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Radiant Heat Systems

Radiant Heat

Did you know that radiant floors are one of the oldest forms of heating a structure?

Radiant heating systems, also known as radiant floor systems, date all the way back to Roman times. Today, radiant floor heat provides numerous benefits, including increased comfort, even temperatures, no cold drafts, all while being quieter and more energy-efficient than forced-air heat.

Radiant systems (also referred to as hydronic systems when they use hot water to provide heat) have three major components:

  1. The heat source – Any typical method used to heat water can be used to provide hot water for a radiant system.  Some heat sources may not be able to reach the temperatures required for a particular home, but part of the design process is narrowing the choices to those that are feasible. Common choices include geothermal units, wood fired boilers (located outside the home), oil fired water heaters and boilers, gas fired boilers, tankless water heaters and, on occasion, a standard water heater. This is part of what makes radiant systems so adaptable – the heat source can vary based on available fuels and the homeowners preference.
  2. The interface – This component covers both the controls (the interface between the homeowner and the system) and collection of components that convey the hot water from the heat source to the method of delivery. The interfaces are usually selected early in the design process and are specific to the heat source and system performance parameters.
  3. The method of delivery – The two major types of delivery systems are radiators and in-floor. Radiators have been used extensively in the past, but lacked the ability to provide evenly distributed heat in the space. With advances in plastics and technology over the years,  in-floor delivery has gained popularity and has surpassed radiators as the delivery method of choice. Even under the in-floor umbrella, there are a number of installation choices that allow the design to be tailored to the homeowners needs.

The components listed above work together to provide warm water that flows through tubes located underneath the floors. That warmth radiates up from the floors and warms everything it comes in contact with — including people.

Advantages of Radiant Floor Systems:

  • Radiant heating is more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient that forced-air heating because no energy is lost through ducts.
  • Radiant heating is compatible with any type of floor covering — carpet, wood, slate, tile, linoleum, and even concrete — making design possibilities endless.
  • A radiant heating system works extremely well in zones, allowing different areas of a home to heat at different temperatures. This allows typically chilly rooms, such as bathrooms, basements and entryways, to receive more heat when needed. At the same time, rooms with less traffic, such as a den or formal dining room, can be set to a lower thermostat setting, making the system even more energy-efficient.
  • Heat is concentrated evenly near the floor where people are located.
  • Cold drafts as well as noisy fans, furnaces and ductwork are eliminated.
  • Ideal for allergy sufferers because it doesn't circulate dirt, dust or other airborne pollutants throughout a home.
  • Concealed under the floor for a more aesthetically pleasing environment — eliminating the concern of blocking vents with furniture.
  • Hydronic (liquid-based) systems use little electricity, a benefit for homes off the power grid or in areas with high electricity prices.
  • The hydronic systesm can be heated with a wide variety of energy sources, including standard gas or oil fired boilers, wood, solar water heaters, tankless water heaters, geothermal or some combination of these heat sources.
  • Radiant heating can help a home earn LEED® points for reduced energy consumption.
  • Radiant Floor Systems pair extremely well with ductless heat pumps (another super energy efficient heating and cooling system)

For more details, just call Day Heating.  Let us use our extensive experience with radiant systems to help determine if it's the right choice for you. Salem: 503-363-4822 and Corvallis: 541-452-5111.