device of vehicle air conditionerMay, 2005Ogawa et al.
20080093471Friction heating systemApril, 2008Schooler
20050284946Cogeneration system and energy supply systemDecember, 2005Komura et al.
20070235550Determination of the Connected Heating Load of a BuildingOctober, 2007Donath et al.
20030168516Integrated pool heater control systemSeptember, 2003Cline
20090236436APPARATUS FOR OPTIMIZED EXECUTION OF HEATING TASKS IN FUEL CELL VEHICLESSeptember, 2009Lienkamp et al.
20090090789BUILDING HEATING SYSTEM AND METHOD OF OPERATIONApril, 2009Zirkiyev et al.
20030116637Heat pump defrost controlJune, 2003Ellingham
20100090017Hybrid heating system and methodApril, 2010Naghshineh
20080073442Radiant heating systemMarch, 2008Wieder
20080156894Heating system using a fireplaceJuly, 2008Lee



Primary Examiner:
FORD, JOHN K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bell & Manning, LLC (Madison, WI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A radiant heating system, the system comprising: a first manifold, the first manifold comprising a first body; an outlet port mounted to the first body, the outlet port operably coupleable with a circulator to supply a heat transfer medium to the circulator; a first heat distribution port mounted to the first body, the first heat distribution port operably coupleable with a heat distribution system to receive the heat transfer medium from the heat distribution system; and a supply port mounted to the first body, the supply port operably coupleable with a heat source to receive the heat transfer medium from the heat source; and a second manifold, the second manifold comprising a second body; an inlet port mounted to the second body, the inlet port operably coupleable with the circulator to receive the heat transfer medium from the circulator; a second heat distribution port mounted to the second body, the second heat distribution port operably coupleable with the heat distribution system to supply the heat transfer medium to the heat distribution system; and a return port mounted to the second body, the return port operably coupleable with the heat source to supply the heat transfer medium to the heat source.

2. The system of claim 1, further comprising the heat source, wherein the heat source is adapted to heat the heat transfer medium.

3. The system of claim 1, further comprising the heat source, wherein the heat source is adapted to cool the heat transfer medium.

4. The system of claim 1, further comprising the circulator, wherein the circulator is adapted to force the heat transfer medium from the first manifold to the second manifold.

5. The system of claim 4, wherein the circulator further comprises a pump, wherein the pump is located below the first manifold and below the second manifold.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein the first manifold further comprises at least one of a drain valve, a fill valve, and a drain/fill valve.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein the second manifold further comprises at least one of a drain valve, a fill valve, and a drain/fill valve.

8. The system of claim 1, further comprising a thermostat, the thermostat adapted to measure a temperature of a surrounding environment.

9. The system of claim 8, further comprising a relay wherein the relay activates the circulator under control of the thermostat.

10. The system of claim 8, further comprising a relay wherein the relay activates the heat source under control of the thermostat.

11. The system of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of circulators connected in series, wherein the plurality of circulators are adapted to force the heat transfer medium from the first manifold to the second manifold.

12. The system of claim 1, wherein the first manifold further comprises a first vent port mounted to the first body and the second manifold further comprises a second vent port mounted to the second body, the system further comprising a vent assembly, the vent assembly comprising: a container adapted to vent a gas from the heat transfer medium; a vent inlet port operably coupleable between the container and the second vent port to receive the heat transfer medium from the second manifold; and a vent outlet port operably coupleable between the container and the first vent port to supply the vented heat transfer medium to the first manifold.

13. The system of claim 12, wherein the vent inlet port is operably coupleable using a first tube and the vent outlet port is operably coupleable using a second tube, wherein a first cross section of the first tube is greater than a second cross section of the second tube.

14. The system of claim 12, wherein the second vent port is mounted opposite the inlet port.

15. The system of claim 14, wherein the second vent port is mounted adjacent a top of the second manifold.

16. The system of claim 12, wherein the first vent port is mounted opposite the outlet port.

17. The system of claim 16, wherein the first vent port is mounted adjacent a top of the first manifold.

18. The system of claim 12, wherein the vent assembly further comprises a check valve adapted to open when the heat transfer medium includes the gas.

19. The system of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of thermostats, a thermostat of the plurality of thermostats adapted to measure a temperature of a surrounding environment.

20. The system of claim 19, further comprising a zone valve, the zone valve operably coupleable with the first heat distribution port, the zone valve adapted to open and to close under control of a thermostat of the plurality of thermostats.

21. The system of claim 20, further comprising a relay wherein the relay activates the circulator under control of the zone valve.

22. The system of claim 21, wherein the zone valve includes a switch that sends a signal to the relay after the zone valve is open.

23. The system of claim 19, further comprising a zone valve, the zone valve operably coupleable with the second heat distribution port, the zone valve adapted to open and to close under control of a thermostat of the plurality of thermostats.

24. The system of claim 1, further comprising the heat distribution system, wherein the heat distribution system comprises a tube to transport the heat transfer medium between the second manifold and the first manifold.

