How Fitting is Radiant In-Floor Heat for your Home?
Radiant floor heating systems have become popular in the last couple of decades largely through the major improvements in efficiency they have over the traditional free standing radiators.
In a wood frame house, the tubing is done within the floor system attached on the underside of the floor sheathing through every room. The system can be made to include aluminum heat transfer plates to allow for more even heat transfer or tighter spacing of the tubes especially in areas where additional heat is required.
In another design, the tubing can be placed above the floor sheathing and covered by lightweight concrete or gypsum concrete. This provides for a more even surface to distribute heat. This is however a costly and difficult to install option. It is also difficult to access the system as in the first method with it requiring the floor finish to be removed and the gyp-crete in the area scrapped off.
Another installation plan is by having the installation done in a cast in place concrete. This requires the installation to have been part of the project from the beginning. This option calls for proper insulation below the slab and a provision of thermal breaks at the edges to ensure efficiency.
In floor heating easily works with other additional systems at home like electrical systems and other wiring. Radiant tubes need continuity for effective working and it is important to match this with the structural requirements. Additionally, the tube runs are also grouped and sorted in zones. These are either floors or collection of rooms. Each zone in turn begins and ends at a manifold placed at the base of a specified wall.
The in floor heating system also calls for additional requirements which are not part of the system; in this case the provision supplementary systems that allow for the circulation of fresh air throughout the house. This is because the heating system eliminates ducting within the home. You can supplement this by having passive air inlets or getting windows with built in venting.
For proper functioning, the following three things should be observed
- The hot water heater or boiler should be of high quality
- The radiant system should come with a control zones feature
- The thermostat should be located in temperature stable areas in the house
ADVANTAGES OF IN FLOOR RADIANT HEATING SYSTEMS
- The heating is done is a gradual and consistent way with no sudden spikes and lows
- It is comfortable on bare feet
- It eliminates ducting and the drop soffits and lowered ceilings that accompany it
- It is flexible and works easily with other wiring applications around the home like data cables and electrical wiring
- It eliminates the draft that is usually present in ducted and forced air systems
- It is costs savings with little maintenance and lower energy bills
THE SYSTEM DOES COME WITH SETBACKS TOO. THE MAIN ONES ARE:
- It does not react quickly thus not suitable where an immediate temperature response is required to the weather conditions outside
- The manifolds take up a bit of wall space and will need covering to be inconspicuous.
- Cooling is not possible with this system requiring supplementary systems
- Caution has to be exercised to protect radiant tubing from damage through things like nails, staples and other fasteners which can create leaks in them