Radiant floor heating is a form of heating for your home that is more cost-effective than traditional means. It is easier for new homes to incorporate radiant heating during the construction process, but it is not impossible to install in an older home. This method of heating should only be installed and repaired by a plumbing professional.
How Does It Work?
Radiant floor heating is a room-by-room system that consists of plastic tubing embedded beneath the floor, ceiling, or behind the walls. This allows for complete control of the temperature in each room. Less trafficked rooms can have a lower temperature than highly trafficked ones.
Because you are not trying to heat your house with one system, it does not work as hard and saves money in the process. The thin plastic tubing that is used is called PEX, and this stands for cross-linked polyethylene. Heated water moves through these tubes, radiating the heat outward and into the specified area.
There are a variety of sources that can be used to heat the water that flows through these pipes. The most popular choices are oil-fired boiler, gas-fired boiler, or kerosene, gas, or solar-powered water heaters.
Figuring out which option is the best to use depends on the size of your home and the climate in your area. In order to make this a cost-effective option, considering these variables can be helpful. You wouldn’t want to use a solar alternative in an area where the sun barely shines, and this would require you to install a secondary option that could raise your cost.
Once you have decided which type of system you are going to use. The next step is to have the components installed in your home. The easiest way to accomplish installation is by having it completed during the construction phase. Older homes can still have this heating source installed. It just requires a few extra steps.
Two types of installation can be done in a new house. These are referred to as “wet” and “dry” installation.
During a wet installation, contractors will add a layer of concrete with the tubing. This allows for the concrete to act as a conductor for the heat. Concrete can retain heat due to its density and level of low conductivity.
When contractors do a dry install of radiant heating, it goes under the subfloor without the extra concrete on top of it. This install requires reflective backing under the tubes to help direct the heat outward since there is not a conductive surface to retain the heat. These tubes also have to be run at a higher temperature.
The radiant heat system uses a manifold that separates the tubing. When you turn on a specific room, the manifold will divert the heated water to the specified tubing system. This allows you to target particular areas of your home and desired temperatures. The manifold is attached directly to the type of water heating system you chose for the radiant heat source.
The Cost of Radiant Heating
Radiant heating requires more cost upfront than a traditional furnace system. To put it into perspective, imagine that you have a 2,000 square foot house. In this house, you have the option of a forced-heat system with a furnace or a radiant floor heating system.
A furnace system will cost you anywhere from $3,800 to $4,500 upfront for installation and the system itself. Furnaces have a life span of 10 to 25 years, depending on how often you service and the efficiency of the furnace. Replacing furnaces can become costly if you are forced to do it every 10 years.
You will also be required to have the duct system cleaned out periodically. This will help for those who have severe allergies. Furnace systems rely on filters. Replacing filters regularly can become expensive.
Radiant floor heating systems cost a lot more upfront for installation and the components. For a house this size, the cost could run from $7,000 to $13,000. The upside to these upfront costs is that you are not required to replace this system for a longer period of time. Most radiant floor systems can last owners 40 or more years before needing replacement.
If you or your family suffer from severe allergies or respiratory problems like asthma, radiant floor heating takes away the allergens that can be introduced into the air with a forced-heat system. There are no filters that require change monthly either. This saves you hundreds of dollars per year.
Radiant Flooring Maintenance
The maintenance required to maintain your radiant floor heating system is minimal. Your boiler should have an annual check-up with a professional just to be sure it is still in good health, but other than that, not much else is required.
Most of the modern systems use the water to lubricate their parts, which makes them extremely low-maintenance. Something to keep in mind is that these systems should only be repaired by a professional. Fixing a broken system can be expensive. If you have to replace the entire system, you will be facing costs that are comparable to the original installation.
Even though you should keep this in mind, don’t let it deter you from choosing a radiant floor system. These systems use tubing that withstand high temperatures, are leak-free, flexible, and non-toxic. The likeliness of having to replace the entire system early on are slim. Overall, the system is the most efficient heating source for your home.
Choosing a Professional
If you live in the Santa Cruz area and are thinking about installing the radiant floor heating system, your local experts at Anytime Plumbing are here to take your call. Our experts know, not only how to install, but repair your existing radiant floor heating systems.
Professional installation of your efficient radiant floor heating system ensures that you are covered under warranty for the system. Professional install also gives you peace of mind that it was done correctly.
Anytime Plumbing also offers repairs by our knowledgeable plumbing experts. Sometimes issues within a system can be fixed easily, but other times it requires the professional touch.
When you decide that a radiant floor heating system is the right choice for you, make sure you call Anytime Plumbing for a quote and additional information regarding the most efficient heating source on the market.