25. The system of claim 24, wherein the heat distribution system further comprises a heat radiating panel mounted to at least a portion of the tube.

26. A method of distributing a heat transfer medium to a heat distribution system, the method comprising: activating a heat source under control of a thermostat; in a first manifold, mixing a first heat transfer medium received from the heat source with a second heat transfer medium received from a heat distribution system; forcing the mixed heat transfer medium from the first manifold to a second manifold using a circulator, wherein the circulator is mounted below the first manifold and below the second manifold, receiving the forced heat transfer medium from the circulator at the second manifold; distributing a first portion of the received heat transfer medium to the heat distribution system from the second manifold; and distributing a second portion of the received heat transfer medium to the heat source from the second manifold.

27. The method of claim 26, further comprising venting a gas from the received heat transfer medium using a vent assembly operably coupled with the second manifold.

28. The method of claim 27, further comprising supplying the vented heat transfer medium from the vent assembly to the first manifold.

29. The method of claim 27, further comprising closing a check valve coupled with the second manifold after the gas is vented from the received heat transfer medium.

30. The method of claim 26, further comprising activating the circulator under control of the thermostat.

31. The method of claim 26, further comprising opening a zone valve under control of the thermostat, the zone valve operably coupled with a heat distribution port of the first manifold.

32. The method of claim 26, further comprising opening a zone valve under control of the thermostat, the zone valve operably coupled with a heat distribution port of the second manifold.

33. The method of claim 32, further comprising activating the circulator under control of the zone valve.

34. The method of claim 32, further comprising activating the heat source under control of the zone valve.

35. The method of claim 26, further comprising heating the distributed second portion of the heat transfer medium at the heat source.

36. The method of claim 26, further comprising cooling the distributed second portion of the heat transfer medium at the heat source.

37. A method of installing a radiant heating system, the method comprising: mounting a first manifold in a mounting location, the first manifold comprising a first body; an outlet port mounted to the first body; a first heat distribution port mounted to the first body; and a supply port mounted to the first body; mounting a second manifold in the mounting location, the second manifold comprising a second body; an inlet port mounted to the second body; a second heat distribution port mounted to the second body; and a return port mounted to the second body; connecting a circulator between the outlet port of the first manifold and the inlet port of the second manifold, the circulator adapted to force the heat transfer medium from the first manifold to the second manifold; connecting a heat source between the return port of the second manifold and the supply port of the first manifold, the heat source adapted to transfer heat to the heat transfer medium; and connecting a heat distribution system between the first heat distribution port of the first manifold and the second heat distribution port of the second manifold.

38. The method of claim 37, further comprising connecting a vent assembly between the first manifold and the second manifold.

39. The method of claim 38, wherein the first manifold further comprises a first vent port mounted to the first body and the second manifold further comprises a second vent port mounted to the second body, and further wherein the vent assembly comprises: a container adapted to vent a gas from the heat transfer medium; a vent inlet port operably coupleable between the container and the second vent port to receive the heat transfer medium from the second manifold; and a vent outlet port operably coupleable between the container and the first vent port to supply the vented heat transfer medium to the first manifold.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/444,294, filed on May 31, 2006, and titled “ATTACHABLE HEAT RADIATING PANEL,” the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Various radiant heating systems have been developed for installation in walls, floors, and/or ceilings. The radiant heating systems can be mounted to and/or formed in diverse building materials. Of the various types of radiant heating systems, one of the more popular types utilizes a heat transfer medium such as water which is pumped through a closed-loop piping system. Typically, the closed loop piping is mounted in close contact with a floor for radiant floor heating or with a wall for radiant wall heating. Generally, the tubing runs parallel to the floor/ceiling joists or wall studs. Attached to the piping at various intervals may be heat radiating panels that abut the sub-flooring or the inner walls to enhance the radiation of heat from the closed loop piping to the floor, wall, or ceiling.

Generally, prior art radiant heating systems include a heat source, a water source, a plurality of circulators, expansion tanks, pressure valves, make-up water connections, back flow prevention valves, etc. As a result, prior art radiant heating systems are generally complex requiring a significant number of components and expensive. Thus, there is a need for a simpler, less expensive radiant heating system that provides efficient distribution of heat to a heat distribution area or zone.

SUMMARY

Exemplary embodiments described in the present application provide for a simple, inexpensive radiant heating system that provides efficient distribution of heat to a heat distribution area or zone. The system does not need an expansion tank, any pressure valves, a make-up water connection, or a back flow prevention valve. The system may be self contained and may not be connected to a water source. As a result, any system leakage is limited to the capacity of the system.

