Install Radiant Floor Heating

This heating option marks an improvement over traditional forced air and home radiators.

One of the foundations of a comfortable home is the heating system you choose, but some systems can be expensive to purchase and operate. Most homes use a forced air heating system with a furnace and sheet metal ducts. However, these systems can be noisy, and often the heat rises quickly to the ceiling, which isn't very efficient. Forced air systems also can spread dust, pollen, and germs, and they can dry out your breathing passages and skin. Radiators and registers can be eyesores, and high humidity levels near floors create a habitat for dust-mites and mildew. Fortunately, there's a better way to heat your home.

Radiant floor heating uses plastic tubes built right into the floor. When the house gets cold, they fill with hot water, which heats the floor and warms the house with a quiet, clean, comfortable source of heat. Best of all, energy costs can be reduced because the thermostat can be set 2 to 4 degrees lower than the standard "forced air" system. In addition, the humidity level near the floor is low because the floor is heated, eliminating the habitat for mildew and dust mites.

When using radiant floor heating on the ground floor of the home, the best practice is to use the "wet" method. Here's how you do it on the ground floor of your home:

  • Excavate the area you wish to heat, creating a sub-base.
  • Add a layer of extruded polystyrene insulation to create your base, on top of which the rest of the floor heating system will lay. The layer should be a minimum of one inch thick.
  • Add rebar to the space, which adds strength to the floor system.
  • Tie PEX tubing to the rebar for support. PEX is used because it's flexible, long-lasting and withstands temperatures from freezing to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to pay attention to the tubing manufacturer's specifications when installing the tubing.
  • Add concrete to create your slab foundation for the floor.

Radiant floor heating is an improvement over traditional forced air and home radiators. It's quieter, the heat is more evenly distributed, and there's no ductwork to trap dust, pollen and germs. It's healthier, and it can save you money!

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