Retrofit Award Winner

Greg Jannone is a relative. That's one way to explain why we have written so much about him over the years. This four-time System Showcase award winner (this time in the retrofit category) has been featured almost annually in the pages of RHR since it was first printed in 1996, including the cover story in 1997.

Except he's not related. The real reason we keep writing about Jannone is because he consistently performs award-winning work. Jannone, of William Jannone and Sons in Bound Brook, N.J., submitted the Mastroiani Residence - a 35-year-old, 1,578 sq. ft. structure - this time around.

This 35-year-old, 1,578 sq. ft. structure in Bound Brook, N.J., proved to be a difficult job since the basement's concrete was never leveled or floated.

"This particular homeowner had just purchased his second home in an existing residential neighborhood where he had wanted to stay. He wasn't happy with the heating system," says Jannone. "The system was too expensive, and he was tired of waking up with a sore throat and an unevenly heated home. He also wanted to make headroom in the basement. To say the least, it was an old bear."

The structure had a forced air system installed in it with ductwork running along the ceiling, says Jannone. His client wanted to create a finished basement area. Jannone tells us his client has extensive experience through his dad's radiant heating system. (PM wrote about the father's system in RHR 1997 - "The Little House That Could.")

Jannone decided the ranch home made a perfect fit to install a hydronic radiant system where the existing furnace and ductwork were located. But that's where the perfect fit ended. "This was a tough retrofit application since most of the house was over very tight crawl spaces with concrete that was dumped, but never leveled or floated," Jannone explains. "It was impossible to use a creeper. My back got all scratched up."

Breaking It Down

Even though the crawl space nearly busted Jannone's back in half, he managed to install a seven zone radiant system. The floor areas that were either tile or wood had a staple-up application with 1/2-inch PEX tube.

Additionally, double grooved heat emission plates were stapled to the underside of the subfloor. Jannone estimates about half the house is heated with the staple-up application.

The foyer area, constructed of concrete, was chiseled out to accept the tubing. A mudset with tile was placed over the foyer.

Jannone stressed to his client the importance of putting heat in the foyer - it's a nice, warm area where he can take his shoes off when he comes in.

One foyer area used a Kahr's pre-finished floating wood floor covering. "We didn't have to worry about nails hitting the tubing," says Jannone. "It's a floor that won't shrink; it's a much better product than other things out there." Carpeted areas of the house forced Jannone to install radiant panel baseboard because the water temperatures were too high to continue with the staple-up application.

The mechanical room consists of one Burnham Series 2 boiler with vent damper and electronic ignition. It was a natural draft into the chimney, says Jannone. The complete system was piped in primary/secondary arrangements, and has room for expansion.

"Extra piping was run for future manifolds and plumbing for additions on the house at a later date," Jannone adds. "He's looking at putting a master suite where he'll put in radiant heat. I oversized the boiler so we accommodate the additions at a later time."

All zones are controlled through the manifold activated telestats. Primary loop temperature was reset, but maintained a minimum supply to protect the boiler, says Jannone. Second reset controls variable speed reverse injection mixing systems were used for radiant staple-up areas. Domestic hot water is provided through a Burnham Alliance indirect-fired hot water maker with 41-gallon capacity. The unit has priority over space heating.

One Hand Washes The Other

Jannone may end up getting more business out of this project. The development where the Mastroianis reside is unique - it was built for executives of a local company. However, the executives are long gone and the common family has moved in. "It's a really tight, close-knit community," says Jannone, pointing out common areas like a swimming pool. "It's not like a condo establishment. These folks have several different community events throughout the year.

"I'm sure there will be others who will want the same comfort in their house once they visit the Mastroianis," Jannone adds. Might that mean we'll be writing about cousin Greg again next year?