Radiant floor heating is becoming very popular when building a new home or renovating an existing home and is arguably the ideal home heating system. It’s comfortable, efficient, unobtrusive, quiet, and does not blow dust and allergens around the way forced hot air systems do. The benefit of radiant floor heating is a more even overall heat that warms everything in the room including surfaces, furnishings and, most importantly, you. Radiant heat is similar to the heat you feel when you stand by a window on a sunny cold day. Your face feels warm, but the sun didn’t need to heat the air outside to make you feel that way.
Types of Radiant Floor Heating Systems
Radiant floors are heated with either electric resistance cables or hot water flowing inside tubing.
Electric systems are typically supplemental, not meant to be the sole heat source for a room. The cables, which are often pre-attached to mats for ease of installation, are installed over the subfloor in a bed of thin-set mortar. Ceramic or stone tile are popular finished floor choices. There are also radiant electric floor heating pads that can be installed under laminate and other floating floors, such as engineered hardwood.
Hydronic systems are usually designed to heat an entire house. Water is heated to between 100 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit by a boiler and circulated through tubing under floors. The tubing can be installed in several ways: embedded in a concrete slab, installed over an existing slab in cement, stapled under subflooring, or fitted inside the channels of specially designed subfloor panels. Any kind of finished flooring, including hardwood strip flooring, vinyl or carpeting, can be installed above it.
Radiant heating is more comfortable than other systems for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it feels warmer because the heat is delivered where you live – near the floor. Since all surfaces in the room are also being heated, there are no cold objects to draw heat from you and make you feel cold. There are no supply and return registers or convection-reliant radiators, and there is less air leakage around doors and windows. Finally, the air inside the home tends to be cleaner because dust and allergens are less likely to be stirred up by air currents.
Because electric heat is expensive, electric radiant floors are typically limited to small areas, such as a bath or kitchen. The better option is hydronic radiant floor systems since they save energy and lower fuel bills because radiant heat feels comfortable at lower air temperatures enabling you to lower the thermostat. Further savings can be realized because running a high-efficiency boiler at lower temperatures will increase its lifespan. In addition, hydronic radiant heat is more efficient than other systems because it uses relatively low water temperatures to heat your home. In effect, the entire floor is a radiator, so it doesn’t have to be as hot as conventional radiators. Boilers can heat water to lower temperatures more efficiently than they can heat water to higher temperatures.
If you would like any more information about radiant floor heating, please contact Gavin Construction Company.