Who doesn’t like soothing warmth on their feet during cold mornings? Radiant floor heating is a game changer for homeowners.
And since heat rises, it’s arguably an economical way to heat your home.
Think about it.
While air pushed through a traditional heating system will blow in dust, particles, and allergens, your floor’s heat rises without causing a stir.
Instead of wasting your money heating through pushed air, hoping it warms up enough before it rises, you start at the lowest part of your room and heat it from the most efficient place possible.
Here are a few things you should know about radiant floor heating.
Why is radiant floor heating better than typical heating systems?
- Radiant heating is typically more comfortable because it feels warmer, it takes longer to rise, and it heats objects (including you) in your home much better than other systems. This means you feel warmer even if your thermostat is set lower.
- It heats other surfaces in your home as it rises so there are less cold things taking heat away from you.
- Heat feels more consistent–less thermostat juggling between too cold and too hot. This can also help you save on your energy bills.
- Cuts down on dust and allergens tracked in through air flow in other heating systems.
- Dry heat from other heating systems can dry out your nose and eyes causing discomfort.
- Realistically, it always depends on your unique circumstances. So make sure to talk to professionals and get quotes to compare before you commit.
What kind of radiant floor heating systems are there?
- Hydronic: Hydronic systems are heated with hot water (about 120 degrees Fahrenheit) flowing inside tubing under your floor. This system can be installed by being embedded in concrete, being stapled under your subflooring, fitted to specifically designed panels, and over existing cement. You can pretty much use any kind of flooring over the top of it, which is nice.
- Electric: Electric systems are heated with electric cables and are considered supplemental to another heating system. This system can be installed via pre-accessorized mats set in mortar over the subfloor or through heating pads under floating floors such as laminate. Typically floating floors such as ceramic, laminate, and engineered hardwood are popular finished flooring choices.
Will heated floors lower my energy costs?
- Hydronic floor heating systems can lower your energy costs since it uses a boiler to heat your home with low water temperatures. Radiant heat like this helps you feel more comfortable at lower temperatures which then leads to lower energy bills.
- Electric floor heating systems are typically only used in a couple rooms, such as a bathroom or a kitchen. Electric heat is pretty expensive so that’s why they’re limited to certain rooms. However, using smart home appliances, programming your thermostat, in combination with electric floor heating may help save on energy costs.
What if I don’t want to pull up my already-installed floors?
- You may find a company that sells radiant mats in your area. They fit in under the subfloor. This means you’d install them from a basement or something like it. And you additionally need to install some insulation under the pads so that the heat goes up instead of down.
What are the cons of radiant flooring?:
- The biggest con of radiant heating systems is that it’s not very useful to cool your home. While you current system probably does both heating and cooling through the same ducts. Radiant cool is not typically cost effective and may even require a dehumidifier.
- It’s perhaps most ideal to install radiant floor heating when building a home, though it is possible to get it in your existing home.
How much do radiant floors cost?
- Hydronic heating system: It may cost more than air circulation air systems, in the long run it should save you money because of the energy savings and efficiency. The cost of the project will vary based on size and whether you need to tear out flooring to install it. Generally a professional installation of a hydronic system in an existing home will cost $6-16/square foot which amounts to anywhere between $9,000 – 22,000 for a 1,500 square foot home . A hydronic heating system would most likely be less in a new home before a floor is already installed.
- Electric radiant heating system:You can expect to pay $8-12/sq foot with professional install. Less if you just buy the materials and do it yourself. But electric systems do cost more to run and works better when joined with another heating system. They’re ususally better suited to just a room or two.
Would solar energy make radiant floor heating systems even more affordable and efficient?
- Solar energy is a great way to make your home more energy-efficient. If you added a radiant floor heating system, it’s going to be that much better. Even the electric floor heating system would function better in energy-efficiency and money saved since solar brings the cost of energy down so much. However, the energy-efficiency would be higher in the hydronic version especially since solar can be used to heat the water.
Like any home project, it’s always best to call around and get an idea of cost and if it can actually improve your life.
Use Home Professionals free quote finder below to get connected to the best pros in your area and find out if radiant heating can help you save money and energy today.