An exemplary heat radiating system includes, but is not limited to, a first manifold, a second manifold, a heat source, and a circulator. The first manifold includes, but is not limited to, a first body, an inlet port mounted to the first body, a first heat distribution port mounted to the first body to supply a heat transfer medium to a heat distribution system, and a return port mounted to the first body. The second manifold includes, but is not limited to, a second body, an outlet port mounted to the second body, a second heat distribution port mounted to the second body to receive a heat transfer medium from the heat distribution system, and a supply port mounted to the second body. The heat source is adapted to transfer heat to the heat transfer medium. The heat source includes, but is not limited to, a third body, an intake port mounted to the third body, and an outtake port mounted to the third body. The intake port is operably coupleable with the return port to receive the heat transfer medium from the first manifold. The outtake port is operably coupleable with the supply port to supply the heat transfer medium to the second manifold. The circulator is adapted to force the heat transfer medium from the second manifold to the first manifold. The circulator includes, but is not limited to, a fourth body, a first circulator port mounted to the fourth body, and a second circulator port mounted to the fourth body. The first circulator port is operably coupled with the outlet port to receive the heat transfer medium from the second manifold. The second circulator port is operably coupleable with the inlet port to supply the heat transfer medium to the first manifold. The radiant heating system may include a heat distribution system that includes, but is not limited to, a tube that transports heat transfer medium through a neat distribution area and/or zone.

In an exemplary method of distributing a heat transfer medium to a heat distribution system, the method includes, but is not limited to, activating a heat source under control of a thermostat; in a first manifold, mixing a first heat transfer medium received from the heat source with a second heat transfer medium received from a heat distribution system; forcing the mixed heat transfer medium from the first manifold to a second manifold using a circulator, wherein the circulator is mounted below the first manifold and below the second manifold, receiving the forced heat transfer medium from the circulator at the second manifold; distributing a first portion of the received heat transfer medium to the heat distribution system from the second manifold; and distributing a second portion of the received heat transfer medium to the heat source from the second manifold.

In an exemplary method of installing a radiant heating system, the method includes, but is not limited to, mounting a first manifold in a mounting location; mounting a second manifold in the mounting location; connecting a circulator between the outlet port of the second manifold and the inlet port of the first manifold, the circulator adapted to force the heat transfer medium from the second manifold to the first manifold; connecting a heat source between the return port of the first manifold and the supply port of the second manifold, the heat source adapted to transfer heat to the heat transfer medium; and connecting a heat distribution system between the first heat distribution port of the first manifold and the second heat distribution port of the second manifold. The first manifold includes, but is not limited to, an inlet port, a first heat distribution port, and a return port mounted to a first manifold body. The second manifold includes, but is not limited to, an outlet port, a second heat distribution port, and a supply port mounted to a second manifold body.

Other principal features and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon review of the following drawings, the detailed description, and the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Exemplary embodiments of the invention will hereafter be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein like numerals will denote like elements.

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of a single zone radiant heating system in accordance with an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of a multi-zone radiant heating system in accordance with an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of a manifold system of the radiant heating systems of FIGS. 1 and 2 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 4 is a diagram of an exemplary heat distribution system of the radiant heating systems of FIGS. 1 and 2 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 5 is a diagram of an exemplary heat distribution area of the radiant heating systems of FIGS. 1 and 2 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 6 is a schematic wiring diagram of a control system of the radiant heating systems of FIGS. 1 and 2 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 7 is a wiring diagram of a three zone control system of the radiant heating system of FIG. 2 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram of a multi-zone circulation system of the radiant heating system of FIG. 2 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment.

FIG. 9 is a schematic diagram of a vent assembly of the radiant heating systems of FIGS. 1 and 2 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

With reference to FIG. 1, a single zone radiant heating system 100 is shown in an exemplary embodiment. Radiant heating system 100 may be installed in any type of structure to provide heating or cooling thereof. For example, radiant heating system 100 may be installed in a building, home, pavilion, sidewalk, patio, driveway, etc. Radiant heating system 100 may include a heat source 102, a first manifold, 104, a second manifold 106, a circulator 108, a heat distribution system 110, and a vent assembly 112. Radiant heating system 100 may include a fewer or a greater number of components than shown in the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 1.

Heat source 102 is adapted to transfer heat to a heat transfer medium. As used herein, the term “heat transfer” encompasses heat exchange for both heating and cooling purposes. For example, the heat transfer medium may provide for warming or for cooling by radiant heating system 100. Various heat transfer media may be used as known to those skilled in the art both now and in the future. An exemplary heat transfer fluid is water for warming or refrigerant for cooling. Although in an exemplary embodiment a liquid is used as a heat transfer medium, other media for heat transfer may be used. For example, a gas could be used as a heat transfer medium, alone or in combination with a liquid. In an exemplary embodiment, heat source 102 is a water heater. Heat source 102 may include a setting not to exceed a predetermined temperature.

