What You Need To Know About Choosing Radiant Floor Heating Systems

Radiant Floor Heating System
by VeloBusDriver under CC BY-SA
Radiant Floor Heating System



Radiant floor heating systems are one of the newest trends for in home heating; no longer do you have to rely on forced air heating systems or even old wall heaters. Many people are opting for radiant infloor heating because of how efficiently these systems work. With radiant infloor heating the heat comes up from the floor of the room rather than from the walls or ceiling. Having the heat rise from the floor is more efficient because hot air naturally rises, so there is no need to use a blower to force the air through the room.


While having a more efficient heating system sounds great to everybody, infloor radiant heating systems are not for everybody. Before you choose a radiant heating system, you are going to need to understand a few things about them. Understanding the different systems and how they work is vital to choosing radiant infloor heating, not all systems are designed to work with all floor types. For example, some radiant systems work better with hardwood or tile rather than carpet. Choosing the wrong system for your house will decrease the efficiency of the system, making it not worth the investment.

Another factor that you will need to take into consideration is cost. Radiant floor heating cost will vary based on a few different factors. The biggest factor in determining cost is what type of system you will be installing, costs will go up if you elect to have it professionally installed as well. The other factor that determines how much the system is going to cost is how big your house is, obviously the bigger the house the more the system will cost because more materials will be used when building the system.

Looking at the different types of radiant heating systems available is the best way to gain an understanding of what one to choose. By looking at the different systems, you will get an idea of how they work, what type of environment they work best in, and how much they will cost.

Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating

Hydronic radiant floor heating is perhaps the most popular type of system, it also happens to be the oldest style of system around. In most of these systems, PEX tubing is laid into “Gypcrete,” which is a concrete mass. In other cases, the PEX tubing is installed into the grooves of wooden panels. In both cases, the PEX tubing is used to transport hot water from the boiler across the entire floor allowing the heat from the water to heat the floors.

Hydronic radiant floor heating can be used for just about any type of construction project, just make sure you choose the right style of system for the project. PEX tubing laid into “Gypcrete” is best used on new construction because it requires less work to install, not having to tear up the subfloors to lay the “Gypcrete.” PEX tubing installed into wood panels can be used for any home remodeling project because you can set the wood panels over the subfloor and still receive the same benefits as the PEX tubing in “Gypcrete.” Not to mention using the wood paneling system is a lot more cost effective than ripping out the subfloors to install new subfloors with the radiant heating system.

Electric Radiant Floor Heating

An electric radiant floor heating system does not use water traveling through PEX tubing to heat the floors. An electric radiant floor heating system uses electric wires embedded into a mat to transfer heat through the floors. One of the biggest differences between a hydronic system and an electric system is that the electric one is not used to heat an entire house; hydronic systems are much more efficient for that purpose. Electric radiant floor heating systems are best used for one or two rooms, such as a bathroom or even a family room.

With an electric system the floor covering will need to be removed in order to lay out the mats, and depending on the type of flooring used it might not need to be replaced. For example, if you are laying out an electric system in a family room that is carpeted, the carpet can be lifted up and reinstalled after the mats have been laid out. However, with tile or stone the flooring might become damaged in the removal process requiring it to be replaced.

Solar Radiant Floor Heating

Solar radiant floor heating systems use the idea of heating floors with wooden fires that the Greeks and Romans first used, but today’s systems use solar energy rather than fire to heat the fluid that is running through the pipes. Solar power can be used with solar radiant air floors and solar hydronic radiant floors.

How Much Does It Cost To Run A Radiant Floor System?

Just like the cost to have the system installed running a radiant infloor heating system is going to vary. How much it costs to run the system is really going to depend on the type of system you had installed and how big of an area you are heating. Hydronic radiant heating systems often cost more to run than the electric systems because you have an increase in both water and gas or electric depending on how the boiler is set up. Something else too that makes the hydronic system cost more to run is it is usually used to heat an entire house, whereas your electric system is usually only used in one or two rooms. If you opt for a solar radiant floor heating system part of the cost to run the system will go down due to using the sun for the energy to run the system.

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