Radiant flooring heats your house in a whole different way: from the ground up. Conventional forced-air heating floods the room with hot air in motion. You feel it pouring from supply vents, but you also notice how rapidly the room becomes chilly when the furnace cycles off. A radiant system turns the slab under your house into a thermal mass that releases gentle, radiant heat continuously and at lower daily operating costs than a gas-fired or electric furnace.
A radiant system heats your floor in one of two ways:
- Hydronic: A network of plastic tubing embedded in the concrete slab circulates hot water. Heat from water inside the tubes warms the slab, which retains heat energy effectively and releases it slowly over time.
- Electric: Mats that integrate electrical resistance wiring—imagine very large heating pads—are attached to the underside of the subfloor. Heat is conducted upwards and radiated by ceramic tile or other heat-conductive flooring.
What Are the Advantages?
- Hot air from a forced-air furnace swiftly rises and accumulates at the ceiling. A radiant floor warms people where they are—closer to the floor, not up at the ceiling. This permits lower thermostat settings, with no compromise in comfort.
- Radiant heat doesn’t move air. There’s no blast of forced air entering the room to stir up dust, allergens and other particulates. Indoor air quality benefits and the system is totally silent.
- A radiant floor heats every square inch of the room from the floor up. Forced air heating warms whatever’s in the path of airflow from the supply vents. Cold spots result and certain parts of a room may always feel chilly.
Installing a hydronic radiant floor is a labor-intensive process that may require substantial dismantling work. A hydronic system is a better candidate for installation in the course of a major remodel of the entire house, when other construction is underway. For less complex retrofits or when cost is a factor, electric mats are more economical.
Ask the heating experts at Amarillo Air Conditioning for more about the advantages of radiant flooring.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Amarillo, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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