Heat source 102 may include a body 114, an outtake port 116, an intake port 118, and a drain/fill port 120. Body 114 may hold various volumes of heat transfer medium depending on the size of heat distribution system 110. Outtake port 116, intake port 118, and drain/fill port 120 mount to body 114. As used in this disclosure, the term “mount” includes join, unite, connect, associate, insert, hang, hold, affix, attach, fasten, bind, paste, secure, bolt, screw, rivet, solder, weld, and other like terms. The phrases “mounted on” and “mounted to” include any interior or exterior portion of the support member referenced. In an exemplary embodiment, outtake port 116 and intake port 118 mount on body 114. In an exemplary embodiment, drain/fill port 120 mounts near or on a bottom of body 114.

An outtake valve 122 supplies a heat transfer medium to radiant heating system 100 through a first tube 128 that couples to a supply valve 130. Outtake valve 122 may be a coupling or fitting as known to those skilled in the art both now and in the future. Supply valve 130 connects with a supply port 132 of first manifold 104. An intake valve 124 receives the heat transfer medium from radiant heating system 100 through a second tube 134 that couples to a return valve 136. Intake valve 124 may be a coupling or fitting as known to those skilled in the art both now and in the future. Return valve 136 connects with a return port 138 of second manifold 106. First tube 128 and second tube 134 may be formed of plastic, of metal, or of a combination of materials. First tube 128 and second tube 134 may be formed of the same or different materials. First tube 128 and second tube 134 may have a variety of diameters depending on the size of heat distribution system 110. The various tubes, valves, and ports are sized appropriately as known to those skilled in the art both now and in the future. A drain/fill valve 126 may mount to drain/fill port 120. Drain/fill valve 126 allows for the filling and/or draining of all of or a portion of radiant heating system 100. For example, a hose may be attached to drain/fill valve 126 to fill or to drain body 114 of heat source 102.

First manifold 104 may include a body 105 and a plurality of ports 140. With reference to FIGS. 1 and 3, the plurality of ports 140 include supply port 132, an outlet port 141, a make-up port 162, a drain/fill port 302, and a plurality of heat distribution ports 300. The number of the plurality of ports 140 may vary depending, for example, on the size of heat distribution system 110. Body 105 may hold various volumes of heat transfer medium depending on the size of heat distribution system 110. The plurality of ports 105 may be the same or different to accommodate different sizes and types of valves. For example, outlet port 141 may have a larger diameter than the plurality of heat distribution ports 300 to accommodate the heat transfer medium received from the plurality of heat distribution ports 300.

The plurality of ports 140 mount to body 105. In an exemplary embodiment, supply port 132 and make-up port 162 mount near or on a top of body 105. In an exemplary embodiment, drain/fill port 302 and outlet port 141 mount near or on a bottom of body 105. The plurality of heat distribution ports 300 receive heat transfer medium from heat distribution system 110. Preferably, supply port 132 mounts near the top of body 105 to facilitate mixing of the heat transfer medium received from the heat source 102 with the relatively cooler (hotter) heat transfer medium received from heat distribution system 110. Use of the terms “hot” and “cold” indicates a relative temperature difference and does not indicate a specific temperature. Preferably, outlet port 141 mounts at the bottom of body 105 to allow gravity to assist in the flow of heat transfer medium out of first manifold 104. Similarly, drain/fill port 302 preferably mounts near the bottom of body 105 to facilitate draining of first manifold 104.

Second manifold 106 may include a body 107 and a plurality of ports 144. With reference to FIGS. 1 and 3, the plurality of ports 144 include return port 138, an inlet port 145, a vent inlet port 154, and a plurality of heat distribution ports 304. The plurality of ports 144 may also include a drain/fill port 306. The number of the plurality of ports 144 may vary depending, for example, on the size of heat distribution system 110. Body 107 may hold various volumes of heat transfer medium depending on the size of heat distribution system 110. The plurality of ports 107 may be the same or different to accommodate different sizes and types of valves. For example, outlet port 145 may have a larger diameter than the plurality of heat distribution ports 304 to accommodate the heat transfer medium supplied to the plurality of heat distribution ports 304.

The plurality of ports 144 mount to body 107. In an exemplary embodiment, return port 138 and vent inlet port 154 mount near or on a top of body 107. In an exemplary embodiment, drain/fill port 306 and inlet port 145 mount near or on a bottom of body 107. The plurality of heat distribution ports 304 supply heat transfer medium to heat distribution system 110. Preferably, drain/fill port 306 mounts near the bottom of body 107 to facilitate draining of second manifold 106.

