Radiant Floor Heating
How to Select
How to shop for radiant floor heating
Radiant floor heating is a method of keeping a room or an apartment warm by installation of heat source coils under the floor. The system includes heating elements that are installed in several coils under tiles, stone, laminate or carpet floors and thermostats that allow the user to set the desired room temperature that is reached fast. These advanced heating systems provide an incomparable comfort by ensuring equal warmth everywhere; they are environmentally friendly, quiet and easy to maintain. Therefore this heating method is becoming very popular for kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, hall and other household applications.
There are several types of underfloor heating that differ by voltage, length, coverage and number of loops per manifold. The basic radiant floor systems that are used for residential applications are electric and hydronic floors; in addition there are radiant air floors that are used in commercial buildings.
Electric floor heating is the most popular type of radiant heating systems. These floors are maintenance free, reliable, efficient and thin; thus, they will not raise the floor level. They are simple, easy and, therefore, cheaper to install; they use fewer components than hydronic systems. These elements work best when installed over a concrete floor base and under stone, tile and marble flooring materials. These floorings absorb the heat and radiate it slowly, therefore providing energy efficient process. At the same time, electric systems are expensive to run as electricity is quite expensive. Therefore, they are perfect for heating of small cold floor areas that don’t have a boiler or water heater installed, such as bathroom, kitchens or hallways.
Hydronic floor heating systems involve hot water that is circulating in the under floor tubing. These systems are a little complicated and expensive to install as they need to be set firmly in cement are require a boiler or a heater to operate. The water for the systems of this kind can be heated by different devices such as water heaters, wood stoves, heat pumps, solar collectors, gas heater and on-demand water heaters; they consume much less electricity than electrical devices. This is why this heating equipment can be used for large floor areas or the entire house and can be used with wood, linoleum or vinyl floor coverings.
Air heated floors that circulate hot air through duct systems placed under the floor don’t store heat; therefore they are not efficient, expensive and are not recommended for residential use. In addition, they require complicated installation and maintenance that should be regularly performed.
Regardless of what type, size or voltage of radiant floor heating you decide to purchase, it will be cost effective, allowing you to save big on heating bills.