Radiant floor heating is a concept that's steadily gaining popularity with the modern homeowner. Before you join this bandwagon however, it's good to get an understanding of what you'll be getting yourself into.
Below is a discussion on three aspects of radiant floor heating that you should find useful.
How Radiant Floor Heating Works
A radiant heating system is installed under your floor(s) and it works under the principle that hot air rises (convection). Depending on the type of system, electricity (electric) or hot water (hydronic) is run through a series of pipes laid underneath the floor so as to provide the warming effect.
Both electric and hydronic systems rely on a thermostat setting to determine the temperature to which the floor will be warmed. Hydronic heating systems use an independent water heater or a boiler to warm the water, which is later pumped to the pipework underneath your floor. These systems are often more affordable to purchase than their electric counterparts and their operation is also less costly.
Contrary to what many people believe, radiant heating systems are not only meant for floors that have ceramic tiles. However, they often exhibit improved efficiency when installed under ceramic-tiled floors. This is because ceramic tiles are better at absorbing and retaining heat than many other flooring materials. A radiant heating system will work fine even under a wooden floor.
Why Radiant Floor Heating Is Beneficial
For one, radiant heating systems are a better alternative for people who are highly sensitive to dust. Unlike traditional HVAC units, these systems don't circulate air around the room. This leaves little opportunity for dust to rise with the conditioned air. Therefore, allergic reactions will be less of a problem with a radiant heating system.
Secondly, radiant systems are considered more energy efficient. By warming up the floor and objects/people that are in contact with floor, less energy is lost. This is unlike traditional heating systems that warm up the air inside a room, creating a rife opportunity for the loss of energy. Thus, a radiant heating system will give you greater comfort and increased energy efficiency.
The Best Time To Install A Radiant Heating System
The cost of installing radiant systems is bound to be much higher if an existing floor has to be ripped up to allow for the installation of pipework.
The best time to install a radiant system would be during the construction phase of a house. Because you're probably past this stage already, the best time for you would be when you're doing renovations and your floor has already been ripped out (e.g. if you're replacing ceramic tiles with wooden flooring).