Talking About Crawlspace Repairs

4 Things To Know About Radiant Heating

by Clinton Stone

Radiant heat sounds like an optimal heating solution – no more cold floors and relief from the drying air from forced air furnaces. While radiant heat is a good solution for many homes, there are some things you should know before you take the plunge. The following list can help you become more familiar with this form of heating.

#1: There Are Choices In Radiant Heating Methods

Radiant heat flooring doesn't refer to a single product. There are two common methods used to produce the heat in these floors. Hydronic radiant floors use heated water as the heat source. You will need to have a boiler installed to heat the water. Then, water pipes are installed in the subfloor. The heated water flows through these pipes, providing the heat. Hydronic systems are most commonly installed in new homes, since access to the subfloor is necessary for installation. You can install them in existing construction, either via the crawlspace or basement.

Electric radiant heating is simpler to install. The electric flooring wires are laid on top of the subfloor, and then the flooring pads and flooring are installed over the top.

#2: Know the Costs

Generally, hydronic systems are more expensive to install, since you need a boiler along with the work of installing the water pipes. Electric systems are relatively inexpensive, since only the wires are necessary. However, hydronic systems usually cost less to run, since the water holds the heat for long periods of time. This results in lower electric usage. The boiler may also be powered by wood or gas, which is often less expensive than electricity. Electric floors pull directly from the grid, so you will have higher electric costs. If on-going cost is an issue, electric radiant floors are only a good option in small areas, such as a bathroom.

#3: Radiant Heats More Efficiently

If you are used to being cold in winter, you may be surprised at radiant heating's warmth. In a forced air system, heat blows out of the vents near the floor and then quickly rises to the ceiling. This means you are warm when the system is on, but you may quickly chill when it switches off. Radiant flooring provides a constant source of heat radiating upward, so you will find that the temperature of a room remains more consistent. This means you may not need to set the heat as high to achieve the same quality of warmth.

#4: Floor Heating Require the Right Flooring

Not all flooring options work well with radiant floors. Carpet absorbs much of the heat, so very little actually radiates into the room. Some wood floors can warm with exposure to heat, although some hardwoods are relatively unaffected. Engineered wood floors are a better option if you want real wood without warping. Tile, stone, and laminate flooring are also good options, since they conduct heat well without damage. Linoleum and vinyl flooring must be avoided though, since the glues used to bind them can handle the constant heat exposure.

For more information, contact Custom Comfort or a similar company.