Circulator 108 is adapted to force the heat transfer medium from first manifold 104 to second manifold 106 thereby causing circulation of the heat transfer medium through heat distribution system 110, heat source 102, and vent assembly 112. A plurality of circulators may mounted in series to increase the force with which the heat transfer medium is circulated or to reduce the size of circulator required based on the size of heat distribution system 110. Circulator 108 may include a pump (not shown), a circulator controller 716 (shown with reference to FIGS. 7, and 8), a body 148, a circulator inlet port 150, and a circulator outlet port 152. The pump may be of various types as known to those of skill in the art both now and in the future. Preferably, the pump is mounted below first manifold 104 and second manifold 106 to minimize cavitation and to maintain circulator lubrication and liquid cooling. Circulator inlet port 150 and circulator outlet port 152 mount to generally opposed portions of body 148 though this is not required. An inlet pipe 142 mounts to outlet port 141 of first manifold 104 and to circulator inlet port 150 to provide a conduit for flow of the heat transfer medium from first manifold 104 to circulator 108. Inlet pipe 142 may include an elbow joint as shown with reference to FIG. 1. An outlet pipe 146 mounts to inlet port 145 of second manifold 106 and to circulator outlet port 152 to provide a conduit for flow of the heat transfer medium from circulator 108 to second manifold 106. Inlet pipe 142 and outlet pipe 146 may be formed of plastic, of metal, or of a combination of materials. Inlet pipe 142 and outlet pipe 146 may be formed of the same or different materials. Inlet pipe 142 and outlet pipe 146 may include elbow joints as shown with reference to FIG. 1.

Vent assembly 112 provides venting of gas from radiant heating system 100. An air bleed assembly 156 mounts to vent inlet port 154 of second manifold 106. Air bleed assembly 156 may include a check valve 157 that opens when the heat transfer medium includes a gas. A first vent tube 158 mounts to air bleed assembly 156 at a first end and to vent assembly 112 at a second end opposite the first end. A second vent tube 160 mounts to vent assembly 112 at a first end and to a liquid suction inlet valve 164 at a second end opposite the first end. Liquid suction inlet valve 164 mounts to make-up port 162 of first manifold 104 thereby returning vented heat transfer medium to heat distribution system 110. First vent tube 158 and second vent tube 160 may have the same or different sizes and may be formed of the same or different material. In an exemplary embodiment, first vent tube 158 is generally circular, formed of nylon tubing, and has an outer cross sectional diameter of approximately ¼ of an inch. In an exemplary embodiment, second vent tube 160 is generally circular, formed of nylon tubing, and has an outer cross sectional diameter of approximately ⅜ of an inch. Different sizes, shapes, and materials may be used to form first vent tube 158 and second vent tube 160 as known to those skilled in the art both now and in the future based on the heating or cooling provided by radiant heating system 100, the size of heat distribution system 110, etc.

With reference to FIG. 2, a multi-zone radiant heating system 200 is shown in an exemplary embodiment. Radiant heating system 200 may be installed in any type of structure to provide heating or cooling thereof. For example, radiant heating system 100 may be installed in a building, house, pavilion, sidewalk, patio, driveway, etc. Radiant heating system 200 may include heat source 102, first manifold, 104, second manifold 106, circulator 108, heat distribution system 110, vent assembly 112, and a plurality of zone valves 202. A zone valve of the plurality of zone valves 202 mounts to a respective heat distribution port of the plurality of heat distribution ports 300. The zone valve selectively opens and closes the respective heat distribution port under control of a thermostat to provide heating/cooling to a zone of heat distribution system 110. The plurality of zone valves 202 may be controlled by the same or different thermostats in any combination to provide heating/cooling of the zone. Radiant heating system 200 may include a fewer or a greater number of components than shown in the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 2.

With reference to FIG. 4, a schematic view of heat distribution system 110 is shown in accordance with an exemplary embodiment. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 4, heat distribution system 110 includes four exemplary heat distribution areas utilizing exemplary heat distribution mechanisms. Other heat distribution mechanisms may be utilized without limitation. A first heat distribution area 400 includes a first tubing loop 401. First tubing loop 401 may include an inlet end 402, an outlet end 404, and a looping arrangement 406. Looping arrangement 406 is sized and shaped to cover an area of a structure as known to those skilled in the art both now and in the future.

A second heat distribution area 410 includes an inlet tube 413, up to four tubing loops 416, an outlet tube 415, an inlet flow divider 418, and an outlet flow divider 424. Additional or fewer tubing loops 416 may be utilized in alternative embodiment. Inlet tube 413 includes an inlet end 412 and an outlet end 422. Outlet end 422 connects with inlet flow divider 418. Outlet tube 415 includes an inlet end 428 and an outlet end 414. Inlet end 428 connects with outlet flow divider 424. Inlet flow divider 418 includes a common inlet connector 419 and four outlet ports 420. Outlet flow divider 424 includes a common outlet connector 425 and four inlet ports 426. Each tubing loops 416 is sized and shaped to cover an area of a structure as known to those skilled in the art both now and in the future. Each tubing loops 416 connects with an outlet port of the four outlet ports 420 of inlet flow divider 418 and with an inlet port of the four inlet ports 426 of outlet flow divider 424.

