Posted in Blog  
  on Nov 24, 2013

How Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Systems Work

How Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Systems Work

The What, When, Why And How Of Radiant Heating

Radiant heating has a lot of pros and cons but first we will start with what is radiant heating. Radiant heating is Tubes filled with water that is heated and are installed under the floors of your home's floors, walls or ceilings. The tubes radiate heat and warm all surfaces of your home. It works the same way as the heat you feel when are by a window on a sunny day. The heat you feel off the window is the same kind of heat that could heat your house.

Benefits of Radiant Heating

There are some pros about radiant heating. First pro is it opens up more options of furniture placement. You do not have to worry about covering a vent or being too close to a heater or fireplace. Heat is also administered evenly throughout the room instead of blowing it from certain areas is another pro. A very big pro is the heat does not stop just because the electricity or gas stops. During severe storms when there are power outages your home will still be nice and cozy. It is also a luxuries and discreet way of heating and that can be a big pro. It increases better air quality in your home without constant air being blown whipping up all the indoor dust and germs which is a huge pro in my book. It is also a silent way to heat.

Drawbacks of Radiant Heating

Now for the cons, radiant heat is not as efficient if your flooring is carpeted. It also requires new unit which can cost a lot more money than the unit you currently used. In addition, because it is not well known few contractors know how to deal with such a system.

Cooling with Radiant Heat

There is also a radiant cooling option but it is more of a challenge then heat. It is not necessarily cost effective. It also is usually used in areas such as Europe because the humidity does not reach the levels it does in North America.

Heat Distribution

The methods of heat distribution vary. Floor Electric is Heating pads can be installed under floating floor such as laminate and tile and works just like an electric blanket does basically. This works better in small spaces like bathrooms or mud porches where a warm floor is a must to some. Floor hydronic which is typically chose to heat an entire house. It is installed in slabs of cement, in channels in sub flooring, or stapled under sub flooring. It uses a high efficiency hot water heater. Wall and ceiling panels are made out of aluminum which is heated by electricity or water works well when under floors is not an option. Radiators are another method of heating. It is a metal container that filled with water that comes from a pump.

What About Boilers?

Boilers are most commonly used in houses today. With advances in technology today they are safer to use then they used to be. The best efficiency you will achieve with a boiler must have an electric igniter for the pilot light, combustion methods to distribute heat more evenly and a sealed combustion to reduce draft and increase safety.

A heat pump removes the warmth from the air and places it in circuits or tank. Ground source pumps produce less harmful gasses in to the air and are seven times more efficient then a boiler.

Conventional tank heaters store so much water, depending on tank size, at a certain temperature. Boilers make much hotter water then floor pad heaters. It also has lower installation cost.

Tankless heaters are when water pumped into heaters is instantly warmed. It cost much less than other options.

You can use an outdoor reset or a variable speed pump. Outdoor reset you are constantly changing settings depending outside weather. Variable speed pump is five times more efficient and goes either up or down depending on the demand it has.


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