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Radiant Floor Heating: The Facts, Perks and Drawbacks

Posted on March 28th, 2014 by

Flooring for Radient HeatIf you are considering radiant floor heating for your San Diego home, you probably have a lot of questions. What kinds of radiant floor heating are available? Does it work better with some flooring types than others? Read on to learn the answers while discovering the benefits and drawbacks of radiant floor heating.

Types of Radiant Floor Heating

The most popular type of radiant floor heating is electric. With electric radiant heat installation all mesh, wires or heating elements are placed underneath the surface of your floor. You can also install a hydronic radiant heat system, which channels warm water throughout your floors.

The Best and Worst Floors for Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant heating works best when installed under stone and tile flooring. These floors have a natural tendency to be uncomfortably cold and they do not present a barrier to heat transference. Alternatively, you can install a radiant system underneath carpet, vinyl or hardwood floors, but it will not perform as well. These flooring types act like insulation – you will need to set the temperature much higher to get the same amount of warmth as you would with a tile or stone surface.

The Perks

There are many things that you will love about radiant floor heating. Since you won’t have furnace vents or baseboard heaters, furniture placement is not a problem. Additionally, because it warms the whole floor, there won’t be hot and cold spots throughout the house and, as we all know, heat rises so floor heaters act as a replacement for your household heating.

The Costs

Before purchasing it’s important to take into consideration the costs differences between electric and hydronic systems. The cost to run anelectric system is often comparable to the cost of running a water heater, so you’ll have to allot some extra money for the electric bill. However, an electric system is typically cheaper and easier to install than a hydronic system. Hot water systems have no duct-work, meaning that no heat is lost as air travels through vents, making them more efficient and cheaper to run in the long haul.  Yet, hydronic heaters are costlier to install.

The Drawbacks

Unlike many HVAC systems, most radiant systems only heat the home – you will need to look elsewhere for cooling. There are hydronic systems available that can pump cool water throughout your floors, but it can lead to condensation problems. When it comes to installation, keep in mind that radiant floor heating is best when installed by professionals at the same time you’re getting your new home flooring in San Diego installed. If you aren’t planning on removing your existing floors, finding creative ways to retrofit and upgrade your home can get costly.

If you need some advice on what flooring is best for your home and how to get affordable sub-floor heating, contact Unique Flooring in San Diego at 760.945.0010. We’d be happy to set up a free consultation so that together we can find your flooring solution!

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