Grant Mechanical, Inc. Blog

Determining the Best Radiant Floor Heating Method for Your Home

Heated floors used to be something that only the wealthy could afford to have installed in their homes since ancient times. And it was a dangerous practice involving lighting fires underneath the floors! Due to new methods of providing that heat and improved technologies for them their initial and operating costs (And fire hazard levels) have come down considerably. But what is it and which method of providing that radiant floor heating is best for you?

Radiant Floor Heating Methods

There are two ways in which floors are heated in modern times:

  • Water or a water/propylene glycol solution
  • Electric resistance

Each method will provide heat in the home right where you want it: namely near the ground where people tend to live in a home instead of on the ceiling as in forced air systems. And one of the two methods is best suited for different applications depending on a few factors:

  • New home construction or retrofitting an existing home
  • Available home infrastructure to power the systems
  • Budget
  • Number of rooms to be heated vs whole house heating

Electric Resistance Floor Heating

For the home without a boiler in place or the home that only needs a few rooms, such as the kitchen, bathroom and/or a bedroom heated, electric resistance heating is the most cost effective and least complicated installation option.

This method employs wires that is looped back and forth underneath the floor covering, or underneath the wooden subfloor. The wires heat up and radiate their heat to the floor which then heats up and radiates the heat upwards into the room.

Hydronic Floor Heating

If your home is under construction and will be using a boiler, you may want to consider what’s known as a ‘wet’ installation in which the tubing for the heating system is laid directly into the concrete foundation of the home. (Although either method can be installed this way, it is often more efficient to run in a hydronic system.)

The hot water or water and propylene glycol mixture for these systems can be heated in a number of ways. Using the boiler of the home is often the simplest and most efficient method however, negating the need to install a separate heating system.

Once the water is heated a pump will circulate he mixture through the tubing at around 120*F, heating the floor covering to a nice and toasty 80*F. These systems can be more costly up front but their higher efficiencies will make up for that over the life of the home.

If you are interested in radiant floor heating and would like to discuss your options, give us a call at Grant Mechanical Inc. today!

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