A third heat distribution area 430 includes an inlet tube 433, up to two tubing loops 436, an outlet tube 435, an inlet flow splitter 438, and an outlet flow splitter 444. Inlet tube 433 includes an inlet end 432 and an outlet end 442. Outlet end 442 connects with inlet flow splitter 438. Outlet tube 435 includes an inlet end 448 and an outlet end 434. Inlet end 448 connects with outlet flow splitter 444. Inlet flow splitter 438 includes a common inlet connector 439 and two outlet ports 440. Outlet flow splitter 444 includes a common outlet connector 445 and two inlet ports 446. Each tubing loops 436 is sized and shaped to cover an area of a structure as known to those skilled in the art both now and in the future. Each tubing loops 436 connects with an outlet port of the two outlet ports 440 of inlet flow splitter 438 and with an inlet port of the two inlet ports 446 of outlet flow splitter 444.

A fourth heat distribution area 450 includes a first tube 451, and one or more heat radiating panel 456. First tube 451 includes an inlet end 452 and an outlet end 454. First tube 451 is sized and shaped to cover an area of a structure as known to those skilled in the art both now and in the future. Heat radiating panel 456 facilitates more even and efficient heat transfer to the heat distribution area from the heat transfer medium provided in first tube 451. Additional or fewer tubing loops 416, 436 may be utilized. The tubing loops 401, 416, 436 and first tube 451 may be mounted in various materials such as concrete that forms a patio, a driveway, a building floor, etc. as known to those skilled in the art both now and in the future. Alternatively, tubing loops 401, 416, 436 and first tube 451 may be mounted to various objects such as floor joists, ceiling joists, wall studs, etc. as known to those skilled in the art both now and in the future. Heat radiating panel 456 may or may not be used in heat distribution areas 400, 410, 430, 450. The number of heat radiating panels used in a heat distribution area may vary depending on the type of heat radiating panel, the size of the heat distribution area, etc. The tubes used in heat distribution system 110 may be formed of plastic, of metal, or of a combination of materials and may be formed of the same or different materials. The tubes used in heat distribution system 110 may have different sizes to accommodate different volumes of heat transfer medium.

With reference to FIG. 5, a top view of fourth heat distribution area 450 mounted in a floor, ceiling, or wall of a structure is shown in an exemplary embodiment. Fourth heat distribution area 450 includes, but is not limited to, a plurality of heat radiating panels 456 and first tube 451. The plurality of heat radiating panels 456 are mounted to a plurality of support members 500. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 5, the plurality of support members 500 include a first support member 504, a second support member 506, a third support member 508, and a fourth support member 510 arranged generally parallel to each other and attached at an end to a fifth support member 502 that is generally perpendicular to support members 504, 506, 508, 510. Various arrangements of the plurality of support members 500 may be utilized as known to those skilled in the art both now and in the future to form, for example, a floor, a ceiling, or a wall. Fourth heat distribution area 450 may include a fewer or a greater number of components than shown in the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 5. In an exemplary embodiment, the support members 502, 504, 506, 508, 510 are floor joists, ceiling joists, or wall studs. First tube 451 extends generally parallel to support members 504, 506, 508, 510 and curve to reverse direction near fifth support member 502.

With reference to FIG. 6, a schematic wiring diagram of a control system is shown in an exemplary embodiment for a single zone radiant heating system 100 and a multi-zone radiant heating system 200. The control system controls the operation of the radiant heating systems 100, 200. In an exemplary embodiment, a single zone control system includes a controller 600, a heat source controller 608, a circulator controller 614, and a thermostat 618. Heat source controller 608 controls the operation of heat source 102. Circulator controller 614 controls the operation of circulator 108.

Controller 600 may include a power connector 601, a circulator connector 603, a heat source connector 605, an output connector 609, and a terminal block 611. Power connector 601 receives power on a power line 602 from a power source. The power source may be any type of power source as known to those skilled in the art both now and in the future and may include a plurality of power sources. Circulator connector 603 receives signals from a circulator line 604 and provides power to circulator 108. Heat source connector 605 sends signals on a heat source line 606 to heat source controller 608. Output connector 609 sends signals from one or more thermostatically controlled zone valve to a second heat source controller on a second heat source line 610 using dry contacts. Terminal block 611 sends and/or receives signals to/from a thermostat line 612 from thermostat 618.

Thermostat 618 is mounted in a heat distribution area to measure a temperature of the heat distribution area and to compare the measured temperature with a desired temperature for the heat distribution area. Based on the comparison, thermostat 618 determines if activation of radiant heating system 100 is desired based on settings by the user of the system and the design of thermostat 618 as known to those skilled in the art both now and in the future. If activation of radiant heating system 100 is desired, thermostat 618 sends an activation signal on a thermostat line 612 to controller 600. Controller 600 receives the activation signal from thermostat 618 and sends a first signal on circulator line 604 to circulator controller 614 to activate circulator 108. Controller 600 sends a second signal on heat source line 606 to heat source controller 608 to activate heat source 102.

With reference to FIG. 6, a multi-zone control system includes controller 600, heat source controller 608, circulator controller 614, and a plurality of zones 616. The plurality of zones 616 may include any number of zones without limitation. Additional zones, increase the sizing of multi-zone radiant heating system 200 as known to a person of skill in the art both now and in the future. The plurality of zones 616 may include zone valves 202a, 202b, . . . , 202n in combination with thermostats 618a, 618b, . . . , 618n. Thermostats 618a, 618b, . . . , 618n control the opening and closing of the respective zone valve 202a, 202b, . . . , 202n.

