Cost-Effective Radiant Floor Heating Keeps You Warmer Radiant floor heating systems supply heat directly to the floor of abuilding. The heat emanates from the floor, warming the air in theroom. Think of the way the sun warms a sidewalk: You can feel theheat rising off the concrete. This is radiant heating.
Cost-Effective Radiant Floor HeatingKeeps You Warmer Radiant heat systems are especially useful in homes with high ceilings and large rooms, since the heat from traditional forced-air systems rises and leaves the lower portion of the room chilly. Radiant heat, by contrast, rises from the floor and warms any solid object it comes into contact with, from furniture to people. There are three types of radiant heating systems for floors: Hydronic, electric and air.
Air-Heated Radiant Systems Air-heated radiant floor systems pump hot air throughducts beneath the floor, warming the floor as it passes.Since air doesnt hold much heat, air-heated radiant floorsystems are not generally used in residential buildings.
Electric Radiant Systems Electric radiant floor systems use electric heating cablesor conductive plastic mats built into the floor. They are bestused with floors that have a large thermal mass, such asconcrete, due to the potential high cost of the electricityrequired to heat floors with smaller thermal masses.However, for those who live in an area where time-of-userates are offered by the electric company, electric systemsare fairly cost-effective. The user can "charge" the floorduring off-peak hours and turn the system off during thepeak hours.
Hydronic Radiant Systems Hydronic radiant systemspump boiler-heated waterthrough tubes lying just belowthe surface of the floor. Themost cost-effective of the threetypes of systems, hydronicradiant floor heaters can beinstalled in zones andcontrolled by a thermostat,allowing the homeowner tocontrol the heat room by room.
Installation of Radiant Floor Heating The two types of installation for radiant floor systemsare wet installation and dry installation. Wet installationinvolves embedding the cables, mats or tubing into a thickconcrete slab or a thin concrete subfloor. For dryinstallation, the cables, mats or tubing are installed in thepocket of air under the floor. While dry installation is lessexpensive than wet installation, the system needs to be runat a higher temperature in order to effectively heat the airsurrounding the conduit.
Floor Coverings Virtually any type of floor can be installed over a radiantfloor heating system. Ceramic tile is the best option foroptimal heat due to its excellent heat conductingcapabilities. Carpet is the least desirable covering becauseit insulates the floor from the room and requires moreenergy to heat. Thin carpets are more effective with thiskind of system than thick ones; the padding should be asdense as possible. Wood floors conduct the heat fairly well,but laminate wood flooring is preferable over solid wood,which can dry out from the heat and shrink or crack.
Benefits of Radiant Floor Heat -Radiant floors are ideal for those with allergies or asthma.Since theres no air blowing allergens from the ducts into theroom, the air quality is better with radiant heating.-Energy costs are lower with radiant heat. Because the heat isconcentrated in the lower half of the room, you can set thethermostat up to 4 degrees lower, saving 10 to 30 percent onyour heating bill.-Radiant floor heaters keep you warmer. The cold spots foundwith forced-air furnaces are virtually nonexistent with radiantheating.