What is Radiant Floor Heating?
The concept of radiant floor heating has been in existence for many years. Radiant floor heating dates back to the Roman Empire. Romans had a hot air heating system called the hypocaust. This system entailed heating the air in a cavity beneath the floor, and the air would, in turn, warm the room above. The Romans used a furnace or fire to heat the air in the cavity. They generated heat by manually feeding the cavity with wood on a regular basis.
Types of radiant floor heating
Currently, there are two main types of radiant floor heating. They are Hydronic heating and electric heating:
Electric Radiant Floor Heating
An electric radiant floor heating uses electric resistance cables to emit heat. The heating system may feature several styles, but the most popular style comprises of cables embedded in thin mats. You can install the system beneath tiles, engineered wood, laminate floors, and stone floors. The heating mats are also ideal for retrofits. The mats connect to a thermostat controller enabling you to choose the appropriate temperature settings. You can manually set up the thermostat, and you can also set a timer. For instance, you can set a time to trigger warming in the morning so that you can wake up to a warm and welcoming floor. Some electric radiant floor heating systems may be safe for use inside showers as well.
When installing electric heating mats, you have to order the pieces from a manufacturer and then lace the pieces together, ensuring they fit in well. You cannot cut electric mats to make them fit around vanities and drains. At times, manufacturers may design heating mats to be stapled between floor joists. This design can enable you to add a radiant floor heating system from below without having to remove the flooring.
There is an alternative to mats, single wire installations. This system features a single continuous wire that wraps around metal clips attached to the subfloor. With this system, you can easily customize the heating system and heat any part of the floor, including drains and vanities. When fitting the system, you embed it in the mortar with a finish flooring material fitted over the mortar bed.
Hydronic Radiant System
This floor heating system is also known as a hot water radiant system. The system features hot water that flows through cross-linked polyethylene tubing. To hold the tubing in place, you can embed it in the mortar or thick plywood subfloor panels with pre-cut channels. For you to pump and circulate the hot water, the Hydronic floor heating systems connect to a hot water heater and a pump. The Hydronic system is also connected to a thermostat that helps to regulate the temperature. The Hydronic floor heating system is closed. This means that you cannot connect the heating system to the regular water heater system. Hydronic heating systems are ideal for renovations and remodeling because you can use the systems between floor joists. The systems are not suitable for self-installation; it is advisable to seek the help of a professional.
Whether you go for an electric or Hydronic system, radiant floor heating systems will help keep the room warm. The best thing is that radiant heating systems are energy-efficient, and they do not make any noise.