There’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting out of bed in the morning and placing your feet onto an ice cold floor in winter, is there? Or nothing quite like the unappealing sensation of that, anyway. You could wear slippers, but there is a method of keeping your home warm that does not push allergens around your home, involve clanky radiators, or stratify the air into hot and cold zones as with other methods: radiant floor heating. A heating method the Romans enjoyed so much they had slaves tend fires to channel hot air through flues under their villa floors. Thankfully today we can accomplish this without the absurd fire hazard and forced labor.
What is Radiant Floor Heating?
Instead of using forced air, baseboard heating, or radiators, radiant floor heating uses either electricity or hot water to heat the floor, which radiates heat upwards, right where the people are. In forced air systems the air can become stratified where once blown into a room, it will rest on top of the cool air down by the floor. Sometimes people can feel like their head is warm and their feet are cold in these systems. Radiant floor heating solves this by providing heat right where people tend to inhabit a home: namely on the ground.
How Does it Work?
There are two methods commonly in use today: electric and hydronic systems. Both have some advantages and disadvantages costs of installation and operation.
In homes that are already built, or homes that only wish one or two rooms to have heated floors, electrical systems offer an easy way accomplish this. Resistance wires are run in looping patters under the covering of your choice. Ceramic tile, stone, and laminated wood floors are the best option for this as carpeting will act as an insulator and stop the radiation of heat.
Hydronic systems use hot water supplied by a boiler to heat the floors. They are a great option to install when building a new home as the PEX hot water tubing can be laid directly into the wet concrete. They can even be retrofitted into existing homes, but the installation costs will go up depending on the complexity of doing so. However, they can be up to 30% more efficient than a forced-air system so something to keep in mind.
If you’d like your toes to be nice and warm during winter and want to discuss your options in radiant floor heating give us at Air Conditioning Engineers a call today!