Most people know what radiant heating is but may not have heard the term “hydronic heating” before. Simply put, radiant hydronic heating is a system that pumps heated water (hence the word, hydronic) through pipes under the floor.
Why Heated Floors?
Homeowners looking for a quiet, energy-efficient heating system for the comfort and health of their family will find that hydronic radiant heat fulfills their needs.
It’s not just about the luxury of having warm floors. A hydronic heating system will help lower your energy costs, reduce your impact on the environment and improve your home’s resale value.
How Do Hydronic Heating Systems Work?
If you’re looking to add floor heating systems for a new home or as part of a home improvement project, hydronic radiant heating may be the right choice for you. Hydronic radiant floor heating systems use a boiler to heat up water which is then pumped through plastic pipes installed within a concrete slab under your floor.
Separate radiant heat zones are independently controlled, allowing the temperature in each area of your home to be controlled by a separate thermostat.
What Are The Benefits?
Hydronic radiant floor heating has many benefits to offer, including:
- Hydronic radiant heating is the most cost-effective way to heat living spaces
- Allergens and dust are not spread as with a forced-air furnace
- Stays warm for a long time in the event of power outage
- Heat is delivered very evenly
- Temperatures in zones (rooms) easily controlled
- Very low maintenance costs
- It’s very quiet
A hydronic system warms people and objects rather than just air in a room. Depending on your location and application, you can expect a radiant heating system to be 20 to 45% more energy efficient than other heating systems.
An Interesting Conversion
Floor Coverings and Hydronic Heating
Radiant heat systems are compatible with any floor covering. While exposed surfaces such as ceramic tile or finished concrete are the most effective flooring as a conductor of heat, hardwood is also effective, as is carpet, vinyl, laminates etc.
When having radiant floor heating installed, remember to tell the installer what kind of floor covering will be used so he can make the necessary alterations as installation techniques vary depending on the type of flooring used.
Studies on Radiant Heat and Carpeting
A recently study by the Carpet and Rug Institute, dealing solely with hydronic heating, found that the total R-Value of carpet used to cover a radiantly heated floor should not exceed 4.0, including the carpet underlay.
A study by the Georgia Institute of Technology found that R values were related more to the actual thickness of the carpet than to the type of fiber the carpet was made of. A general estimate for the R-value of carpeting was determined to be 2.6 times the total thickness (in inches) of the carpet.
It is also recommended that you consult with the carpet manufacturer to see if the backing is suitable for long periods of low heat.
Call us if you have any other questions regarding this subject.
By: Andrew Lake