In-floor heating uses a process called infrared radiation to heat a room and may use a few different types of technology to deliver heat to the occupants of a room. Sometimes referred to as radiant floor heating, this heating offers some distinct advantages over traditional heating methods (such as heaters that line the baseboards of the home) with the primary benefit of lower energy use due to high efficiency.
Benefits of In-Floor Heating
One of the primary reasons why radiant heating uses less energy is because there is much less heat lost versus heating systems that blow hot air into a room. Lower heating bills in the winter are a tremendous benefit for anyone suffering from high electricity prices. A homeowner may expect to spend very little on energy with radiant heat.
Some systems are so efficient that in an average sized room, they only use around the same amount of electricity required for about a half-dozen incandescent light bulbs. In addition, radiant floor warming options are often a better option for allergy sufferers since the heated air isn’t blown around the room, such as what is usually the case with heat that comes from a vent.
Types of Radiant Heating
There is more than one type of design for radiant heating. One design uses electricity to heat up mats that are placed below the surface of the floor. Electric radiant floors will usually have a bottom layer of concrete, a top layer of tile, with the plastic heating pads sandwiched between these layers. This type of floor heating is useful in desert conditions where the days are warm, and the nights are very cold since the home may be heated up during the day for hours of heat that lasts most of the night.
Another type of in-floor heating is hydronic radiant heating, which uses liquid (water) that has been heated up in a boiler. The hot water is pumped through tubes in the floor to heat the space. This type of radiant heating is usually the most cost-effective option for sustained use in cold climates. A final type of in-floor heating uses heated air pumped underneath the floors to warm the space; however, this method isn’t as popular today.
Methods of Installation
There are two primary designs for in-floor heating used in today’s installations. One method requires the insertion of the heating tubes into a slab of concrete. This method is commonly called wet installation. The other common method is referred to as dry installation, and instead of the tubes being submerged in a slab of concrete, they aren’t submerged and are simply installed in a small space below the floor.
Reducing Heat Loss and Saving Energy
Smart homeowners can reduce heating bills in the winter by installing radiant heat, but there are also some common-sense techniques that help reduce energy consumption. Some of the biggest sources of heat loss in the winter are windows and doors. Old doors are drafty, and aged windows allow a lot of heat to escape. Installing weather stripping is a great way to stop heat loss.
Radiant heating can certainly reduce the amount of electricity a home uses in the winter, and when paired with smart energy-saving techniques a family will enjoy exceptional energy savings.