From increased efficiency and comfort (no drafts like from forced-air heating systems) to keeping allergies at bay, the compelling benefits of hydronic radiant floor heating have become increasingly popular with homeowners everywhere. Hydronic radiant floor heating circulates hot water through tubes in floors throughout a home. It has many advantages over traditional heating systems that are making it a popular option for all kinds of property owners.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), hydronic floor heating is the most affordable heating system to install. It’s also the most popular heating system in areas with harsh winters. A boiler heats the water and pumps circulate the water through plastic tubing that is buried in the flooring throughout a home. Typically, heat zones are created and controlled by individual thermostats located in various areas of the home so heat can be delivered to specific areas only when desired by the occupant. Hydronic radiant floor heat offers personalized comfort while minimizing dust and other allergens that are often issues with forced-air heating systems.
Ease of installation in new construction is a big factor behind this system’s popularity. For homes and other structures with ductwork in disrepair, the radiant tubing can be retrofitted to address specific areas of a home like bathrooms, entries and basements. In new construction, tubing is most often buried in concrete slabs or thin concrete top layers in floors under wood flooring.
Designers love working with radiant systems because they don’t take away from square footage or create awkward features to work around. The only item needing camouflage would be the thermostat, and depending on the brand, homeowners can hide these away in a closet and control temperature over any internet-ready device. Hydronic heat and new smart house features can work seamlessly for a fraction of the price you’d pay for a traditional forced-air furnace or hot water baseboard heating system.
Ongoing costs vary greatly depending upon the source of heat needed for a radiant system, which is typically a gas or electric boiler. Boiler systems can run off renewable energy sources, making them a leading green option. If you plan to combine a hydronic heating system with a source of clean energy, be sure to check out the available grants and tax credits available to property owners in your area. Not only can these programs help you save on installation expenses, but on ongoing financing costs as well.
Hydronic floor heating systems are big savers when it comes to traditional energy sources as well. Concrete has impressive heat transfer qualities; once heated, it retains the heat for an extended time period without the need for constant energy consumption. When comparing to a typical forced-air furnace running on natural gas, a radiant floor heating system can save 20 and 40 percent on energy costs. Avoiding heat loss through ductwork in a forced-air heating system alone makes a considerable difference.
There are other comfort considerations as well. Compared to many heating systems, radiant flooring is exceptionally quiet. A hydronic system doesn’t affect humidity levels the way a forced air furnace will either. This helps prevent your hair, skin and sinuses from drying out, which in turn helps prevent the transfer of cold and flu germs.
A big comfort factor for allergy sufferers is the lack of air blowing particulates around the home. A traditional furnace or split system uses forced air to blow heat from the system from room to room, taking allergens like dust and mold along for the ride. While many heat systems now incorporate air-cleaning devices into their designs, a radiant flooring system heats by transference, not by the circulation of warm air – and not through dusty, leaky ductwork.
EP Sales, Inc. represents Thermolec electric boiler manufacturer and water treatment products from Sentinel. Visit them on their website at www.epsalesinc.com to learn more about the various products used in hydronic floor heating systems for the home.
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