Tuesday, January 7, 2020

FAQs about Radiant Heating System

FAQs about Radiant Heating System


Is radiant floor heating cost effective? 


DHL Mechanical 
115 Midglen Pl SE, Calgary, AB T2X 1H6
 (403) 863-8246

Yes, the radiant floor heating is cost effective if you look at the other alternatives for heating. Radiant floor heating system runs twenty to forty percent more efficiently than traditional heating systems. It may cost according to the usage, electricity rate, and other factors. The regions where the weather is extreme and the demand is high the electricity charges tend to high.

Also, the cost may vary for the features you choose for your house.

Can radiant floor heating heat an entire house?

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Yes, radiant floor heating can heat an entire house effectively. Considering the weather in your region, the structure of your home, insulation, and covering you desire to have will determine whether radiant floor heating system can be the primary source of heating in your entire house. As we already know that radiant floor heating firstly fills up the whole space with warmth before moving up from the floor, you have to consider the things mentioned above to see whether it will be a useful heating source for the entire house.

The colder region you live in, there are more chances that you have an airtight house, and that will add up to other variables to help you achieve an entire house heating.
Is Radiant Heat expensive to run?


It depends on the system you are using and the electricity cost in your area. However, if you compare it with the traditional heating system, you will find a radiant heating system as less costly to run. Hydronic heating systems tend to be cost-effective in the long run in contrast to the electrical radiant heating system. A hydronic heating system can work on a lower thermostat setting, which makes it a plus point for energy efficiency.

What is a radiant heat system?

The radiant heat system is a heating system which is designed to provide warm feel and comfort in the house through infrared radiation during winters. This system works through a complex structure of pipes or coils installed either under the floor, walls, or ceiling. Radiant heat system heats the objects and bodies in the room through infrared radiation to make the environment cozy and comfortable throughout the colder season of the year.

The whole set up is fixed between the visible floor and the subfloor where the PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) tubing structure or electrical wires are laid. PEX tubes/wires are the safest and most reliable wires that can be used for radiant heat system. This setup heats the floor, and the warmth then spread to the whole area and then move upwards. The radiation when striking to any object like furniture, it makes them warm, and this warmth remains constant since every object placed on the floor is heated so there will be no surface that can draw heat from your body and make you feel cold.

Types of radiant heat systems

There are different types of radiant heat systems electric, air heated and hydronic floor heating system. These systems serve the same purpose but need a different medium to work. Electric and hydronic floor heating systems are most commonly used in residential areas.

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Electric floor heating system

This floor heating system is not suitable for the whole house, but it can be used as a supplemental heating source in areas such as kitchen and bathrooms. In this system, coils of charged cables are set beneath the visible floor, which generates heat and makes the house cozy. Hard floors like tiles and concrete are suitable for such a system as generated heat does not diffuse faster in hard and more conductive materials.

Hydronic floor heating system


This the most commonly used heating system as it is 30% more efficient than any other alternative for the heating system. In this system, set of pipes or corrosion resistant polyethylene tubes are used under the floor for water to circulate freely. These tubes are connected to the boiler, and new systems have zoning valves to control water flow throughout the house, so the water is supplied where it is required. It allows the reduction or shutting off of the heat in the areas which are not mostly in use.

This system comes with two options, either a wet system or dry system. A wet system is more cost effective and efficient as they can operate effortlessly on lower temperature settings. In contrast to this dry hydronic systems works on relatively higher temperature settings.

Which is better-forced air or radiant heat?

The air-forced heating system uses air as a medium of spreading heat in the area. The heat is carried through the air from heating source and travel upwards to the ceiling. Air-forced systems are not suitable for residential areas as they not very cost effective and also does not provide constant heat like radiant heating systems offer.

Radiant heat is more effective and comfortable as compared to the forced air. Radiant heat is known to be thirty percent more efficient and perform its function quietly. It also removes the allergy-related problem, which is mainly caused by heating ducts. The dust and mold are most likely to spread with a forced air system, and that is the primary reason for allergies also. However, the case is different with radiant heat; there is no air which spread dirt and other allergens in the environment.

Moreover, Forced air can result in uneven heat in the area, whereas the radiant heat system provides even and consistent heat, which makes it more comfortable. Also, the heat is only spread where it is required i.e., from floor to the bodies and objects and not to the unnecessary areas which means less power is needed for the system to fulfill the purpose of heating. This property makes it more efficient than the forced air, where the system has to work more to fill the entire space with hot air.

