Buying a Radiant Floor Heater
For most homeowners, installing a heating system is one of the most expensive things that can be done in a home. If not done properly, you might regret the huge bills that you’ll get at the end of the month or year. However, there are better options due to improved technology. Advancements in building technology have resulted in radiant floor heaters. These come with several advantages, but a major one is that it delivers plenty of heating without eating up your electrical bills. It comes as a result of good knowledge of engineering and the laws of thermodynamics. With the combination of this knowledge, you can enjoy relatively cheap and beautiful heating in your home and commercial areas.
In simple terms, this type of heating system is made to reside at the bottom of the floor. It is highly effective because it invariably transforms your entire floor to a heat distribution system. This makes it highly efficient.
Before you do this type of heating in the home, it is important to do it before the floor is made. However, you can still do it after the floor has been laid out; although it might cost you more.
Several advantages accrue to this system, with the main benefit being energy efficiency. It makes your electric bills easier to manage. Another good thing about it is that you enjoy good, even heating. Since you are using the whole floor, the temperature spreads out and isn’t restricted to just one area of the home. With proportional temperature, you enjoy heating wherever you go in the home.
How Radiant Floor Heating Works
The working system is rather straightforward. As earlier pointed out, it radiates heat right from the ground. The heat delivery works better depending on the type of floor that you have in the space. Due to the technology, the rising heat is uniform all around the house. It is very quiet, and you won’t hear anything at all. You get consistent temperature too.
You can even set it up in wet areas like the bathroom and patio.
To install this type of heating, it needs to be done before you finish laying the floor of the home. While this might affect building plans, and you might have to remove the flooring if it had been done prior to installation, the advantages and financial benefits make it worth the temporary inconvenience.
We also love this system because you do not have to force air through any vents. With the radiation system, your home is free from allergens that rise from blowing air. If you are asthmatic or have sensitive people in the home, this makes it an excellent and health-conscious method of heating the home. With radiant home heating, you do not suffer pressure build up in the space. This results in longer periods of heat.
Types of Radiant Floor Heating
This roundup and post majorly concerns electrical radiant heating, but in this section, we will discuss the types of radiant heating that you can have today. The main types of this heating are hydronic heating and electric heating. Let’s see what these are.
Electric Radiant Heating
The name obviously shows you what it is about. In this type of radiant heating, electrical heat is converted to heat. In such a system, there are electrical cables that resist electrical current, which in turn, produces heat. It is the heat generated from the cables’ resistance to electricity that results in the heat of the house.
There are several advantages to this type of heating. It can be easily installed in different types of floors and often come in the form of mats. These mats are great to have, although they generally cannot be cut away to make way for obstacles.
That is why this heating system is often used in large spaces with open spaces. They come in a wide variety of sizes and can be installed in a short time. As long as you have some DIY expertise, you can handle installing these mats.
These mats usually come in different bundles. To ensure that they all work together, they are connected by a thermostat. For most of the best options on the market, for example, most of the options on our roundup, the thermostats are completely customizable. Thus, you can control different things, especially the temperature of the mats.
To ensure that the heat produce travels upwards instead of into the ground, we recommend that you carry out thorough insulation on the ground. A lack of thorough insulation will cause the mat to lose heat into the ground or for it to travel sideways.
For electric radiant heating systems, mats are just one of the forms in which they come. From our research of the market, these electrical radiant systems also come in single wore installs.
Instead of mats, these use just a wire that passes through the mortar or other covering on the floor. It requires expertise and is quite difficult, especially when compared to mat installation. We have observed that it doesn’t work well with a wide variety of floors as the mat heating. It is majorly made for mortar floors.
The advantage of this type of electrical radiant system is that it can be placed on the exact spots where you desire. An example is the HEATWAVE Electric Floor Heating System.
Hot Water Radiant Flooring
This is not the type of heating that we are discussing on this roundup. Nevertheless, information about it can help you decide whether to go for it or to opt for the electrical radiant flooring system that we review in this post.
The hot water radiant flooring system is slowly gaining traction among users. Also referred to as Hydronic system, this system offers you plenty of thermal efficiency. How does it work in this instance?
Well, this type of heating utilizes polyethylene tubing. These are linked together to improve the thermal efficiency. There are many reasons why people like this system.
To enjoy it, you can add it to a sub-flooring bed made of mortar. You can also opt to install it under hardwood floors. It is also great to install between the grooves of a floor.
To enjoy it, as the name implies, you need hot water. This system is utilized in different parts of the country. The polyethylene tubing earlier mentioned plays a big role in transmitting the heat. You have to link the crisscrossed network of PEX to the water heater. The heat that is generated from this is then passed through several pumps and adjusted via a thermostat to give the temperature that you want in the room.
It is a good system that has found a place in many homes. Unlike mat kits, this system requires more than just DIY knowledge to set it up. You have to get a professional to link it up safely and effectively for you.
