Radiant heating is best known for the fact that it is one of the most comfortable heating systems. After that the next best thing about radiant heating is the efficiency that it provides. Unfortunately there are many systems that are installed without efficiency in mind and really do no better than any other hot water heating system. This deprives the homeowner of probably the most important benefit of a radiant heating system.
Over the past twenty years radiant heating has come to the best a very acceptable way of heating. As I have watched this heating become more popular, I also have watched many people do it all wrong and then wonder why this latest and greatest heating system does not perform properly or save them any money.
The biggest mistake that people make is that they think they can install a radiant heating system for the same amount of money as any other hot water heating system. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If anyone ever tells you that they can do that run as far and as fast away from them as you can! A properly installed radiant heat system will cost you more money! The benefits will offset that, but you must spend the money upfront. Also, just installing a high efficiency boiler does not give you a high efficiency heating system. A great heating system involves much more than just a high efficiency boiler!
To have a radiant heating system that will perform efficiently you will need to install radiant heat plates with your tubing, install the radiant tubing in a gypcrete or concrete pour, or install your tubing in a specially prepared sub floor. These three methods will allow you to heat your home or building with very low temperature water. Low temperature water is what gives you high efficiency. If you have to crank up the temperature of the water to get the heat out of the pipes and into the room you are fighting a losing battle.
So, if you are considering a radiant heating system there are really only three considerations for you. Good quality radiant heat plates that attach to the sub floor with a reflective insulation under that to give the radiant heat the signal to go up. Pouring the radiant tubing into the concrete of a basement floor, or gypcrete (light weight concrete), over the sub floor of upper floors. In either instance make sure that you use a good quality insulation under the floor. Insulation for radiant systems is another topic that I will have to cover in a future article. Thirdly, there are products made that are specifically made to be incorporated into the sub floor that accept the radiant tubing. Grooves are cut into the sub floor and the tubing is inserted into the grooves. Usually these products will have a type of plate and insulation incorporated into the product.
A radiant heating system is one of the very best types of heat you can have if it is installed correctly! A correctly installed system will give you many years of service with the lowest possible operating cost. It will be maintenance free and trouble free give you many years of comfort, with no worry or fuss. When you are looking to buy a radiant heating system look around for the company that will give you one of these options. Not just be trying to get you to buy on price. If they are cutting price to get you to buy, the chances are that they are also cutting their quality to get to that price. That will never give you the best deal when it comes to a radiant heating system.