Also, in case if you have a house with higher ceilings and more windows, the forced air heating will be the reason for the higher cost of monthly bills. The hot air moves upward to the roof from the heating source, and it is most likely to get colder when it reaches the higher limit and needs to work more to reach the required level of temperature in the environment. Similarly, if you have more windows, it means the heat loss is more, which makes it less efficient in that situation. Radiant heating systems provide heat where it is required, which is down where the human interaction is with things.
If you are wondering about the installation costs, then forced air heating system requires separate heating ducts installation which will cost you more than the radiant heating system. This means the radiant heating system is also better in terms of installation cost and the required material.

Overall, radiant heat is better than forced heat and is highly recommended by the professionals.
Is the electric radiant floor heat system safe for the wet and damp areas in the home?

Electricity and water can be a dangerous combination. However, there is nothing to worry about when we talk about electric radiant floor heat system. If you are thinking that using electric radiant heating in wet areas of your home such as bathrooms can be dangerous, that’s not the case. There are zero chances of electric shocks.

This is mainly because electric radiant heat system wires have gone through a very hard manufacturing time. The heating cables meet the highest safety standards.

A Warmup heating cable comes with four different layers. The two internal wires in the innermost layer are twin conductors that cancel out the magnetic field and reduce the potential of induced currents. The second layers are made up of advanced fluoropolymer that acts as inner insulation to the first layer. The third layer is covered with earth braid that safely conducts the power rather than blowing up or producing shocks. The fourth and outermost layer is also made up of advanced fluoropolymer, which ensures that the cable is highly insulated. Going through this manufacturing process make the heating cables water resistant.

You do not need to worry as the heating cables from certified professionals are designed in a way that they conform to the electrical regulations throughout the US, Europe, and the rest of the world. Therefore, they are safest to use in the wet or damp areas in your home. They will provide the same heating as is produced in any dry area of your home.

Have warm bathrooms with electric radiant heat system!

Is radiant floor heating worth it?

Radiant floor heating is worth it if you choose to work with it properly. When you compare the cost and performance of the radiant floor heating system with conventional baseboard heating system, you will get to know that radiant heating is worth every penny you spend. As mentioned above, it will reduce the energy cost and gives you more comfort by providing you warmth where it is needed the most. Also, having constant heat throughout makes it the best option to pursue.
How long does radiant floor heating last?

Radiant floor heating system lasts for a more extended period than other alternatives. If you take proper care of it and get it maintained from time to time, then it can easily last for up to 35 years. Conventional furnaces will last not more than two decades, even if they are adequately maintained. Also, the life of a radiant floor heating system depends upon different factors such as:
Whether it was correctly installed or not

The professionals know better about the procedure of installation of floor heating system and choosing the right one is up to you. Therefore, it is crucial to do proper research on service providers in your area and to go for the best one. It can save you a lot of money on repairing and maintenance if the system is installed correctly in the first place.
Whether you chose a suitable system and covering for your house

It is recommended to have professional advice on which type of flooring is suitable for the type of radiant floor heating system you are planning to have in your house. Hydronic and electrical radiant heating systems are the main types of the system. Moreover, there is an air heated floor system which uses air to heat the area. But it is suitable for a specific area and not for whole house heating.

An electrical radiant heating system can be a bit costly for whole house heating in some cases if you have higher electricity cost in your area or you are living in a colder climate. However, it can be cost effective if you want any specific area to be heated and where the rates are lower in off-hours.

The hydronic radiant heating system works through heated water and uses PEX tubing to circulate the water throughout the structure. There are two options for the hydronic system you can choose from the wet or dry hydronic system. A wet hydronic system is cost effective as it can operate on lower temperature from 75 to 100 degrees whereas dry hydronic system works at a higher temperature like 120 degrees consuming more power.

It is recommended to do proper research and choose the best option as per requirements, usage, and area. After selecting the suitable system next step is to have an appropriate covering to achieve the best results from the heating system. Tiles, hardwood, and lamination can be the few in your list to choose from and proper covering according to the system type can also determine the longer life of your radiant heating system.

Along with things as mentioned above, fair usage and timely maintenance play a crucial role in determining the life of the radiant floor heating system.

Can you have heated hardwood floors?

Yes, you can have heated hardwood floors. There is no specific type of covering that you require for radiant floor heating system. However, first comes the tile, and after that, hardwood floors are good to have for radiant heating system as they tend to be more conductive. In the case of hydronic heating systems with hardwood floors, you have to take proper care while installation of the heating system.

