If you’ve ever experienced radiant floor heating, you know that it is very comfortable and a very pleasant way to distribute heat. Not only is it pleasant, but it has other advantages too:
- Radiant floor heat systems don’t create air movement, therefore there are fewer dust and allergen particles in the air as opposed to hot air systems.
- Traditional baseboard, and hot water radiators heat the perimeter of the room. And of course, heat rises and warms the layer of air near the ceiling. So, there is a tendency to crank up the thermostat to make it more comfortable. With radiant floor heat, the entire room warms up evenly, including the furniture. So, when you are sitting in a chair, you, and everything around you, is warm. As a result of these factors, radiant heat may be more efficient and cost-effective because you can be comfortable at a lower temperature.
- You can walk on warm radiant floors with bare feet in the middle of the winter and be very comfortable. With radiant heat, your feet don’t get cold!
- Radiant heat doesn’t turn on and off like classical hot water radiators or hot air systems. So, radiant heat is more consistent.
So, how does it work? Warm water radiant heating systems consist of a series of water pipes installed as part of the flooring system. When the thermostat calls for heat, it turns on a pump which sends warm water (between 100 and 120°F) through the pipes and warms the floor. The entire floor becomes a radiator. This installation works very nicely for large rooms or an entire house.
There are also electric radiant floors. These are typically used in small areas like bathrooms. They cost more to operate than hot water systems but work well for small areas.
Radiant floor heat can be installed as a retrofit in existing homes or as part of new construction. Of course, the initial installation of radiant heat is more expensive than other forms of heat, however, over time, radiant heating systems may save money because of their higher efficiency and the ability to be comfortable at a lower thermostat setting.
If you ever have a choice between heating systems, I recommend you seriously consider installing radiant heat.
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