Keeping your home warm during the winter can be a challenge, particularly if it’s heated with a traditional fan-forced system. The heated air often escapes your home before it’s had a chance to warm it up. This not only means your home is cold, it can lead to increases in energy costs as the system works harder to produce enough heat. Fortunately, there is another option.
There are two key types of radiant heat available – electric and hydronic. Both are installed beneath the floor of the home, which helps to create an even level of warmth from floor to ceiling.
How Does Electric Radiant Heat Work?
It consists of heating coils that are installed beneath the floor. In many systems, the coils are actually embedded in mats that are then laid out in the area to be heated with flooring material (carpet, tiles or floorboards) laid over the top. Electricity is run through the coils, causing them to heat up. This heat is transferred to the flooring and, from there, dissipates into the room.
How Is An Electric Heating System Installed?
There are three main components for any installation – heating cables, a temperature sensor and a thermostat. The cables are often embedded into a plastic mat, which is then rolled over the subfloor. Once the cables are placed, they need to be connected to an electricity source – to ensure your safety, this is always best done by someone with experience.
How Efficient Is Electric Radiant Heat?
These systems can be an efficient way to heat a small part of your home. It’s a great choice for areas of your home where you might be barefoot, such as your bathroom or bedroom. Some are fitted with a timer, so they’re only on for a set amount of time before turning off. Trying to use these systems as your primary heat source, however, can be prohibitively expensive.
How Does Hydronic Radiant Heat Work?
It consists of pipes that are laid beneath the floor and which are used to circulate heated water around the home. The pipes are laid during the initial stages of construction and the concrete slab is poured over the top or on a pipe positioning board with a screed over the top. As the water flows through the hydronic heating system, heat is released into the surrounding concrete; this is heated, then the floors and then the room above.
How Is A Hydronic Heating System Installed?
These systems are generally only suited for homes that have not yet been built; there are options for existing homes, but they are not installed underneath the floor. There are four main components for the installation – a boiler, a pump, room thermostat, manifold and pipework. A professional should be employed for the installation to ensure that everything works correctly.
How Efficient Is Hydronic Radiant Heat?
This can be one of the most efficient ways to heat your home. The nature of the system actually limits the amount of energy that can be wasted. As heat comes up from the floor, the system doesn’t need to be set to as high a temperature and it doesn’t need to be on for as long to maintain a comfortable environment. Careful design and adequate installation will also aid in its efficiency.
So, why should you choose a hydronic heating system? It’s the best choice if you want to heat your entire home, you want to build a new home, you want some flexibility in your system’s energy source, and you want to reduce your overall heating costs. The team at Cambro can help you with the design and installation of such a system – get in touch with us today to learn more.