With reference to FIG. 7, a wiring diagram of a three zone control system 700 is shown in accordance with an exemplary embodiment. Control system 700 includes power connector 601, a transformer 722, and terminal block 611 to connect with thermostat line 612. Transformer 722 reduces the voltage to a safe level, typically 24 volts alternating current (AC). Control system 700 may include a power relay 724 which provides a parallel set of contacts to activate power to circulator connector 603 and heat source connector 605. A second dry output contact that is terminated to output connector 609 provides a command signal for an on-demand heat source. Three zone control system 700 may include a first thermostat 618a, a second thermostat 618b, a third thermostat 618c, a first zone valve 202a, a second zone valve 202b, a third zone valve 202c, controller 600, heat source controller 608, and circulator controller 614. First thermostat 618a may include a first connector 702a and a second connector 704a. Second thermostat 618b may include a first connector 702b and a second connector 704b. Third thermostat 618c may include a first connector 702c and a second connector 704c.

First zone valve 202a may include a switch 706a, a first connector 708a, a second connector 710a, a third connector 712a, and a fourth connector 714a. Second zone valve 202b may include a switch 706b, a first connector 708b, a second connector 710b, a third connector 712b, and a fourth connector 714b. Third zone valve 202c may include a switch 706c, a first connector 708c, a second connector 710c, a third connector 712c, and a fourth connector 714c. Third signal wire 720 of thermostat line 612 connects with fourth connectors 714a, 714b, 714c of first zone valve 202a, second zone valve 202b, and third zone valve 202c, respectively.

Second connector 704a of first thermostat 618a connects with first connector 708a of first zone valve 202a through a first signal wire 705a. Second connector 704b of second thermostat 618b connects with first connector 708b of second zone valve 202b through a second signal wire 705b. Third connector 704c of third thermostat 618c connects with first connector 708c of third zone valve 202c through a third signal wire 705c. Signal wires 705a, 705b, 705c provide activation signals to zone valves 202a, 202b, 202c, respectively. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 7, zone valves 202a, 202b, 202c open slowly and close switches 706a, 706b, 706c, respectively, when the valve reaches or approaches a fully open position.

Thermostat line 612 includes a first signal wire 716, a second signal wire 718, and a third signal wire 720. First signal wire 716 of thermostat line 612 connects with first connectors 702a, 702b, 702c of first thermostat 618a, second thermostat 618b, and third thermostat 618c, respectively. First signal wire 716 of thermostat line 612 also connects with third connectors 712a, 712b, 712c of first zone valve 202a, second zone valve 202b, and third zone valve 202c, respectively. First signal wire 716 provides a power signal to thermostats 618a, 618b, 618c, and to switches 706a, 706b, 706c of zone valves 202a, 202b, 202c, respectively.

Second signal wire 718 of thermostat line 612 connects with second connectors 710a, 710b, 710c of first zone valve 202a, second zone valve 202b, and third zone valve 202c, respectively, to provide a common ground signal to zone valves 202a, 202b, 202c. Third signal wire 720 of thermostat line 612 connects with fourth connectors 714a, 714b, 714c of first zone valve 202a, second zone valve 202b, and third zone valve 202c, respectively. Third signal wire 720 provides an activation signal to controller 600 when a switch of the switches 706a, 706b, 706c of zone valves 202a, 202b, 202c closes.

Thermostats 618a, 618b, 618c are mounted in separate heat distribution zones to measure a temperature of the heat distribution zone and to compare the measured temperature with a desired temperature for the heat distribution zone. Based on the comparison, thermostats 618a, 618b, 618c determine if activation of radiant heating system 200 is desired for a respective heat distribution zone based on settings by the user of the system and the design of thermostats 618a, 618b, 618c as known to those skilled in the art both now and in the future. If activation of radiant heating system 200 is desired in one or more heat distribution zone, one or more of thermostats 618a, 618b, 618c send an activation signal on signal wires 705a, 705b, 705c, respectively, to zone valves 202a, 202b, 202c, respectively. When a switch of the switches 706a, 706b, 706c closes, the respective zone valve 202a, 202b, 202c sends an activation signal to controller 600 on third signal wire 720. Controller 600 receives the activation signal and triggers a relay 722 to send a first signal on circulator line 604 to circulator controller 614 to activate circulator 108 and to send a second signal on heat source line 606 to heat source controller 608 to activate heat source 102.

