Hydronic Radiant Floor Heat - Cost Effective Solutions to Home Heating
Why choose hydronic radiant floor heat? One common complaint for some homeowners is the absence of truly efficient heating systems that can serve their needs. Actually the issue is not the absence of systems since there are a number of options out there, it is the balance between comfort, and efficiency that is hard to find. The number one choice for comfort, function, and efficient heating is using Hydronic Radiant Heat. As one of the radiant heating options for homes and offices, this form of heating will supply the heat to the floor, panels or even walls of the house in order to effectively warm the household members.
This is different from your other radiant heating solution since this is liquid-based. The system works by installing a special system of PEX radiant tubing in the foundation of your home. The heated water, or in some cases the food grade antifreeze will flow through the system of tubes and effectively warming the concrete or the foundation where the tubing has been installed. There are a number of variations for this system. In some systems, there will be temperature controls that are installed on different rooms and these regulate the flow of hot water in the loop. Controls come in the form of valves or thermostats.
Learn the Three Installation Options for Hydronic Radiant Floor Heat
The good news is that you can have this heating solution as well. Find out if your contractor is familiar with radiant floor heating and you are good to go. For example, confirm if the house can support the additional weight of the mesh of tubing and concrete, or opt for a system where the subflooring is routed out for PEX radiant tubing. The system can be installed in all parts of the home, and even can be used outside the home for snow melting purposes, or for heating pools. The PEX radiant tubing that runs outside will be the tubes that have to have antifreeze flowing through them to handle below freezing temperatures. There are three main installation options that you can choose from.
Slab-on-grade - This requires compressing the ground that will be heated and the laying of the polyethylene vapor barrier on top. Another layer is added in the form of insulation, and a wire mesh is attached on top. Sand may be used from time to time in order to dry the surface. Once the groundwork is done, the tubing can now be added. The formation of the tubing should be planned, and should be tied to the mesh the moment it’s laid. Tubing should cover all zones and should be connected. Once done, concrete should be poured, between 4 to 6 inches thick.
Thin slab - One way to do this is to attach the network of tubes to the subfloor, and covering this with light concrete mixture. The other option is to allow for a floor thickness of ½ inch.
Plate system - This is done by attaching the tubing to the underside of the floor, which also is the easiest way to retrofit radiant heat on a home. For a new home, you could also use a subfloor that has PEX radiant tubing channels already in the subfloor. For more information on a system like this, read the Warmboard Article There will be times when the installation will happen in a cold area. When this happens, the tubing should be installed as well to the insulated aluminum plates.
What to Love about Hydronic Radiant Floor Heat
Once installed in your property, you’ll be surprised at the changes you’ll experience. Here are some of the best benefits of this form of radiant heating:
- Heating is delivered to your home with less stress and noise and there is no uneven heat;
- Compared to forced heating systems, this type of radiant can help warm household members and objects rather than just heating the air;
- And based on numerous efficiency tests, this type of heating is 20-40 percent efficient compared to other commercial heating systems such as heated forced air from a furnace.
There are other benefits to this heating system that are not well-known. For example, did you know that this kind of heating arrangement will not stir up the allergens and dust? The reason for this is that air is not pushed and circulated around the room. You actually promote a healthier environment with this form of heating. And finally you’ll have options when it comes to heating equipment that will be used. You can choose from natural gas, propane water heater, electric boiler, wood boiler and even a solar collector! Choose whatever form of energy is the cheapest in your area for the most efficient prices. For instance on the East Coast of North America, oil is typically cheaper. In the Midwest, it is usually natural gas.
But all these benefits of having the Hydronic radiant floor heat will be for nothing if this system is not properly maintained. If you own one make sure that you are aware on how to use and manage this system. When maintaining the system keep in mind that bulk of your actions will focus on pumps and boilers. But you will be happy to note that the latest pumps used right now need minimal maintenance. Most of the pumps use water in order to lubricate the bearings that allow for the pump to extend its working lifespan. For the boilers, make sure that you get the ones with corresponding maintenance packages. The package should include cleaning and general check-up.
The glycol systems should be checked as well at least once a year. You need to make sure that the system pH levels should not fall beyond the accepted levels. By nature the glycol is acidic, and the inhibitors that are added to them will neutralize the glycol causing the levels to drop as time goes by. In order to manage to drop the pH levels, you need to make sure that inhibitors should be floor heating system. Also, the boilers and the water heaters should be checked and inspected as per recommendation of the manufacturer.
Are you better off with hydronic radiant floor heat?
Surely there are other options when it comes to home heating. But mind you, Hydronic radiant floor heat system is the most cost-effective options available right now. The biggest deterrent is the cost to install this system is more expensive that heated forced air. However, if you live in the home for five or more years, you will save money because of the systems efficiency. Also, conventional forced-air heating systems will deliver uneven heating. Not with this option; heat is placed on the floor and this warms you from down up and warms the whole living room. If you are planning to update home heating, or are looking for the best option out there, it’s much better to go the safest and most effective way- tap Hydronic radiant floor heat now.
- PEX Radiant Floor
- PEX Supply
- Radiant Water Heat
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