Radiant Floor HeatingPosted on February 12th, 2010
The Romans used radiant floor heating in their bathhouses. For centuries, the Koreans heated their royal palaces and traditional homes in this manner. Today, radiant heating technology has been improved drastically and can be used in all or part of our homes.
Radiant floor heating is a method of heating your home by applying heat underneath or within the floor. Comparable to warming yourself in the sun, this type of heating warms objects as opposed to raising the temperature of the air.
Existing radiant heating are hydronic and electric.
Hydronic radiant floor heating is a system of plastic or metal tubes/pipes laid within a floor that carries hot water into specific rooms or “zzones”, dispersing the heat through the floor surface. Cooler water returns to the heat source where it is reheated and sent out again in what is known as a “closed-loop system”. The pipes can be encased in a concrete slab, a concrete or gypsum cement overpour, laid into thin grooved panels that nail on top of a subfloor, or suspended below a wooden subfloor using metal fins fastened under the floor surface. The heat output is determined by pipe spacing, water temperature, flow rate and floor covering.
Electric radiant floor heating uses heat-conducting plastic mats containing coils warmed by electricity. The coils are resistance wires, typically copper or nichrome, wrapped in a water resistant polymer. Nichrome is an alloy of nickel and chromium with high electrical resistance making it ideal for producing heat. These wires are zigzagged through a mat and then wired for electricity. Electric radiant heat works best with ceramic tile floors, however it can be used with most types of flooring.