Radiant Floor Heating
Radiant in-floor heating is a technique which heats your home by applying heat through the floor instead of forced air through grills placed in the home. Warm water flows through tubes located in the floors, then heat radiates upwards evenly heating every cold object in the room, especially you, keeping where you live or work at the ideal temperature 24/7.
Radiant in-floor heating can eliminate cold drafts and noise, while increasing your energy efficiency, living space and savings. It can be installed in new construction and retrofit into existing structures. Any type of floor covering can be applied over a radiant floor heating system including ceramic, tile, slate, and wood.
Depending on the size of your space and your individual preferences, Zonelife can design and install your floor heating system in separate “zones” for areas that require a different temperature. Our floor heating systems are designed and installed for peak efficiency to help ensure no heat or energy is being wasted.
Zonelife can install radiant floor heating in new construction a few different ways:
- The most common method is placing it within the basement concrete slab where it radiates upwards heating the rest of the home
- Another method, we can place the tubing in main floors by fastening it down and then covering it with gypcrete (thermal-mass).
- We can also staple the tubing to the underside of the sub-floor allowing the heat to radiate upwards.
For existing homes where you do not want to disturb current flooring we can apply the floor heating system by stapling it up between floor joists.
- More comfortable and even heat.
- Cleaner and more efficient.
- Can eliminate cold drafty rooms.
- No ducts or grills.
- Higher resale value.
- Quieter. No noisy motors, blowers or fans.
- Virtually maintenance free.
- Reduce your costs by using lower temperature heat.
- Reduces noise transfer in the home.
- Seal perimeter of floor and reduce insects.
- When gypcrete is applied it stiffens floor, reduces bounce and noise transfer.
- Enhanced thermo mass for even heat distribution.
Commonly Asked Radiant Floor Heating Questions
Q. Can I use radiant floor heating if I am building a house with very high ceilings and more than the usual amount of windows?
A. Yes, because funnily enough high ceilings and many windows are a big reason that radiant floor heating is chosen. We know the general rule that hot air rises so in a forced air system all of the hot air from the system is first sent to the ceiling. A lot of the heat is immediately lost out of the ceiling and by the time the air reaches your level it has lost most of its energy.
Radiant floor heating works by storing its energy in the floor keeping all of the warmth where it should be, where you are! If you are ever up near the ceiling in a home with radiant floor heating you will find that it is much cooler than the floor area, exactly as it should be. A cooler ceiling temperature means higher efficiency because less energy is being wasted to the outside.
Q. Does insulation help make radiant floor heating more effective?
A. Absolutely. If you don’t have adequate insulation below a radiant floor heating system and you are installing for example in the basement floor to heat the basement and the floors above, you will loose heat to the ground. Heat does automatically rise but insulation helps to ensure there is less waste and it goes exactly where you want it to.
Q. How do I maintain a radiant floor heating system?
A. Maintaining a radiant floor heating system should be done yearly. Like any other mechanical system yearly maintenance by a licensed professional will extend its life. The pipe in the floor should last the lifetime of a home however the mechanical parts such as pumps, boiler, low water cut off etc. need proper maintenance. If you purchase a Zonelife service plan we can ensure that your investment lasts well beyond the minimum life span.
Q. How do I get air conditioning from a radiant floor heating system?
A. For most residential applications we do not recommend using radiant floor heating as your exclusive cooling system. It can help to reduce the heat in a space but it would need to be used in conjunction with an air component to control humidity. The complexity of in-floor cooling is why they are typically only used in commercial applications.
Q. Is it true that radiant floor heating systems can make the floor too hot?
A. It is only true for Older systems which used to be designed the same way as a baseboard heating system. They were installed with simple controls and high temperature allowances that were actually too high from a comfort point of view.
The maximum surface temperature for all radiant floor heating systems is 85 °F, the old system temperatures far exceeded this making the floor feel uncomfortable. The higher the water temperature in the floor, the higher the floor surface temperature.
In today’s radiant floor heating installs there are numerous controls and piping methods to ensure the temperature is right where you want it. Lower water temperatures easily satisfy room demands while preventing overheating thus improving efficiency.
As supply water temperatures should be below 90 °F which is lower than your body temperature, a properly designed system will make the floor feel neutral in temperature.
Q. Am I able to set different temperatures in different rooms with radiant floor heating?
A. Yes. Zonelife can install your system with many different heat zones, or just a few, that is up to you and what is most efficient and comfortable. The most common method is to have different heat zones for different rooms with their own thermostats.
Q. Are radiant floor heating systems less expensive than other heating systems?
A. Forced air systems are reported to generally cost 25% to 35% more than radiant floor heating systems to run. This is dependant on a number of factors including your region, winter severity, your fuel source, heat loss in your home, insulation, and the layout of your home.
A radiant floor heating system is generally not chosen for the savings, they are installed for the high level of comfort they provide.
Zonelife focuses on uses precise calculations and tests to ensure your radiant floor heating system is designed to be energy efficient and provide the ideal temperature.
Q. If I heat my entire house with radiant floor heating will it take a long time to get to the temperature I set from a cold start?
A. Depending on your building envelope most radiant floor heating systems take about a half day to a day to reach their full ideal temperature because of how the system stores energy. The system first has to raise the temperature of the floor before it can emit energy into a space. This is where the design and quality of installation are very prominent.
Also depending on the floor construction, and the start temperature of the floor the time for the temperature to reach its mark varies.
Zonelife is committed to designing and installing quality systems that operate at their maximum efficiency.
Q. Is it true that radiant floor heating can help keep your space cleaner?
A. In many cases, yes. Radiant floor heating has no ducts or radiators to contribute to dust collection or movement. But note that you will need ductwork for the mechanical ventilation system or if you have air conditioning.
Q. What are BTUs?
A. British Thermal Units (BTUs) are the standard unit used when measuring the amount of heat energy provided by a heat source. One BTU is the amount of energy needed to heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.