Radiant floor heating is the newest technology being used in modern houses. This underfloor heating is an energy-efficient, luxurious and impressive feature becoming a popular trend.
The thought of a heated floor makes us want to get radiant flooring in our house. So if you are constructing a new house or renovating your existing house, you can easily avail this opportunity to install radiant floor heating. So what exactly is radiant floor heating.
What is radiant floor heating?
A radiant heating system provides heat indoors with the help of infrared radiation. This is done through hot water pipes or electrical resistance wires installed either in walls, floor, or ceiling. The hot surface of these directly provides the heat indoors. Unlike other conventional heating systems, radiant heating systems do not provide heat directly from a flame or hot air. Radiant heating is slightly different from the heat you get from a furnace or heater.
So in radiant floor heating, you will get heat directly from the floor. How the heating system will work depends on the type of radiant floor heating installed, but the basics of this is that the heating source installed under the floor will radiate heat through the floor and indoors to your room. This type of heating ensures that every nook and cranny gets the heat, and thus even heating of room can be achieved efficiently.
What are the types of radiant floor heating?
There are three types of radiant floor heating systems. Continue reading to find all about them in detail.
1. Electric Radiant Floor Heating
As the name suggests, this type of heating system uses electric wires installed under the floor. When electricity is passed through these wires, they heat up. This heat is transferred and radiated through the floor surface and into the room to create a cozy atmosphere. The temperature you desire can be changed using a thermostat. Some more advanced thermostats will allow the scheduling of the temperature throughout the day, so you can keep the heating system running at different temperatures at different times in the day.
This will ensure efficient energy usage and thus lower your utility bidder energy costs. This heating system is available in the form of square tiles arranged together. You can also find waterproof electric heating systems in the market for your washrooms.
2. Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating
The hydronic heating system uses hot water pipes installed under the floor. These hot water pipes are connected with a boiler and a pump that pumps the hot water from the boiler into the pipes to ensure hot water continues to circulate the heating system.
This heating system works independently of your hot water system that supplies hot water for your household requirements. So there is no mixing between the water used in hydronic radiant heating and that used in other house areas. These hot water pipes are made of various materials including PEX and EPDM. The material determines the radiation properties and the water temperature, so you need to consult an expert to decide the best system according to your needs.
3. Air Radiant Floor heating
Air floor heating is the least common among the other floor heating systems. This heating system uses hot air tubes installed under the floor. A furnace is used to heat the air, and then circulated through the hot-air pipes. This system works similarly to the duct heating system. Solar energy can also be used for this purpose, but the heating system will work only during the day.
A major drawback for an air heating system is that air is not as efficient in holding heat as other mediums, so it will quickly lose its temperature. This requires constant burning of the furnace that will increase your energy usage, making this system inefficient.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of radiant floor heating?
Like other things, a radiant floor heating system also has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at these in detail.
1) The benefits of radiant floor heating
More efficient and cheaper
Radiant floor heating systems are more efficient and thus much cheaper as compared to conventional heating systems like the heat pump, radiator, or furnace. Usually, the water needs to be heated to 150 degrees in a radiator, but in the radiant heating system, only 85 degrees is enough to heat the room and keep it heated.
Unlike conventional heating, you get uniform heating with radiant floor heating throughout your room. With conventional methods, only an area of the room is heated properly, leaving cold areas. The hot air rises, and the cool air sink back to the floor, thus causing a cold sensation. But this problem is mitigated with a radiant floor heating system because the heat is radiated from the floor, making the hot air rise and spread evenly throughout the room. So it gets rid of cold areas.
Since there are no exposed electrical outlets or hot water pipes that may cause leakage or sharp or hot surfaces that may cause damage, a radiant floor heating system is safer than other systems. In addition to this, your air quality will not be affected due to dust or dirt like in a duct heating system.
Hidden and silent heating
With a radiant floor heating system, everything is installed underneath the flooring, so there are no vents, radiators, or heating systems installed on the walls. Thus making this system pleasing to the eyes and ears as well.
Negligible maintenance of the heating system is required.
Maintains humidity levels
Unlike heaters or furnaces that dehumidify the room, radiant floor heating does not affect the humidity levels but maintains healthy humidity levels.
2) The drawbacks of radiant floor heating
Difficult and costly installation
A radiant floor heating system cannot be installed without removing the existing flooring and laying a new flooring after the installation of a radiant floor heating system. This makes it more difficult to install the heating system. And thus, it is time-consuming and more costly than other heating systems.
Necessitates a separate cooling system
And since radiant floor heating systems only provide heating and not cooling, there will be a need for a separate cooling system for the summers.
A radiant floor heating system is one of the most energy-efficient heating methods. Even if the initial setup costs are high, this system’s efficiency and ease will make it worth it. So if you are constructing a new house or renovating your house, you can think about a radiant floor heating system. It will offer ease and comfort and save energy and thus reduce energy costs.