Radiant Floor Heating
Radiant Floor Heating refers to any system that heats a room or building via a heat source in the floor. Offering homeowners unmatched comfort compared to other heating systems, radiant floor heating has become very popular in recent years.
There are two main types of radiant floor heating systems – electric and hydronic. Electric systems heat electrical cables placed in or below the floor, while hydronic systems use pipes filled with hot water instead. Whereas electric systems are cheaper to install, hydronic systems are more efficient and cost-effective to operate. More importantly, hydronic systems are better suited to heating entire buildings, giving homeowners the chance to bring the comfort of radiant floor heating to every room in their home. This combination of comfort and efficiency is the reason why combine our SunPump heating system with hydronic radiant floor heating whenever possible.
The History of Radiant Floor Heating
Amazingly, the origins of radiant floor heating can be traced back thousands of years to the Stone Age, when neolithic Asian peoples would draw heated air from fires through trenches they dug in the ground. In Roman times, the hypocaust, a sophisticated system that drew heat from a furnace up through the floor, was the underfloor heating system of choice for senators and nobles. The Korean Ondol worked similarly, drawing heat from a firebox up through the floor. These systems continued to evolve both in Asia and Europe, heating the homes of wealthy aristocrats, monasteries, castles and even the Turkish baths of the Ottoman Empire.
In modern times, radiant floor heating has become a true science. In hydronic systems, high quality cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) is used as piping. This material is leak-resistant, non-toxic, flexible and very durable. PEX won’t become brittle over time, and is unaffected by any concrete additives or water conditions that it might come into contact with. Advances in the area of building insulation means that a layer of insulation placed below the pipes will guarantee that almost all heat generated is directed up into the rooms above. Hydronic radiant floor heating systems are also perfectly suited to be combined with renewable energy heat sources like our SunPump. Combining radiant floor heating with a renewable energy heat source will make an already highly efficient system even more cost-effective.
The Advantages of Radiant Floor Heating
- Comfortable: Because the heated pipes are spread throughout the floors of a building, radiant floor heating does a great job at insuring an even, steady spread of heat all around your home. This helps to eliminate hot and cold spots, annoyances that traditional wall-mounted radiators and forced air heating systems struggle to deal with. Just as importantly, heated floors prevent heat loss from your body through your feet (the area of your body that loses heat most quickly). For this reason alone, having heated floors is a great way of guaranteeing thermal comfort in your home. Well-suited to heating large and small rooms as well as corridors, hydronic systems create a level of comfort unmatched by any other home heating system. Another advantage of radiant floor heating is that, while some heating systems can make the air in a home feel drier, radiant floor heating uses pipes that are sealed away in the floor and will not effect air quality in your home.
- Healthy: The fact that radiant floor systems are sealed away beneath your feet offers several advantages to your health. Dust, pollen and particles of dirt are not stirred up by radiant floor heating systems, as they are by forced air heating systems. This is a big advantage for people with allergies, but breathing in dust and pollen is unhealthy at the best of times, so it is of benefit for everyone else, too. Secondly, there are no wall mounted radiators or other hardware for babies and toddlers to walk into or stub their feet on. The lack of radiators also improves the aesthetics of a home.
- A Primary Heat Source: Hydronic radiant floor systems operate as primary heat sources for homes, meaning that no other heat source is needed to heat a building all year round. When combined with the SunPump, which will also heat domestic hot water, all heating needs of modern homes can be met with one system.
- Cost-Effective: While hydronic radiant floor heating is more expensive to install than some traditional heating systems, it pays dividends in the long run. This is because the system is highly efficient to operate, requiring far less energy to heat a home compared to most other heating systems. Accordingly, a homeowner can expect to save considerably on home heating bills with a radiant floor heating system. As the years go by, radiant floor heating pays for itself.
- Environmentally Friendly: Due to the efficiency of radiant floor heating, homeowners can rest assured that they have chosen an environmentally friendly heating system as well as a cost-effective one. A more efficient system means less wasted energy and less fuel burned, preserving natural resources and decreasing a home’s carbon footprint. Combining radiant floor heating with a renewable energy source will make the system even more cost effective and environmentally friendly.