Radiant heating systems are a fascinating bit of technology due in large part because of the science that goes into infrared rays that cause the emitted feeling of warmth.
Radiant heating systems are typically focused on (under) the floor of your home or office. As mentioned, these systems depend largely on radiant heat transfer, which is the delivery of heat directly from the hot surface to the people and objects in the room via infrared radiation.
Radiant heating has myriad advantages:
- It is more efficient than baseboard heating
- It is more efficient than forced-air heating
- It eliminates duct losses
- It’s easier on people with allergies
- It uses little electricity – especially the hydronic water based systems
- It’s a great solution for homes off the power grid or in areas with high electricity prices
There are three basic radiant floor types:
- Air-Heated Radiant Floors
- Electric Radiant Floors
- Hydronic Radiant Floors
Types of floor installations:
The general application of radiant floor installs consists of cables or tubing.
“Wet” installations embed the cables or tubing in a solid floor and are the oldest form of modern radiant floor systems. The tubing or cable can be embedded in a thick concrete foundation slab or in a thin layer of concrete, gypsum, or other material installed on top of a subfloor.
“Dry” installations are for floors in which the cables or tubing run in an air space beneath the floor. Some dry installations involve suspending the tubing or cables under the subfloor between the joists. Reflective insulation must also be installed under the tubes to direct the heat upward.
Once the cables or tubing are set, the next piece to consider is the covering. Ceramic tile is the most common and effective floor covering for radiant floor heating due to how well it conducts heat and adds to overall thermal storage. Other common floor coverings that people choose are vinyl and linoleum sheets, carpeting, and wood. We don’t necessarily recommend any of these because these types of coverings actually insulate the floor and decrease the efficiency of your system. Ceramic tile is definitely the way to go, and it’s also quite nice looking from an aesthetic standpoint.
In conclusion, radiant heating is a nice, quiet option that is entirely out of site and creates virtually no noise. Unlike forced air systems, which hum and swoosh, radiant heat systems are quiet as there is (obviously) no air echoing through vents or furnaces firing up. Radiant heat is easiest to install in new construction, but it’s also simple to add to old construction or remodels. You don’t have to worry about where to put ducts or registers – radiant heat doesn’t need them. Just set the temperature and feel it in your feet, on up through your entire body. It is, as we stated at the beginning a pretty marvelous technology.
If you’re a Massachusetts based resident or property owner, consider radiant heat, and, further, consider Suburban Companies. We’ve got everything you need to achieve maximum comfort at home and/or at the office!