A radiant flooring system transfers heat directly from the hot floor to the people or objects in the room through radiation. This process is also known as infrared radiation. It requires installation of electric coils or water tubes for heating under the floors. The heat from the ground warms everything that it comes into contact and radiates throughout the room. The temperature in the room remains constant, and the air rises, cools, and then comes back to the ground. This system is more efficient than the baseboard or the usual forced air heating, as there’s no loss of energy through the ducts. Constant temperature and lack of moving air is considered beneficial for people suffering from severe allergies.
This flooring can be categorized into three types: radiant air (air is the heat-carrying medium), electric radiant, and hydronic (hot water) radiant. There are mainly two techniques that can be used for installation: dry installation and wet installation. In the dry installation, the tubing is inserted between the two layers of plywood or the tube is attached under the finished ground or subfloor. In the wet installation, a large thermal volume of a concrete slab or lightweight concrete over a wooden subfloor is used.
This system pushes the hot water out from a boiler through a tubing laid in a pattern below the ground. The tube carries the hot water to different rooms, dispersing the heat through the ground surface. It is a closed loop system in which the cooler water comes back to the heat source where it is heated again and then transmitted. The temperature in the room is maintained by regulating the flow of heated water through each tubing loop. This is done with the help of zoning valves or pumps and thermostats. The hydronic system can use a variety of energy sources to heat the water like oil-fired boilers, solar water heaters, and gas fired boilers. Of all these, the gas-fired boilers are the best, especially for a newly constructed home and can be installed by using dry or wet installation methods. The water heater or the boiler is connected to a manifold that comprises a system of separate pipes that channel the water from a single source into multiple zones. Due to this, each area of the home can be heated separately by using a single programmable thermostat. From the manifold, the heated water is transmitted through a pattern of PEX tubing by a re-circulating water pump. PEX is polyethylene tubing that is leak-proof, non-toxic, flexible, and strong enough to handle high temperatures. It is one of the most durable tubing that doesn’t get brittle over time and remains unaffected by aggressive concrete additives or water conditions.
This is a cost-effective heating system for extreme climates. Its cost varies depending on the location, size of the room, type of installation, ground covering, and remoteness of the location. It requires minimal maintenance and little electricity, hence benefits in areas with high electricity cost.