Installation FAQ: Radiant Floor Heating Systems
Radiant floor heating systems are designed for easy installation. The whole set up is done with the do-it-yourself enthusiasts in mind. Having said that, it requires great handyman skills and there are areas you will require a skilled technician. Otherwise it is a project you can easily manage if you have a passion for setting things up on your own. Here is an overview of what you need to know regarding the whole process:
Do I need special skills to install the system?
As already mentioned above, this is a great DIY project, however you need to have great skills in handling tools, measurements and of course your safety. There are no specialty tools here just the basic home tools. If you are not good with electrical connections you are better off leaving that part of the job to a certified electrician because the work can be extensive.
Working with another person is recommended because while the mechanical tasks like plumbing can be handled by one person, laying down the tubing, uncoiling it and securing it in place is best handled by two people. It also helps to have a second opinion when working.
Can I call for design assistance or any help in case I get stuck?
There is much assistance you get from the manufacturers of the systems. Firstly, there is the simple design part of it, next you get a complete installation package that comes with preassembled manifolds, the mounting hardware you will need as well as the schematics both for the electrical and plumbing connection. Should you still require further assistance you can always call the supplier to walk you through the process. If working with a reputable company you should be able to get toll free assistance on technical issues arising on the site. Further this technical assistance is available to the purchaser throughout the use of the heating system.
What is PEX (Polyethylene) tubing?
A major part of the installation is the securing of the tubing in place. PEX tubing which means cross linked polyethylene tubing is a specially designed kind of plastic tubing which has properties for radiant heating. This form of tubing is in use worldwide adding up to several billions of feet a testament to the high quality offered.
Can the tubing leak?
One of the advantages of PEX tubing is the long lifetime as it is expected to be in use for over 100 years. When properly installed you do not have fears of leaks which helps reduce the need for regular maintenance of the system. For over 30 years it has been in use undergoing numerous tests. PEX tubing is also certified, rated and approved by most building codes for potable domestic water use.
When placing the heat diffusion plates keep them about 8-12 feet apart. For areas requiring more heat you can have them much closer or continuous especially in bathrooms and carpeted areas.
Should all loops be equal in length?
For looping it is important to ensure the loops are of near equal length since uneven lengths results to uneven pressure resistance and the shorter loops will be getting the water first creating uneven heating.
How much tubing goes into one zone?
For the tubing in a zone, the length of a loop should not be more than 300 feet, since too much heat is lost over that length. You can use multiple loops combining them in a zone by a manifold.
This way you achieve efficiency and install a well functioning system.