Factors that affect how well a radiant floor heater works
When you are out to choose a radiant flooring system, there are several factors that you must keep in mind. Let’s discuss some of the most essential factors that would affect your choice.
First, your radiant system must be efficient. Remember that one advantage this system holds over others is the efficiency. Thus, if it doesn’t give you impressive efficiency, you are being ripped off.
Thankfully, most of the radiant heating systems on the market right now are far better than traditional counterparts in this regard. Compared to other forced air heating systems, the radiant flooring heating system is more efficient.
The traditional method involved using air ducts to pass hot air to the rooms. Several factors contribute to the inefficiency of such traditional methods. For one, the air passing through the ducts is subject to leaks. Despite the best efforts of the manufacturer, leaks still occur, and these contribute to nearly half of the heat that you should be getting.
On the other hand, the radiant heating system doesn’t suffer from this problem. If it is correctly set up, you will get almost 100% of the heat that you need for the space. The HEATWAVE Electric Floor Heating System is very efficient.
Radiant heating technology is relatively new, and as such, it might tend to be more difficult to set up. However, as more people turn to it for heating in the home, the result is more technicians are perfecting ways of installing it.
If you are just building a home, now is the best time to get it installed. It is good and also very compatible with existing homes.
Nevertheless, if we are being honest, traditional heating technologies are still more commonplace and easier to install than radiant heating technology. However, we believe that this will change in the coming years.
In the past, this type of heating employed copper tubes to pass heat upward. However, these were prone to leakages. Thankfully, there are now materials that help to pass heat without losing any of the heat. Polyethylene or PEX is one of such materials. The Warming Systems Electric Radiant Floor Heat Heating System is made from such durable materials.
Before you choose to install a radiant heating system, it is vital that you consider the size of the space you plan to install it on. Most mat kits cover the whole area to improve efficiency; this, you should get a size that would match the size of the space.
If you are using an electrical radiant system, this can be rather expensive for several reasons. If your room or the space under consideration is irregularly shaped, you would be better off using an electric heating kit like the Warming Systems Cable Set. It is more flexible and lets you get the optimum layout for the space. If you are a DIY-er, you should check out what the manufacturer says about installation, spacing and stuff like that.
One good thing about these heaters is that you can get them in a wide plethora of sizes. Some come in large forms, while others are much smaller. You will have to lay the pipes in the areas where you need them.
You also do not have to set them on every square inch of your floor. You can employ zonal heating, which has proved to be economical yet effective.
Another way of being economical with respects to size is by using different thermostats for different parts of the radiant heater. It offers more control and ultimately saves you money.
An important accessory to check out when buying an electric radiant floor heating is the heat controller. If your kit comes with this accessory, it is a big bonus to the running of the heater.
Many of the models on the roundup come with a thermostat and a timer that can automatically switch off the system when the heat gets much. Some come with different features. For example, some models come with displays and touchscreens (although they are more expensive).
A major problem with these heaters is the time it takes them to warm up the space.
If you are rushing in from the freezing cold, you’d want something that can heat up the space immediately. Heat controllers offer you a way to get this in your system. Using these devices, you can set a timer, so you arrive to a warm home. The timer can also be set to switch off at certain times.
It makes the heater more pleasurable and convenient to use. The HeatTech Electric Radiant Floor Heat Heating System
comes with a thermostat.
If you do not want a timer, you can also get a model with a programmable thermostat. Some of the options we have provided above come with this feature. The Warming Systems Electric Radiant Floor Heat Heating System comes with a heat controller.
Type of flooring
Another feature to consider when buying a radiant floor heating is the type of floor itself. After all, there are different floor types, and each of them comes with different insulation properties.
By considering this factor, you would get even more bang for your buck. Most people that choose to use this type of flooring in their homes usually opt for ceramic tiles. These tiles are typically cold. However, with radiant heating, they get warm quickly and for longer.
Other types of floors that you could use include wood, marble, carpet, etc. A general rule of thumb when choosing the floor type is that the thicker the floor is, the harder your system has to work to provide heat. Therefore, look for ways to reduce the thickness and the insulation against heat. Keep thickness to a minimum, and you’ll certainly enjoy the heating.
For those that opt to use carpets, note that you can use a thin carpet for best results. If you have a wood floor, consider the expansion and contraction that heat will cause to the wood. Thus, you should opt for strong woods that deliver slow contraction and expansion due to heat.
When buying your electric radiant floor heating, look out for any obstacles that can trap the heat and stop it from effectively heating up your space. For instance, the furniture in the living room can sap up the heat.
To that end, you should calculate the amount of space you will need while considering the permanent fixtures in the space. This will help you to buy the right size and plan appropriately. It means that you will not install heating under such obstacles as it would be a waste of resources.