There is the same issue with hardwood floors as you face with doors during the summer season. They tend to expand, and you face difficulty in moving them. Same is the case with hardwood floors; if the wood that is used for level is dry and goes in a wet environment, it will expand. Similarly, if the wood is damp and it goes in a sterile environment, it will shrink.

There are few tips and tricks which helps to maintain the quality of the floor without any problems:

Use kiln-dried wood to make sure the moisture of wood is the same from the inside as from outside.

Make sure the hardwood floor is lower than or equal to four percent in moisture content than the floor it is being installed on.

Try and use the wood that is 3 to 3.5 inches in width as narrower wood slab will make less movement.

Quarter sawn wood is known to be better than plain sawn wood as quarter sawn timber tends to expand in thickness and plain sawn wood tends to expand in width.
What temperature should radiant heat be set?

The temperature should be set according to the guidelines provided by professional keeping in mind the covering of the floor. As we know, different types of coverings work best with radiant floor heating such as tiles, hardwood, and lamination. The manufacturer of these floorings provide guidelines for temperature settings.

For tile flooring, the temperature can be set higher as it does not affect the flooring. But the thing you should keep in mind is that pipes being more conductive does not require to be set at high temperature.

For wood floorings, it is recommended to set the temperature between 85 to 135 °F, and you should avoid the temperature that is too high as it can damage the wood flooring.

For laminate floorings, the temperature should be kept under 82 °F to avoid any potential damage to the floor.

Also, the temperature should be higher if the house is not insulated adequately as the heat loss will be higher.

Is radiant floor heating expensive?

Radiant floor heating can be expensive depending on the usage, location of your house, climate, and electricity rates in your area. Similarly, the structure of the house, features you want to have and covering that you are going for is also a crucial factor to determine whether a radiant heating system will be expensive for you or not. However, it is lower in cost as compared to a conventional heating system.

For newly constructed houses the hydronic radiant floor system could cost higher as compared to air forced systems and baseboard radiators. In the long run, you will notice lower energy costs as this system is more efficient and can work on a lower thermostat setting. You only have to bear installation cost, and labor cost varies from place to place.

However, the situation is the opposite in the case of an electric radiant heating system as the labor cost is lower, and the installation cost is approximately six dollars per square foot. But it will cost you a bit higher for its operation. Also, if you want to use it for supplemental heating source, then it can save you a bit by using it wisely.

Overall, a radiant heating system can be expensive but is worth it in the long run.

What is the cost of hydronic radiant floor heating systems?

The cost of hydronic radiant floor heating depends on several factors. Apart from buying the system, money needs to be spent on installation as well as a fuel source. Overall, the cost depends on energy rates, room size, and installation cost. When these factors combine, the heating systems come at varying prices.
Material and installation cost per square foot

Interestingly, hydronic radiant floor heating systems are difficult to install but come at less cost. The cost per square foot for hydronic RFH, material, and installation included, is $6 – 8.5.
System operating cost

The operating cost is $4.5 – 7 per month depending on the fuel used.
Heating source

Also, it uses a primary heating source so the cost may add up accordingly. It can range between $6,000 and $12,000. The boiler costs between $2,000 and $5,000 depending on the type (oil or gas) you need.

Together, it makes around $7,000 to $13,000 for a normal house.
What is the cost of an electric radiant floor heating system?

Electric radiant floor heating system is easier to install and repair, but it comes with the higher installation cost. It is 20 to 25% more expensive than the hydronic radiant floor heating system. Several factors need to be considered when calculating the cost of an electric radiant floor heating system. The most important of them are the size of the room, system operating costs, and installation costs.
Material and installation cost

The material for an electric radiant floor heating system comes in different quality options. You can choose the electric mats and cables as low as $5 per square foot and as high as $25 per square foot. When combined with the cost of labor, it is $10 to $12 per square foot on average.
System operating cost

The total cost of electric radiant floor heating system depends on local electricity charges, the total time you keep your system on as well as the quality of insulation. Quality of insulation determines the power that will be required to run the system. Higher the power more is the electricity required. Poor quality insulation can increase the cost as much as 15 – 20%

On average, the electricity charges for a small 8 by 10 room space is $0.20 – 0.35 for four hours a day. For a month, it costs up to $6 – 10.5. The cost keeps on increasing with the size of the room and the number of hours the system is kept on.

If you keep running the system the entire day, the operating cost increases by 35 – 40%.

