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Heating Radiant Floor - How It Works




A History of Warmth

Believe it or not, radiant floors are one of the oldest forms of heating a structure — dating all the way back to Roman times. Radiant floor heat provides numerous benefits, including increased comfort, even temperatures, cleaner air, no cold drafts, no unsightly ductwork and no floor vents, all while being quieter and more energy-efficient compared to forced-air heat.

In a radiant floor heating system, warm water flows through tubes located underneath the floors. That warmth radiates up from the floors and warms everything it comes in contact with — including people.

And radiant is compatible under any type of floor covering — carpet, wood, slate, tile, linoleum, and even concrete — making design possibilities endless.

radiant floor

Ultimate Energy-efficient Comfort

The water in a radiant system has a capacity to transport energy 3,500 times greater than air, so it can heat (and even cool) using less energy than a forced-air system. This amounts to greater comfort at a lower thermostat setting, which provides lower energy bills. In fact, more people are comfortable with radiant floor heating at a lower thermostat setting than with forced-air heating at a higher thermostat setting.

Additionally, a radiant heating system works in zones, allowing different areas of a home to heat at different temperatures. This allows typically chilly rooms, such as bathrooms, basements and entryways, to receive more heat when needed.

At the same time, rooms with less traffic, such as a den or formal dining room, can be set to a lower thermostat setting, making the system even more energy-efficient.

Forced-air Heat vs. Radiant Heat

Forced Air Radiant Floor

Radiant keeps heat near the floor where people are located.

Key Benefits

  • Concentrates heat evenly near the floor where people are located
  • Eliminates cold drafts as well as noisy fans, furnaces and ductwork
  • Ideal for allergy sufferers because it doesn’t circulate dirt, dust or other airborne pollutants throughout a home
  • Concealed under the floor for a more aesthetically pleasing environment — eliminating the concern of blocking vents with furniture
  • Easily integrates with alternative energy sources, including geothermal, solar, waste and biomass
  • Can help a home earn LEED® points for reduced energy consumption
  • Potentially saves up to 40% in energy costs

Other Radiant Applications

Snow and Ice Melting:  The concept of radiant floor heating can also make driveways and walkways clean and dry during the winter, eliminating the need for salting, sanding or shoveling. Uponor snow and ice melt systems help lower maintenance costs, reduce dangerous accidents associated with slippery walkways, extend the life of concrete and asphalt, and eliminate disturbing noise from snow blowers as well as the problem of tracking salt and sand into your home.