How to Install Radiant Floor Heating
Radiant floor heating works by forcing hot air through channels embedded in the floor. The heating system works best if the floor is a concrete slab, as it absorbs the heat and helps to maintain a consistent temperature throughout. A floor that is concrete slab-covered will also ensure a more efficient operation of the air-based system, as it can prevent any malfunctions over time. This heating system can be installed with a do-it-yourself kit, or by hiring a contractor.
For a gas-fired system, the boiler is installed before the flooring is installed. In a wet installation, a slab of concrete is poured underneath the subfloor, while a dry installation uses a thin sheet of concrete between the surface and the subfloor. A small pump then circulates the heated water through the tubing and heat-exchanger to heat the floor.
Radiant heating systems are safe to use with most types of flooring. Concrete, stone, and ceramic tile are good choices for heated floors. However, materials like vinyl, laminate, and solid wood can have temperature limitations. These materials tend to expand in extreme temperatures and can cause cracks. Carpeting can also be an ideal choice for heated floors, since it insulates the floor and reduces heat flow.
Electric floor heating systems may be zoned, allowing for more precise control of temperature. You can place thermostats for different zones of the floor, or use one single thermostat for the entire house. This gives you more flexibility and customization and reduces your energy bills. With multiple thermostats, you can control the temperature in each zone independently, as well as monitor energy use.
Electric radiant heating systems are the most versatile and flexible system available. Mats made from heat-conductive materials can be installed directly underneath flooring or under a subfloor. Electric radiant heating systems can also be installed during construction. But, be sure to consult an electrician when installing these systems. If you are installing these systems in a house that has carpeting, you will need to install a 3/8-inch slab pad to prevent the cables from moving.
Installation of underfloor heating systems is simple. Tile floors can be pre-spaced or easily attached to mesh. However, you must remove all previous flooring and furniture from the space before the installation. This will add to the installation time. This method is best suited for homes that are being renovated. It will help you achieve a more comfortable environment during winter.
Hydronic floor heating systems are more expensive upfront, but they are easier to install. They don’t require ductwork and can be installed under most floors. If you plan to heat more than one room in the house, consider installing an electric floor heating system. Despite the higher price, you can save money by allowing multiple rooms to share the cost of the system.
Electric heated floors cost between $8 and $15 per square foot. They are more expensive than hydronic systems. The former is easier to install and maintain, but hydronic systems are considered the more cost-effective option.