Sunday, February 5, 2017

Radiant Floor Heat

Radiant Floor Heat

Are Your Feet Cold?

Are your feet cold always cold? Mine are! How amazing would it be to walk around your house during the winter in socks or barefooted and have your floors be warm?  Let's talk about that.

What is radiant heat? 

Radiant Heat: Radiant heating systems supply heat directly to the floor or to panels in the wall or ceiling of a house. The systems depend largely on radiant heat transfer -- the delivery of heat directly from the hot surface to the people and objects in the room via infrared radiation. Radiant heating is the effect you feel when you can feel the warmth of a hot stovetop element from across the room. When radiant heating is located in the floor, it is often called radiant floor heating or simply floor heating. Electric in-floor heating systems generate an even heat throughout your home and will not disturb dust, reducing the chance of possible allergic reactions. What's more, radiant heated floors reduce noise levels and the amount of dry air in your home. There are other benefits to floor heating as well, including financial perks, as they are inexpensive to install and typically don't add more than a quarter to electric bills.

Cost for Radiant heat:
Electric radiant floor heating costs about $5 to $7 per square foot for the materials or $8 to $12 or more per square foot with professional installation.  $6 to $16 a square foot for a professionally installed hydronic radiant floor heating system


There are three types of radiant floor heat:
1. Radiant air floors (air is the heat-carrying medium)
2. Electric radiant floors
3. Hot water (hydronic) radiant floors. 


Air cannot hold large amounts of heat, so radiant air floors are not cost-effective in residential applications, and are seldom installed. Although they can be combined with solar air heating systems, those systems suffer from the obvious drawback of only producing heat in the daytime, when heating loads are generally lower. The inefficiency of trying to heat a home with a conventional furnace by pumping air through the floors at night outweighs the benefits of using solar heat during the day. Although some early solar air heating systems used rocks as a heat-storage medium, this approach is not recommended (see solar air heating systems).
Electric radiant floors typically consist of electric cables built into the floor. Systems that feature mats of electrically conductive plastic mounted on the subfloor below a floor covering such as tile are also available.
Because of the relatively high cost of electricity, electric radiant floors are usually only cost-effective if they include a significant thermal mass such as a thick concrete floor and your electric utility company offers time-of-use rates. Time-of-use rates allow you to "charge" the concrete floor with heat during off-peak hours (approximately 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.). If the floor's thermal mass is large enough, the heat stored in it will keep the house comfortable for eight to ten hours without any further electrical input, particularly when daytime temperatures are significantly warmer than nighttime temperatures. This saves a considerable number of energy dollars compared to heating at peak electric rates during the day.
Electric radiant floors may also make sense for home additions if it would be impractical to extend the heating system into the new space. However, homeowners should examine other options, such as mini-split heat pumps, which operate more efficiently and have the added advantage of providing cooling.
Hydronic (liquid) systems are the most popular and cost-effective radiant heating systems for heating-dominated climates. Hydronic radiant floor systems pump heated water from a boiler through tubing laid in a pattern under the floor. In some systems, controlling the flow of hot water through each tubing loop by using zoning valves or pumps and thermostats regulates room temperatures. The cost of installing a hydronic radiant floor varies by location and depends on the size of the home, the type of installation, the floor covering, remoteness of the site, and the cost of labor.

Now you can decide if radiant heat is the right thing for your house.  Keep your feet warm in the winter.