There are many ways to heat your home, and while many Americans still have forced-air systems, more and more are turning toward radiant floor heating because of its benefits. If you are looking for a new heating system are considering radiant floor heating, keep reading.
What Is Radiant Floor Heating?
As the name suggests, radiant floor heating works much like a radiator, except all the tubes or coils are stored under the floor. Depending on the type of heating you choose, hydronic or electric, the technicians will lay down a series of tubes (for hydronic heating) or coils (for electric heating) all over the floor. The flooring then hides the tubes or coils.
When you turn on the heat to a hydronic system, heated water from a boiler travels through the tubes, heating the floor. Since heat naturally rises, it slowly fills your entire living space. Electric radiant floor heating works the same way, except it uses electricity instead of a boiler and heated water.
What Are the Benefits?
One of the main reasons homeowners love radiant floor heating is efficiency. Traditional radiators need to get up to 149 to 167 degrees Fahrenheit to fully heat a room, which requires a lot of energy. However, radiant floor heating only needs to get up to 84 degrees Fahrenheit to heat the same room. Forced-air systems blow air directly into the air, forcing it to rise faster. As a result, there is less heat in the lower portion of the room, where people reside.
The other major benefit is that it’s a low-maintenance option. Typically, once installed, you don’t need to worry about maintaining the system. In many cases, your radiant floor heating system may even come with a 30-year guarantee.
Do You Need Special Flooring?
Radiant floor heating can work with many types of floors, but it does better with porcelain, ceramic, or natural stone. It may also be good for engineered wood flooring, but it is a poor choice for natural wood. Natural wood is more likely to expand and contract if exposed to moisture from a hydronic system.
Naturally, radiant floor heating is terrible for rooms with carpet. Carpet is great at absorbing heat, which makes it nice to walk on when it’s cold in the house. However, this carpet will trap a lot of the heat from the radiant system, making it less efficient and effective.
Finally, there are some floors that should never have radiant floor heating. Rubber flooring, for example, may start to melt from the heat, giving off odors and fumes. Radiant heat is also a poor choice for any flooring that uses adhesives because it can dry out the adhesive.
How Much Does Radiant Floor Heating Cost?
Installing any heating or cooling system will cost you a pretty penny, but a good HVAC system is an investment in the home. On average, you can expect to pay $6 to $16 per square foot for a hydronic system and $5 to $7 per square foot for an electric system. While an electric system may be cheaper to install, it can cost more to run each month because of the cost of electricity.
If you choose a hydronic system, however, you can expect to save on heating bills. Similarly, hydronic radiant heating is more effective than electric radiant heat. Therefore, a hydronic system could serve as your main heat source, but an electric system may be better as a supplement for a cold bathroom or similar room.
Radiant floor heating is an effective and efficient way to heat your home. Hydronic systems are more expensive to install, but they are more effective and efficient. If you would like to know more about radiant floor heating systems, contact us at Steele Bros Heating, Inc. today.