Therefore, make sure you keep all of these factors in mind when calculating the cost of an electric radiant floor heating system for your house.
Is the electric radiant floor heat system enough to heat a medium-sized room?

Most of the times, electric radiant floor heating system is more than enough to heat a medium sized room. Electric radiant floor heaters are more efficient than baseboard heaters. They help in heating the room evenly. You will not be feeling warm just where the heater is placed, but the entire room will be warm at the same intensity. An important thing to ensure is that there is no way heat loss takes place.
There are several factors that contribute to heat loss, such as:

Outside walls that are not insulated or if the weather is extremely cold outside.

Non-insulated concrete sub-floors

Non-weather treated windows

Weather non-resistant walls

Unheated rooms beneath the room you have installed electric radiant floor heat system

However, if the room is insulated with concrete sub-floor, has weather-resistant walls and windows (this helps in keeping the chilly weather at a distance), and the room beneath your electric radiant floor heat system is heated or at least, insulated.

With the electric radiant floor heat system, you and all the other objects in your room will be warm. This helps in decreasing the chill effect of cold air.

Moreover, to enhance the output of the electric radiant floor heat system, it is advised to install WarmWire cables that are spaced at a lesser distance than standard i.e., 2.5" rather than 3.0" on mats. This adds a lot to the warm effect of the electric radiant floor heating system.

Another thing that can help in making the electric radiant floor heating system enough for your medium-sized room is adding a ceiling fan. Seems funny, right? But this ceiling fan will help in circulating the warm air as it will produce convection heat in addition to radiant heat that is coming from the floor.

Therefore, make sure you have taken care of the heat loss factors and other heat increasing add-ons to make the most out of your electric radiant floor heating system.
Is Radiant heat system important to install right at the time of construction of the house/office?

If you are going to build your home/office this year or anytime near, it is highly advised to install a radiant heat system right at the time of construction. It makes the installation easier. There has to less figuring out of the right network to install the radiant heat system. When a house is already constructed, there has to be a lot of effort done in order to make sure the heating system network does not intertwine with any other underfloor cables in the house.

Undoubtedly, increased struggle and effort that is needed to renovate the house figure out the installation network, and then start working. Apart from the struggle, cost matters too.

Installing the radiant heat system at the time of construction comes at a lesser cost as compared to when you are renovating or rebuilding the house, or when you want to do renovations to add radiant heat system.

However, both ways, it has become a necessity to add a radiant heat system in your house/office. Whether you are building a new house or adding it into your old one, it proves to be very cost-effective and peaceful in the end. Years later, you will be thanking yourself for the little extra you spent. Spending a little extra at the right time never leaves you in regrets.

Therefore, it is better to install a radiant heat system in your house/office right at the time of construction to save yourself from the later worries and suffering once the weather turns out to be chilly. All the professionals out there recommend the same. You can consult one to get answers to all your confusions as well as for cost management.
What is the best type of flooring that can be done over a radiant heat system?

Once you are done with installing a radiant heat system in your room/house, you need to choose the flooring that can be done over a radiant heat system. Although any flooring can be done, what you need to make sure is that the flooring that does not hinder the functioning of the radiant heat system. Also, the flooring must not decrease the effect of the radiant heat system. Look out to get flooring that complements radiant floor heating and enhances the warming effect in your room/house.

For this purpose, the some best type of floorings include:
Tile flooring

Ceramic and porcelain tile is the best option to choose when it comes to flooring over radiant heat system. As they are good conductors of heat, they help you in taking maximum benefit of your radiant heat floor system. Also, you do not have to face problems of cracking of flooring that occurs due to contraction and expansion of flooring due to heat. You will not face this problem with tile.
Engineered wood flooring

Engineered wood flooring comes in layers. It looks great and warms great. It has a very stable base that does not react to the contraction and expansion issues sue to cool and heating process. Its top layer or wear layer is made up of solid wood and comes in several varieties as are offered in solid hardwood flooring. It also comes in bamboo that wears great. So choosing engineered wood flooring over radiant heat system is a great and sensible option.
Natural stone flooring

If you are a fan of natural stone, several natural stone floorings make great flooring to be used over a radiant heat system. Granite, sandstone, and travertine are the three top natural stone flooring. Natural stone is a great conductor of heat. It seems to be cold, but it conducts heat wonderfully. You can even walk barefoot on natural stone in January when you have radiant heat right in place.
Laminate flooring

Last but not least, laminate flooring is another top flooring option when it comes to choosing to floor over radiant heat system. It looks like solid hardwood flooring or tile flooring. With laminate flooring, you get the desired look without spending much. It is made up of layers of wood running in opposite directions. This makes it even more stable than solid hardwood. The best thing is that it won't contract or expand as solid hardwood does.

