Radiant heating is often talked about as though it were a new concept, but it’s been around for quite a while. The ancient Romans had it in their floors, and it’s been a popular heating choice in Europe since the 1970s.
It won’t make your floor warm and toasty, but it can be one of the more efficient heating systems for a house. Studies show using radiant heating systems can cut energy use by 20 to 40 percent.
So what is radiant heat, exactly? Before you commit to installing it, learn more about this heating method so you can decide if it’s the right solution for your heating needs.
What is Radiant Heat?
Radiant heat is any system that heats surfaces in your home rather than the air. It can be in baseboards, walls, or ceiling, but most commonly it’s installed under the floor.
Radiant is more efficient than forced-air systems because those lose heat between the source and destination. Not to mention, you get better quality because air isn’t pushed around, spreading dust and pollen through your house. You can even reduce your dust mite population by 50 percent because they can’t stand the extra warmth.
Most systems involve installing electric coils or water-heated tubes under the surface of your flooring. The coils heat up, which warms the flooring, and the heat then radiates up into the room. It’s a source of constant and consistent heat.
Types of Systems
You have two main options when it comes to radiant heating systems – electronic and hydronic (hot water). They differ in how they generate the heat as well as installation.
Electric radiant heating uses a thin mesh roll full of metal coils placed beneath your flooring. It’s generally used to heat a single room or to supplement your existing heating system. Because it’s run with electricity, it’s not a cost-effective way to heat an entire house.
Hydronic uses a network of plastic tubing that hot water passes through. It’s usually installed in a new home because you would have to tear out all the flooring to put it in an existing structure.
Electric is less expensive to install, but hydronic is less expensive to run.
How It’s Installed
Radiant heating is easier and less expensive to install in new construction, but it can be retrofitted to an existing home with some work. A big difference in the cost and ease of installation comes from whether you are doing a wet or dry installation.
A wet installation involves embedding components like the tubing into wet concrete. This is much easier to do during a new build when the foundation is poured. Installing after construction involves pouring a new layer of concrete, which will raise the floor height and add weight to the floor.
A dry installation involves a less permanent install as the components are merely laid below or above the subfloor. They can also be sandwiched between two subfloor layers.
Get Warmer Today
Whether in a new home or a small renovation, radiant heating under your tile can be an efficient and effective heating method. It involves a big up-front investment but can pay off over time with lower heating costs.
Now that we’ve answered the question “what is radiant heat”, contact us if you’d like to talk about adding it to your home in Stillwater or the surrounding area. We can schedule an appointment to review your current heating systems and help you determine if radiant can help you reduce your energy bills.