What Is An In-Floor Heating System?
A radiant floor heating system uses a heat source underneath the flooring to warm its surface as well as the air and objects above it. There are two types of in-floor heat: electric and hydronic.
Electric Floor Heating – Electric wiring is woven into a mat that’s installed under the flooring. It can be turned on and off but takes 30 minutes to an hour to heat up. The cost of electricity should be considered, as it can offset some of the energy savings of radiant floor heating.
Hydronic Floor Heating – Plastic tubing is installed below the flooring. Hot water from a boiler circulates through the tubing to maintain the temperature. Hyrdronic heat systems are low-maintenance, energy efficient and last for years.
In-floor heating systems are commonly installed under tile, concrete and some wood flooring. Carpet is also an option, although it can create so much insulation that the heat doesn’t really come through, especially if there’s thick padding under it.
How Does Radiant Floor Heating Work?
Radiant floor heating works similar to a radiator. Electric wiring or hot-water-filled plastic tubing snakes back and forth beneath the flooring, keeping it at a comfortable temperature. Waves of thermal radiation rise up from the floor to warm objects on and above it, similar to the way a sidewalk puts off heat on a hot, sunny day. A heated floor generally reaches about 85 degrees – enough to feel warm but not uncomfortable. Because the entire floor is heated, the room feels warm all over and the cooler air stays up near the ceiling.
In comparison, traditional forced-air heating systems, whether supplied by a furnace, boiler or heat pump, blow warm or hot air out of vents and into rooms. The hot air rises toward the ceiling and cooler air is forced down toward the floor. This causes floors to feel cold even when the rest of the room is at a comfortable temperature. And, because the heat runs until the desired temperature is reached and then shuts off, you may actually feel cooler at the set temperature because the hot air isn’t blowing into the room.
Benefits of In-Flooring Heat
- Even heating with no hot spots
- No uncomfortable, cold floors
- Feel more comfortable at a lower temperature
- Heat different zones or rooms separately
- Saves on energy bills
- As much as 30% more efficient than forced-air heat
- No dust and allergens blowing in the air
If you’re building a new home, contact us today for a free, customized estimate for a radiant floor heating system.