Carpet for Radiant Floor Heat
You can install carpet for radiant floor heat. You just have to pick the right materials and the best radiant heat source to make sure the entire room is heated effectively. Carpet is naturally an insulator which makes it more difficult for radiant heat. You need to use carpet sparingly with radiant heat because of this. You always have the option of putting a rug over a hard floor.
You don't have to rule carpeting out though. Make the right choice for carpet and pad underneath so radiant heat can still warm the floor and the room. You also should use a different zone for heating the carpeted rooms. What this means is the carpeted rooms controlled by a separate thermostat. It takes more energy to heat up this type of floor covering, so the carpeted rooms would be colder than the rooms with a hard surface.
Choose Dense Carpet Padding
The first step involves choosing the correct pad type for the floor. The key here is high density and a low R-Value. You don't want to insulate right above your radiant heat source, otherwise your radiant heat system will have to expend more energy to heat the room.
A great choice for a carpet pad would be 1/4 inch slab rubber foam. This is a thin and dense material with a very low R-Value. Combine these factors and the radiant heat will be able to travel through this material to the finish carpeting easily.
Choose Thin Carpet
I hate to break it to you, but if you love shag carpet, radiant floor heat might not be for you. Once again, the key to radiant heat under the floor is it's ability to warm the floor and the room. Shaggy or longer carpets have less density. There is too much fluff for the radiant heat to go through.
Use Zone Heating for Carpeted Rooms
In my current home, only the three bedrooms have carpeting. These rooms use a different thermostat and heating zone than the tile floored bathrooms and the rest of the living space. Carpeted areas need more energy to heat up. If the carpeted rooms were all on the same heating zone, they would be colder than the hard surfaced rooms.
Another benefit of having different heating zones is the fact that you can save money by just heating the areas where you are in. When we go to sleep, the bedroom zone is heated, and the rest of the house is turned down. Radiant heat is already more efficient if the whole house was on the same zone, but by only using energy to heat the areas in use, it increases the money you can save exponentially.
If you want a carpet for radiant floor heat, use the carpet sparingly. It doesn't radiate heat as well as a solid surface, and you can't choose those fuzzy, shaggy types of carpeting either.
There is also the option of using a different heating source, and then you can choose any carpet you desire. One efficient heat source that is gaining more popularity is pellet stove fires. Make sure you do some research, find what feels comfortable to you, and see if radiant heat is right for your carpeting choices.
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- Radiant Heat Boiler
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