What is Radiant Floor Heating?
Radiant floor heating is an ancient but elegant concept. Years ago the Greeks and Romans realized that heat rises and put the theory to work for them. They heated the floors of their baths with wood fires. Now, 2000 years later, the principle still applies: the best way of warming a room is to heat the floor rather than to try to make heat travel sideways from a fireplace, radiator, baseboard heater or air register.
Radiant floor heating is simple. It works by using the floor as a giant radiator. Plastic tubes are laid out on the wood sub- floor and then embedded in a light weight concrete, or in the case of concrete slab-on-grade construction, the tubes are embedded in the concrete. Warm water supplied from a boiler circulates through the network of tubes gently warming the floor. The warm floor then radiates to all objects in the room.
Unsurpassed in Comfort
Comfort is the aspect that homeowners with radiant floor heating systems continue to remark on. Most heating systems only raise the temperature of the air (convective temperature) near the radiator and rely on air circulation to heat the room and the objects in it. Radiant floor heating deals with the temperature of objects in a room (mean radiant temperature) and radiates heat directly to them. These two kinds of temperature have a surprising relationship: For every degree you raise the mean radiant temperature, air temperature can be lowered two or three degrees and the room will remain just as comfortable. To appreciate how effective radiant floor heating is, think of the way the sun warms you on a cool, windless day. Conventional heating systems depend on circulating warm air; radiant floor heating (like the sun) radiates heat directly. Radiant floors emit much more heat by radiation than by convection. The result is even heat with little or no temperature difference between the floor and ceiling. There are no drafts that tend to cool rooms and aggravate allergies… just a pleasantly warm floor silently radiating heat. Because radiant floors heat homes from below, the air temperature is always highest at the floor level and decreases steadily towards the ceiling. And as everyone knows, we all feel more comfortable and alert with cooled heads and warm feet, than with hot heads and cool feet. Yet the floor also radiates heat all over so there are no hot and cold areas, just a consistently comfortable indoor climate all over the room and all over the house.
A system that doesn’t limit interior designs.
With radiant floor heating, the thermostat is the only visible sign of your heating system. The distribution piping is hidden away below the floor while your house is being built. There are no baseboard units along the wall, no warm-air registers and no cold-air returns. There’s nothing in the system that interferes with the placement of furnishings.
One of the great virtues of radiant floor heating is its independence from its energy source. Any source will do: boilers fired by fuel, firewood, electricity or gas, solar and/or Heat Pump. Should energy economics change in the future, the source of hot water can also easily be changed. We suggest opting clean technologies so Solar & Heat Pump are the best alternatives.
Use free solar energy!
Because radiant floor heating operates at such low water temperatures, it works especially well with active solar collectors. Typically the solar collectors can provide up to 50-60% of the energy required to heat the home.
Because radiant floor heating operates at such low temperatures, you can use almost any floor covering: wood, carpet, tile, marble, granite or vinyl. With carpet, the response time and efficiency of the floor will be slightly reduced, but the radiant floor will deliver the heat required to maintain a high degree of comfort.
For more information or a free estimate on radiant floor heating, call, write or visit our office. We welcome your inquiries.