Radiantly heated floors are not a new idea--in fact, they are a very old idea. The Roman method of heating the home (or heating the bath house) via a heat source under the floor was known as hypocaust. Today, the majority of residences and businesses are heated through hot air ducts or by radiators, but the idea of radiantly heated floors is taking off in some locations because of its many benefits.
Homes heated by forced air suffer from a common problem: hot air rises from the vent to the ceiling and there it stays. Meanwhile, cool air sinks to the bottom, where most activity takes place. Most people who heat their homes in this fashion are paying to heat the massive space above their heads, while the floor below remains a less-than-ideal temperature.
Radiant floor heating works like this: pipes carrying hot water or electrical wires are built into the space beneath the floor. When the heating system is activated, heat is conducted to the floor, gently warming it. The warm air rises from the floor, but stays in the lower half of the room, while the air around the ceiling remains relatively cool. This method is far more energy efficient because the warm air is located where the people in the room want it to be--near them.
In some cases, electronic mats can be installed under a room's flooring as well, but wire systems generally allow for more customization.
There's something soothing about stepping onto a gently heated floor with your bare feet. Just imagine what this would feel like while getting out of bed in the morning--or even better, as you step out of the shower. It is for this very reason that many new bathroom remodeling projects feature heated floors.
Bypass the Disadvantages of Traditional Heating Systems
Forced air heating systems involve dusty ducts that need to be cleaned and/or replaced over time. In addition, the whooshing air from the ducts is loud, irritating, and can exacerbate allergies for anyone who is sensitive to dust.
The other traditional heating system--radiators--can involve clanking pipes and escaping steam, while posing a minor threat for small children who may touch the radiator without realizing how hot it is.
Radiant heat has none of these issues as it is a quiet, clean, and effortless source of heat.
Although the installation of radiant heat is more expensive than traditional heat methods, it saves money over time. According to This Old House.com, radiant heat can be up to 30 percent more efficient than forced air heating.
There are also more affordable variants of radiant heating mats and wires that can act as a supplement to traditional heating systems, rather than a replacement.
Installing Radiant Heat
In general, the best time to install radiant heat is during the construction of the home. Implementing the flooring system during the initial stages of residential construction is more cost effective than building it into a pre-existing home. Fortunately, electric mats can be used an as effective alternative that is also easier to install into an existing home.
Litchfield Builders is a highly skilled and trusted residential construction company in New Haven, Connecticut and the surrounding areas. With over 20 years of experience, they have the team and expertise to guide you through the installation of heated floors or even a whole-home remodel. Talk to us about your next project by requesting a free consultation below.