One of life’s little nasty surprises is stepping out of the shower onto a chilly floor. Fortunately, you don’t have to tolerate this discomfort any longer. With a radiant floor system, you can enjoy toasty warm floors – and many other advantages as well.
Radiant floor heating is a method of keeping a room or house warm by installing the heating elements under your flooring. The systems can be either electric or hydronic. Hydronic systems have been around for many years but are quite involved to install and, generally, not a good do-it-yourself project. They require lots of tubing, water heaters, pumps and other devices. On the whole, hyrdonic systems are best for heating very large areas.
For areas ranging from 300 square feet up to about 3,000 square feet, the low voltage radiant heat system works well. It is composed of 12″ wide mesh installed on the sub-floor with the final floor covering installed on top of the mesh. Installation is made easy as the mesh can be nailed through without harming it. Spaces under 300 square feet can be heated with a line voltage system. Such systems are commonly used in kitchens and bathrooms. Rather than mesh, the system utilizes heating cables that are laid out on the sub-floor with the final flooring installed on top. Both of these systems can be installed under carpet, wood, tile, stone or marble. Once installed, both systems should be maintenance free as there are no moving parts or filters to change.
Radiant systems have two major advantages over forced air that make them appealing. The first advantage is cost savings as a result of greater efficiency. With a standard furnace, the air is heated remotely and then pushed to its final location The energy required to push the air adds dollars to your utility bill but does not nothing to heat your house. Further, some of the heat in the warmed air will be lost during transit through your duct work. With a radiant system, a much greater percentage of the expended energy is used to warm the room since heat is being generated where it is needed. This is much more efficient and easier on your utility bill. In fact, many people have reported savings of more than 30%.