There is a method of providing heat for a home that will not push allergens around the house, nor result in stratified layers of warm and cool air in the home – radiant floor heating. Those two issues are the main complaints in forced air systems. If you’ve ever noticed that your feet are cold and your head is warm when you’re in your home in winter, you’ve gotten a feel for the stratified air effect. So how do you heat a home without blowing dust around and getting cold feet?
Radiant Floor Heating Systems
Heated floors are not a new concept. Wealthy Romans used to have slaves tend to fires that would direct hot air underneath the marble and tile floors. And even as far back as 5,000 BCE in Manchuria and Korea, fire was used to heat stone or ceramic floors with hot air via flue. These days we can accomplish this without the ridiculous fire hazard or forced labor.
While hot air can still be used for heating floors, there are two main methods of modern floor heating: electric and hydronic systems. Each method is best suited to specific applications and scenarios in order to be cost effective and efficient. Although either method can be used for whole-house or room-specific heating. They can be installed in a variety of ways depending on budget, heating needs and whether being installed as the home is built or post-construction.
Electric Floor Heating
Using electricity in a radiant floor heating application is accomplished through electrical resistance wiring that can be cast into poured concrete (“wet system”), installed underneath the floor covering (“dry system) or even installed directly to the wood subfloor.
If you just want to heat a specific room, and not install a system across the entire house, electric systems are a good choice for this. The installation complexity is low and the cost of installation for one or two rooms is usually much less than a hydronic system.
Their main disadvantage is that their operation can be much less efficient than in a hydronic system.
Hydronic Floor Heating
As with electric floor heating, hydronic systems can be either “wet” or “dry” installations. Hot water or a mixture of propylene glycol and water is pumped through tubing either in the concrete slab of the home or underneath the floor covering. These systems are most often more efficient than electric ones and can utilize the boiler in a home to provide the heated water.
If you would like to discuss your options in radiant floor heating, give us at AB & B Heating and Air Conditioning a call today!