Wondering if Radiant Heating Is Right for Your Home? Here Are the Basics
Given the right conditions, a radiant floor heating system is the ideal way to keep comfortable during chilly Wilmington winters. If you’ve been considering radiant heating as a solution for cold weather, learning the basics can help you decide which type, if any, is right for you.
How Radiant Floor Heating Works
Underfloor radiant systems come in two main types — electric and hydronic. Electric systems heat up with electric wires, which are the simplest and most affordable to install. However, given the relatively high price of electricity, they’re not the most cost-effective to operate. For this reason, electric systems are best used in small areas that don’t require a large amount of heat, such as bathrooms.
Hydronic systems feature tubes filled with hot water. Installation is relatively complex, so they cost more to install than electric systems. They also require a boiler or water heater installation to heat the water for the tubes. On the other hand, they’re more energy efficient assuming the boiler is fueled by natural gas.
The Benefits and Drawbacks
Comfort is the main reason many homeowners choose radiant heat. With forced air systems, such as furnaces, warmth quickly rises toward the ceiling where it does you little good. Radiant floor systems provide heat from below, slowly warming people and furniture, allowing most of the warmth to stay down. Radiant systems work well with a variety of flooring, but not with all. Stone and ceramic tiles are ideal.
Carpet can be used, although it can reduce the floor’s ability to radiate heat. However, hardwood, laminate and vinyl flooring can’t stand up to the temperatures of these systems. A final, but critical consideration is that radiant floors are most easily installed during a house’s construction. Installing radiant flooring in a finished building requires either tearing out the whole floor or accessing the floor from beneath via the basement or crawlspace.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues – especially HVAC and plumbing issues – so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
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