Radiant Floor Heating System - Hydronic, Electronic and More

Gone are the days when you could only heat concrete with a radiant floor heating system. Radiant heat has so many more new and exciting options. You can use a hydronic system or an electric system now to generate radiant floor heat.

Also, these two types of power can use different energy sources as well. Electric radiant floor heating systems use obviously uses electricity.

Hydronic systems involve heating water, and there are multiple options on how to generate the power to heat up the water. Some of the different ways you can heat up the water include natural gas, oil, solar power, wind, and even geothermal energy.

Using an Electric Radiant Floor Heating System

Electric Radiant Heat System by ThermoFloor.

Using electricity as a heat source is usually more expensive than other options. Because of this, electric radiant floor systems are usually used for smaller areas. The most popular option for incorporating this type of system is for warm tile floors in a bathroom.

Some other situations that electric is used in include heating laminate flooring, and warming concrete. Some outdoor applications include heating concrete paths or driveways for melting snow and ice, wrapping cables around pipes to prevent freezing or breaking, and heating gutters and downspouts to prevent ice dams.

An electric system wires into the electricity already being used in the home. All you need is a dedicated electric circuit. A separate thermostat is used to control the heat for the radiant heat. You can create heating zones by using different thermostats within your home. For instance, if you only use the bedroom bathroom in the morning, this thermostat can be programmed to heat up only in the morning and shut down the rest of the day. An on demand heating system like this can save you a tremendous amount of money.

Using a Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System

PEX tubing entering an exiting the manifold

A hydronic system is usually used in much larger applications. Water is heated up and circulated through extremely durable PEX tubing. The tubes connect to a heat source. Warm water is heated up and enters the start of the tubing circuit. It then circulates through the floors. When the water has returned from going through the entire circuit, it will be colder. The heat source will reheat the water and then send it through the PEX tubing again.

The most common heating source is a boiler. These are relatively small machines that can be attached right to the side of a wall. The water enters the boiler, and is heated up to the desired temperature before it sends it out through the PEX tubing circuits.

Another option is to use a water heater. The water temperature for radiant heat doesn't have to be extremely warm. In some instances, the water temperature only has to be around 100 degrees.

Solar energy can also be used to heat up the water. In a direct solar radiant floor heat system, the solar panels heat up the water and it circulates through a concrete slab. After the water has made its run through the concrete, it returns to the solar panels to be reheated.

Other solar systems incorporate a water heating storage tank. This way, the energy that is generated can be used later instead of right away.

No matter what choice you make, there is no doubt that radiant floor heat is the most comfortable heating option out there. If you can find a way to incorporate it into your current home, or into your next location, you'll see how comforting it is. A radiant floor heating system puts your feet in direct contact with the heating source. It is a feeling that has to be experienced in order to understand how wonderful it really is.

More Home Efficiency Tips

Radiant heat is a very large project in most cases. It can make a drastic effect on the amount of energy you use. If you are saving money in order to do a project like this, there are other ways to increase your efficiency. Visit 1001 Home Efficiency Tips for great information on ways to save money and energy.

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