Radiant Heated Floors

Conventional forced-air systems produce uneven heat, with the highest air temperatures near the ceilings. Heat radiating up from the floor, however, warms not only the floor, but also the other objects in a room, such as your walls and furniture, which in turn begin to radiate heat. This produces a pleasant, even heat that is very quiet and healthy. Noisy fans become unnecessary, eliminating the dusty air that blows about and creates havoc for those with allergies. Vents and radiators are dispensable, providing a cleaner look in each room.

There are two main underfloor heating systems used today: hydronic and electric.

A tile installer bonds a NuHeat
heating mat to the subfloor
with thinset before laying the tile.

· The hydronic system is used for heating an entire building. With the hydronic system, hot water from a boiler or water heater, heat pump, or solar collector, etc. is circulated through loops of flexible plastic tubing embedded in a concrete floor. This system can be more expensive to install than forced-air, but once in place it can be up to 30% more energy efficient because no energy is lost through ducts.

The WarmlyYours TempZone
system is used under tile, stone
and hardwood floor coverings.

· If your primary concern is to avoid stepping out of a warm shower onto a chilly tile floor, an electric radiant system is for you. Remove the throw rugs — they have been known to cause serious injuries when people accidentally tripped on them. An electric radiant system is a more healthy way to heat up smaller areas of your home, such as bathrooms, mudrooms and kitchens. An electric radiant system uses loops of thin heating cables that are installed just below the flooring material or embedded in it. Manufacturers often sew the wires to a mesh backing that holds them in place for easy installation. An electric system works well for retrofit projects.

Either type of floor heating system can be controlled by programmable thermostats with setback features to ensure that the floor is being heated only when the room is being used-thereby saving energy.

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