Although there are a few different forms of radiant heat we will focus on radiant floor heating using a concrete slab. (this will allow you to add decorative concrete elements to your floor) See the bottom of the page for related links.
It seems that radiant floor heating is taking on a whole new life lately. With the advent of better more efficient delivery systems radiant floor heating is becoming the choice for today’s modern builders and architects.
What exactly is Radiant floor heating?
Radiant floor heating is a way of heating a home or business whereas the heating elements are in or just under the floor and radiate heat upwards. This makes perfect sense as we all know that heat rises. And therefore the efficiency is most ideal when delivering heat from the ground up.
Radiant floor heating comes in the form of electric or hydronic(water). In the case of electric, a wire or element is imbedded into the floor and when current passes through it, the heat is radiated up through the floor. Electric radiant heat is usually reserved for small rooms or renovations where the Hydronic heat elements cannot be installed easily or cost effectively.
Hydronic Radiant Heating is the most common and cost effective among new construction for both commercial and residential clients. Special hot water tubing is laid out on the floor or surface to be heated. It is then covered with a layer of concrete. Usually 2-4 inches thick.
A large water heater or hydronic boiler is used to heat the water and pass the heated water through the tubing. As the water passes through the tubing is radiates heat thereby heating the concrete and in turn the air around it.
Most people who have experienced radiant floor heat will tell you that nothing quite compares to the comfort of a warm floor against your feet. Radiant floor heating eliminates cold drafts and noise from air ducts, while providing a clean consistent heat.
Although radiant floor heating may cost slightly more initially than forced air systems, the long term health benefits and cost savings are worth the money. Forced air furnaces usually have a life expectancy of 10-25 years whereas a hydronic boiler system is designed to last 30-45 years and the tubing even longer at 90-100 years!
The initial cost savings of a few thousand dollars are easily offset. This is if the comfort factor hasn’t already convinced you!
Here are some other benefits to using radiant floor heating.
Radiant floor heating efficiency will save you money over the long haul.
Allergens, dander and dust won’t be blown around or circulated throughout your home
Radiant floor heating is hands down the most comfortable way of heating a home or business.
Last but not least, Radiant floor heating along with a concrete slab allows for the addition of a decorative concrete floor.