With reference to FIG. 8, a multi-zone circulation system 800 is shown in accordance with an exemplary embodiment. Multi-zone circulation system 800 may include a plurality of wiring bundles 802a, 802b, 802c that connect with zone valves 202a, 202b, 202c, respectively. Wiring bundles 802a, 802b, 802c, for example, connect with first signal wire 716, second signal wire 716, third signal wire 716, and include signal wires 705a, 705b, 705c, respectively. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 8, a first compression fitting 804 instead of supply valve 130 is used to couple first manifold 104 with first tube 128. In the exemplary embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, supply valve 130 is a hand valve assembly. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 8, a second compression fitting 806 instead of return valve 136 is used to couple second manifold 106 with second tube 134. In the exemplary embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, return valve 136 is a hand valve assembly. A plurality of compression fittings 808 are mounted to heat distribution ports 144 of second manifold 106 to couple with the tubes to each heat distribution zone. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 8, a drain/fill valve 810 mounts to drain/fill port 306 of second manifold 106.

With reference to FIG. 9, vent assembly 112 is shown in accordance with an exemplary embodiment. Vent assembly 112 may include a container 900, a vent cap assembly 901, a tee 910, a union 920, and a third vent tube 918. Container 900 may be formed in a variety of shapes and sizes and of a variety of materials as known to those skilled in the art. In an exemplary embodiment, container 900 may hold five gallons of heat transfer medium. Container 900 may include a body 902, a vent hole 904, and an outlet port 906. Vent hole 904 and outlet port 906 are formed in body 902. In an exemplary embodiment, vent hole 904 and outlet port 906 are formed near or on a top of body 902. A first cap 908 may fit over vent hole 904.

Vent cap assembly 901 may include a vent cap 907, a reducer bushing 916, and a container tube 922, and a cap vent 924. Container tube 922 mounts to reducer bushing 916. Reducer bushing 916 fits within a hole in vent cap 907. Cap vent 924 extends through reducer bushing 916 to allow gas to escape from vent assembly 112. Vent cap assembly mounts to container 900 covering outlet port 906 with container tube 922 extending within the interior of container 900. In an exemplary embodiment, container tube 922 may be approximately 15 inches in length with an outer diameter of approximately ½ inches, reducer bushing 916 may have ¾ inches pipe thread, and cap vent 924 may have a diameter of 1/16 inches and be located approximately ⅜ inches from a center line of vent cap 907.

Tee 910 may include a first connector 911, a second connector 913, a third connector 915, a first coupler 912, and a second coupler 914. First coupler 912 couples with first vent tube 158 and first connector 911 of tee 910. Second coupler 914 couples with third vent tube 918 and second connector 913 of tee 910. Third connector 915 of tee 910 connects with reducer bushing 916 opposite container 900. Third vent tube 918 extends through second coupler 914 of tee 910 and reducer bushing 916. Third vent tube 918 further extends within container tube 922 and external to container tube 922 within container 900. For example, third vent tube 918 extends from container tube 922 and curves at approximately 90 degrees relative to container tube 922. Container tube 922 has a greater cross section than third vent tube 918. At the termination of container tube 922 in container 900, a gas discharge area 926 is formed exterior to third vent tube 918 and interior to container tube 922. Gas is vented through gas discharge area 926 and through cap vent 924 to the external environment of vent assembly 112. Third vent tube 918 further couples with union 920. Second vent tube 160 couples to an opposed end of union 920.

First coupler 912 of tee 910 receives heat transfer medium from air bleed assembly 156 mounted to vent inlet port 154 of second manifold 106. The received heat transfer medium passes from first tee 910 through vent cap assembly 901 and into container 900. Air in the heat transfer medium can be discharged through vent hole 904 and/or cap vent 924. Vented heat transfer medium transported through third vent tube 918 and second vent tube 160 is returned to first manifold 104 through liquid suction inlet valve 164 and make-up port 162 of first manifold 104.

Heated/cooled heat transfer medium flows from heat source 102 to first manifold 104 through first tube 128. First manifold 104 also receives vented heat transfer medium from vent assembly 112 and from heat distribution system 110. As a result, the heat transfer medium mixes in first manifold 104. The heat transfer medium flows from first manifold 104 to circulator 108 through inlet pipe 142. Circulator 108 forces the heat transfer medium through outlet pipe 146 to second manifold 106. Second manifold 106 supplies heat transfer medium to heat source 102 through second tube 134. Second manifold 106 also supplies heat transfer medium to vent assembly 112 and to heat distribution system 110. As the heat transfer medium flows through heat distribution system 110, heat is transferred to the surrounding environment from the tubes and/or heat radiating panels 456 of heat distribution system 110. The exemplary embodiment of vent assembly 112 allows for the expansion and the contraction of the heat transfer medium, makes up for any loss of heat transfer medium due to the venting process, and limits any spillage of the heat transfer medium to the content of container 900.

The foregoing description of exemplary embodiments of the invention have been presented for purposes of illustration and of description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed, and modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teachings or may be acquired from practice of the invention. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to explain the principles of the invention and as practical applications of the invention to enable one skilled in the art to utilize the invention in various embodiments and with various modifications as suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the invention be defined by the claims appended hereto and their equivalents.