Radiant Heat

Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant heating systems involve supplying heat directly to the floor or to panels in the wall or ceiling of a house. The systems depend largely on radiant heat transfer: the delivery of heat directly from the hot surface to the people and objects in the room via the radiation of heat, which is also called infrared radiation. Radiant heating is the effect you feel when you can feel the warmth of a hot stovetop element from across the room. When radiant heating is located in the floor, it is often called radiant floor heating or simply floor heating. If you’re looking for a Lancaster heating contractor, turn to us!

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Some of the Many Benefits of Radiant Heating Include:

  • Total Comfort – by keeping your feet warm and letting the heat do what comes naturally, rise. The heat is even and comfortable. Provides uniform heat with little or no temperature stratification.
  • No ducts, fans, or blowers…virtually noiseless with no air movements.
  • Efficiency Savings – your radiant system, combined with the proper fuel, a high efficiency heat source (boiler). You could use 30% less fuel than the average forced air system.
  • Zoning Flexibility – you can zone different areas of your house to fit your lifestyle.
  • Reduced Allergens – radiant heat reduces dust mites and air borne allergens by 60-90%!
  • Added Home Value – this is a great selling tool and adds great dollar value

Why Radiant over Forced Air?

You can see in the picture above a representation of temperature differences throughout the space heated by forced air. Much heat can be wasted in the ceiling while leaving the floors cold. This tends to produce drafty spots in the house and really affects your comfort in a negative way. On the radiant side, you can see the floor at about 80F with 65F at themostat level. The heat is even and comfortable throughout the living space.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

Does a radiant heat system cost less to operate than the alternatives?

Yes they do. The amount of savings will vary depending on the heat loss, how well the structure is built, how well the building is insulated and the natural fuel source being used. For the most part, radiant floors will operate anywhere from 25% to 40% more efficiently than other forms of forced air heating.

What type of maintenance is required for my radiant heating system?

Most maintenance items center on the pumps and boilers. For the most part, the pumps used today are maintenance free. They use water to lubricate the bearings, which allow for quieter, efficient life span. In general, these pumps have an estimated life span of 10 years. Different boiler types require different maintenance.

Can I use any kind of fuel source in my radiant heating system?

Any natural resource can be used to fire the heat source, natural gas, propane, electric, wood, etc. It does not matter what the heat source is, as long as it can provide the necessary BTU’s (energy) at the required design temperatures. There will be a variance between heat sources based on efficiency, response, cost and capacity.

Can my radiant system also melt snow and ice?

Yes. Snow melt systems are becoming more and more popular, especially in areas where nature conservation is important. Snow melt systems eliminate all of the other necessary chemicals and pollutants used today to keep areas free of ice and snow. No more salt to track indoors. No more uneven melting. Streams and rivers no longer get polluted with unnecessary additives. Snow melt systems also protect your investment. Slabs last longer. Salt and other chemical additives will begin to break down the surface of a concrete slab over the years. For brick paver applications, snowmelt systems provide a certain amount of physical protection.

Does a radiant house take a long time to heat up from a cold start?

Most radiant floor heat systems take about a day to come up to full temperature. The reason for this is due to how the radiant heating system stores energy. Before a radiant floor can emit energy (heat) into a space, it first has to raise the floor temperature. Depending on the floor construction and the initial floor temperature, this start up time may be anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Slab on grade floors will see the largest start up time, mainly because they will have the highest mass value.

Does a radiant heating system have any impact on air circulation or cleanliness?

Yes. Since the air is not carrying the heating and is not being forced to move through the house, less dust and mold is being distributed. This helps to keep allergies and other ailments to a minimum.

What type of floor construction should I use?

Any type of floor construction can be used with a radiant heat system. The most common will be a slab on grade, or a frame floor. Some variations of these may include a thin slab over a frame floor or a Sandwich application. It is better to design the building for what is required structurally and let the radiant system be designed around the construction details.

What type of floor coverings can be used over a radiant heat system?

Most floor coverings can be used over a hydronic heating system, keeping in mind that the system is designed for that particular covering. Tile is the most efficient, since it is the most conductive. Hardwoods come next and then carpet and pad. Even vinyl or linoleum can be used. Typically the only design variance between these three common floor coverings is supply temperature.

How many zones can I have with my radiant heat system?

A hydronic heating system can be designed with as many or as few zones as desired. Some systems will have one zone per floor, while others will have each individual room as a zone. Keep in mind, the more zones there are, generally the higher the radiant heat system cost.