Over the past few years, the view that padding and carpet are not suitable for homes with hydronic heating has been dispelled – homeowners who love carpet can now enjoy it as plush and warm as possible. Even so, it is important that you have carefully selected the padding that goes beneath your carpet, as this will ensure that the heat can pass through without issue.
Step 1: Match the padding and carpet to your subflooring material. As hydronics are placed directly into the concrete slab, you will need to purchase thicker, moisture resistant and heating system compliant padding. The use of carpet will also reduce the amount of time your system needs to be on.
Step 2: Purchase a lower pile carpet and make sure that the padding doesn’t exceed 3/8 of an inch in thickness; this will maximise heat availability. You may need to increase the temperature of the water running through the pipes to offset any heat loss that may be experienced.
Step 3: Make sure the padding has a proper thermal resistance rating (or R-value) for your particular hydronic heating system. Most manufacturers suggest a total R-value that doesn’t exceed 4.0 (this is for both the padding and carpet).
Step 4: If the R-value is not readily available, you can calculate it yourself by measuring the thickness of the carpet and of the padding. Add these together in order to get the total R-value. Carpet with a value of 1.4 and padding with a value of 1.8 means that the overall rating is 3.2.
Step 5: Confirm with both the padding and carpet manufacturers that their products are safe for use with hydronics and that they can withstand extended periods of low but continuous heat. Do not use nylon shag or plush wool carpets with hare and jute coated or polyurethane padding, as they do not comply.
When having your carpet installed, make sure that the team has experience with hydronic heating systems. This will ensure that they undertake the process correctly and that your carpet allows warmth to pass through. Once installed, your family will be able to enjoy luxuriously warm carpets without fear that it will become damaged as a result of the heat.