Therefore, when you want to have solid hardwood flooring but have a radiant heat system installed as well, going for laminate flooring is the safest option.

So these are the top 4 flooring choices you can choose from. It will create great flooring, along with enhancing radiant floor heating.
Which flooring should not be used over a radiant heat system?

When it comes to flooring over radiant heat system, you should be very particular about it. You need to make sure that you do not use any flooring that diminishes the warming effect of radiant heat system and renders it as waste. Following are the types of flooring you must avoid to use over radiant heat system:
Rugs and wall-to-wall carpeting

Carpets and rugs act as insulators to heat. They will prevent the heat from transferring into every nook and corner of your house. If you have a big house, using small rugs in some areas is fine. But, make sure you avoid big rugs that cover most of the floor as well as wall-to-wall carpeting.
Vinyl flooring

Vinyl flooring is the worst option to go for over radiant heat system. Heat can result in discoloration of vinyl. It can also lead to effusion of chemicals from the vinyl flooring.
Solid hardwood flooring

Another type of flooring that must not be done is solid hardwood flooring. Solid hardwood reacts to the cooling and heating process. With continuous contraction and expansion, solid hardwood cracks. Therefore, there is no point in using such expensive flooring when it will crack due to radiant heat.

These are the top 3 floorings that must be avoided when choosing flooring for your house that has a radiant heat system.
Do electric radiant heat floors keep the air safe and healthy?

This is one of the biggest benefits of using electric radiant heat system over any other traditional heat system. It does not deteriorate health conditions by polluting the air with different fumes and gases. Instead, you get an improved air condition.

The main purpose of the electric radiant heat is to warm up the bodies and object around. It has nothing to do with the air. Hence, the air stays fresh. It circulates the heat throughout the room through objects.

Due to this very reason, there is no chance that the movement of dust increases. No dust means no breathing problems and no allergens. Thus, the electric radiant heat flooring system is very safe for the people who get sick due to dust or are prone to allergy.

Electric radiant heat floors do not dry the air. There is no decrease in humidity. Therefore, electric radiant heat floors keep the air safe and healthy. This is the biggest reason why it is recommended by doctors as well to use radiant heat rather than conventional or traditional heating methods.
Is Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System better than Electric Radiant Floor Heating System?

When it comes to choosing one out of these two radiant floor heating systems, you need to see which one is the best for you. With an electric radiant floor heating system, it takes a lot of power to heat an entire house. That power needs a lot of money to be invested. Therefore, when you have a big house, using electric radiant floor heating system is not economical.

Several factors can help determine whether a hydronic radiant floor heating system is better or electric radiant floor heating system. Looking into the following factors can help decide the winner:

Hydronic radiant floor heating system costs lesser than electric radiant floor heating system. A radiant hydronic floor heating system cost between $7,000 and $13,000 whereas, an electric radiant floor heating system costs more depending upon the electricity charges in your area. The power of electricity required to run an electric radiant floor heating system adds much to the cost of electricity you need to pay.

With an electric radiant floor heating system, it becomes difficult to afford heat.
Variety of sources to heat the water

Another advantage of using a radiant hydronic floor heating system is that it allows you to choose from different sources to heat the water, such as:

Oil-fired boiler

Kerosene heater

Gas heater

Gas-fired boiler

Solar Water heater

You can choose the source according to the area you live in as well as what suits best to your budget.

But when the electric radiant floor heating system is the case, electricity is the only source that can be used. And that, for sure, is a very expensive source.

When it comes to the maintenance of a hydronic radiant floor heating system, it is very minimal. You need to get an annual check of your boiler and nothing else. The advanced pumps automatically lubricate the parts using water and thus result in even lower maintenance.

On the other hand, electric radiant floor heating system uses electric coils that are rolled up to form an electric blanket. This complex network needs to be checked every two to three months to make sure the network is working safely and properly.

Therefore, it can be observed that hydronic radiant floor heating system is better than electric radiant floor heating system when we take into account the above-mentioned three most important factors: Cost, power source, and maintenance. So clearly, hydronic radiant floor heating system is the winner.

You can choose the one as per your needs and requirements.

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