A warm and comfortable home is what most families dream of having. Comfort is a priority of many homeowners during all types of weather, be it hot or cold. When winter season comes, getting the right warmth for the family is of utmost importance. And how do you achieve this? By using the radiant heat floor heating system.
The use of radiant heating goes back to the Roman period. Today, this is a popular source of heat for many homes. Home heating systems that use radiant heat come in different types - underfloor heating systems, wall heating systems, radiant ceiling or overhead panels and overhead gas fired radiant heaters. Among the four, the underfloor and wall heating systems are the most common.
Underfloor heating systems can either be electric or hydronic. In other words, they can produce heat through the use of electricity or hot water. This type of heating system normally involves the installation of tubes or electric heating elements underneath the floor area or the concrete slab. The floor, in this case, acts as a radiator of heat in the entire house.
There are two options when choosing the electric radiant floor heating type of system. For newly constructed homes, the electrical heating wiring can be installed before the concrete slab is poured. For homes with existing concrete floor, very thin electric heating mats are available that can be embedded in thin cement or gypsum overlays without the need to increase the floor height. Cost-wise, the electric radiant heating system can be expensive. It is only when thermal mass or the availability of time-of-use rates can this be considered cost effective.
The other type of radiant heat floor heating is the liquid based or hydronic system. This uses hot water the reason for its name. In this heating system, tubes are buried beneath the floor and it is here where hot water is circulated to provide heat to the home. A boiler is responsible for heating the water and this can be run by electricity or any other fuel. Energy sources that can be used with this type include the standard gas-fired boilers, wood-fired boilers, solar water heaters or a combination of these sources.
The benefits of using the radiant floor heating system are many. First off, it provides a consistent level of heat in the home that is easy to control. Secondly, no noise is emitted because of the absence of a fan. Thirdly, the system does not produce dust or allergens that can cause allergies to people occupying the house. This is because there's no air that circulates inside the home through the vents. What happens instead is convection or the natural circulation of heat as warm air rises from the floor.
The best part of this heating type is its energy efficiency. Compared to a forced air system, this system consumes less energy which translates to lower electricity bills for your family. If you live in areas near the power grid or where electricity rates are high, this could be a major advantage.