Like the warm indoor comfort they generate, the use of heated floors is on the rise. In homes as well as commercial buildings, the market for them is growing steadily. Most residential heated floors are hydronic systems. The system utilizes a grid of plastic tubing that circulates fluid composed of water and usually some form of glycol. The tubing is installed under flooring materials such as engineered laminated wood, common tile types and carpeting. In new homes, radiant tubing may be embedded into the concrete slab.
Gentle Natural Heat
As the tubing circulates water heated by a standard water heater or boiler to temperatures up to 120 degrees, heat radiating from the tubes warms the entire floor material. Gentle heat rises naturally into the living space. While conventional forced-air furnaces lose heat energy as the airflow is conveyed through ductwork, heat loss is minimized in hydronic systems and energy efficiency can be up to 25% improved.
Heated floors offer other advantages and disadvantages to consider. Here’s a short summary of pluses and minuses.
Plus: Heated floors warm living spaces uniformly. Common forced-air heat entering a room through the ductwork quickly rises and collects at the ceiling, rapidly cooling. Radiant hydronic heat fills the room from the floor up, warming persons and filling the entire space with consistent heat.
Minus: Installing heated floors can be a very significant project in an occupied home. Installation may be more preferable at a time when other substantial work such as a major remodel is underway in the house.
Plus: Forced-air systems keep particulates like dust, lint, and other allergens continuously stirred up in the air. Because a heated floor doesn’t utilize moving airflow, indoor air quality improves. Also, a heated floor means no more noisy furnace sounds of air moving, system cycling on and off, etc.
Minus: If a leak occurs in tubing circulating hot water in a heated floor, required repairs can be extensive and disruptive. This applies particularly to radiant systems directly installed in the concrete slab.
Ask the professionals at Aggressive Mechanical Contractors for more about the pros and cons of heated floors.