How Does a Radiant Floor Heating System Work
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How Does a Radiant Floor Heating System Work

  • Categories: Heating
  • Date: October 26, 2022
How Does a Radiant Floor Heating System Work

You wake up on a frigid winter morning and slowly make your way into the bathroom. If you are still half asleep, you’ll get a rude awakening when you step onto that cold bathroom floor. One solution to that issue is to install a radiant floor heating system on your bathroom floor. While radiant heat could be installed anywhere, the bathroom is a particularly popular space. Keep reading to learn more about radiant floor heating systems and their many benefits.

Types of Radiant Heating Systems and How They Work

How does radiant floor heating work? It depends on the radiant heating system you choose for your home. There are three types of radiant floor heat systems. However, we will not discuss air-heated systems because these units are very inefficient. That leaves electric radiant heating systems and hydronic (hot water) heating systems.

Electric Radiant Floors

Electric radiant floor heating systems consist of electric coils built into the floor that produce heat as electricity passes through them. These systems require minimal maintenance and can last a long time, but operating costs can be high due to the cost of electricity. Because of the cost, these systems are mostly used for small spaces such as bathrooms or home additions if you do not want to extend the existing heating system into the new space.

Hydronic Heating Systems

Hydronic radiant floor heating systems use a boiler to pump hot water through a network of pipes. Since they are cheaper to operate and more energy efficient than electric systems, hydronic systems are the most popular choice. But you do run the risk of burst or leaking pipes. 

Tips to Keep in Mind

No matter which type of underfloor heating system you install, keep this in mind when considering flooring:

  • Tile is probably the best choice because it both conducts and stores heat. Especially if you are contemplating just putting a radiant heat system in a bathroom, kitchen or laundry room, consider tile flooring.
  • Carpeting is not as good at conducting heat, but it does store heat better than hardwood or laminate. If you use carpeting, consider a thin carpet with dense padding.
  • Hardwood flooring is possible but keeps the thermostat below 81 degrees to avoid warping the floor. And keep the relative humidity in your home above 30% to prevent splitting and other types of moisture damage.

Installing Radiant Floor Heating Systems

There are two types of floor installations:

  • Wet installations embed the cables in a concrete slab or thick layer of another material such as gypsum installed on top of a subfloor. Concrete slabs are ideal for storing heat, but response time is slow, making adjusting the temperature harder. We would recommend maintaining a constant temperature with these systems.
  • Dry installations run the cable or tubing through empty air space beneath the floor. These installations are faster and less expensive. But heating an air space means these systems need to operate at higher temperatures.

The Benefits of Installing Radiant Floor Systems

There are numerous reasons to install radiant floor heating, including:

  1. Obviously, it keeps your feet warm.
  2. You can regulate the temperature with a separate programmable thermostat that can be accessed via Wi-Fi.
  3. With that separate thermostat, you don’t need to turn your main thermostat up to keep the floor warm. This can save up to 15% on your heating bills.
  4. There is little or no maintenance.
  5. Radiant floor heating can last up to 30 years.
  6. It can be installed under any type of hard floor, including laminate, tile, wood, and stone. It can also be installed under carpeting, but, as mentioned, it’s best with thin carpeting with dense padding.
  7. It is easy for a contractor to install.
  8. If you heat your home with radiators, you will not need one in a room with radiant floor heating, freeing up space and removing the risk of people burning or cutting themselves.

Contact Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric for Radiant Floor Heating Systems

Ravinia Plumbing can help you select and then install a radiant floor heating system in your home. We’ve been in business since 1928, and we’ve made a name for ourselves as one of the most trusted and reliable plumbing, sewer, heating and air conditioning, and electrical companies in Chicagoland. Contact Ravinia Plumbing today to schedule an appointment.

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