Radiant Floor Heating: Why It’s Worth It

Systems for in floor heat, that you don’t even know exist are the greatest. In the middle of the night, you won’t hear the squeaking of radiators. There aren’t any whooshing vents as on a takeoff plane. You won’t have to pay for allergy treatments because there are no ducts spouting dust. Just the appropriate amount of heat, where and when you need it.

Radiant heating uses hot water tubes or electrical wires buried in the floor to provide heat. Thermal radiation rises from the bottom and warms whatever items it hits, which then radiates that heat back up into the atmosphere. Because you aren’t losing heat to the surfaces around you, even if the air temperature is pretty constant, you remain comfortable.

Compare that to a traditional forced-air heating system, which is what you’ll find in the majority of American houses. As it climbs to the ceiling and swiftly dissipates the room’s heat, the air blowing out of the registers has a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the warm air still rises, but it does so uniformly throughout the whole floor, keeping the coldest air on the roof.

Radiant heat has its origins in ancient Rome when slave-tended wood-burning flames were routed beneath raised marble floors to warm chambers and keep toes and togas toasty.

Frank Lloyd Wright installed copper pipes in the concrete flooring of his Usonian homes and heated them with hot water many decades later in this nation. The pipes deteriorated over time, and instead of jackhammering their flooring, most homeowners chose to forgo their radiant heating system.

As a result, radiant heating systems have become more inexpensive than ever before thanks to the use of plastic PEX tubing instead of metal. Furthermore, they’ve established a track record of success in Europe that dates back more than three decades. Hydronic radiant heating components are made by a variety of different companies, so there is no one source for everything you need. To set together a heating system, you’ll need a reputable contractor. When it comes to electric radiant, turnkey solutions are easy to locate. Electric radiant heat is an alternative to hydronic heating systems, which may be expensive and difficult to maintain. The floor’s warmth is provided via a small electric wire that is buried beneath the finish. Forget about 1/2-inch-thick tubing to adjust the floor height; there’s no boiler, no water, nothing.