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Hydronic Floor Heating

Why It Is Better Than Other Heating Types

Hydronic floor heating is one of the two types of radiant in floor heating. The other kind uses electrical cables beneath the floor’s surface for conducting the electricity that produces heat.

Hydronic in floor heating uses hot water flowing through the same place, instead of electrical cables. This floor heating type is the more popular of the two radiant floor heating methods.

It is considered more efficient. Hot water tubing maintains residual heat for longer periods than do the electrical cables. It is also considered safer, since obviously no electrical fires can start through the use of hot water.

The "drawback" to hydronic in floor heating is that it is more expensive to install initially. However, the long-term savings on your heating bill more than make up for this up front cost.

Radiant hydronic floor heating is better than forced air vent heating for a number of reasons

  1. More economical. After the initial cost of installation, radiant in floor heating saves you up to 30% on your heating bills each and every year - a tremendous long-term savings.
  2. Cleaner. No more filthy vents, no more recycled air that brings with it all manner of dust, mildew, mold, spores, dead bugs, pollen, and other allergens or substances that interfere with the breathing.
  3. Quieter. In fact, it’s soundless. No more rattle and hum of the heating element going on and off all the time.
  4. Invisible. No more vents to look at or to get in the way of furniture and decor placement, and no sight of any heating elements at all.
  5. More comfortable. With radiant floor heating, you can walk barefoot across your floors in the middle of Winter and still be warm. Objects in the room are also warmed--so, no more unpleasant shock of sitting on the cold couch or chair. When your feet are warm, when objects in the room are radiating warmth, then you are truly warm and comfortable. So, you’re getting greater warmth and comfort for less cost.

Hydronic in floor heating actually goes all the way back to the Romans, but as you can imagine there have been many new developments since those days. Hydronic in floor heating was re-introduced in modern times in the mid-20th century by architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright but, unfortunately, all that they had available to them was copper piping which eventually corroded and would have cost a fortune to replace, and rather poor heating control technology. When the copper pipes corroded, homeowners just switched to the forced air vents so familiar to us.

But today, the state of the art hydronic floor heating systems use PEX radiant tubing within in a concrete mass known as Gypsum Concrete or "Gypcrete." Most of the time this works perfectly, but there is an even newer development called a low-mass or modular board underlayment system.

Instead of embedding the hot water tubing in concrete, the PEX tubing gets set in the grooves of pre-cut wood panels. This method was developed to make installation easier for remodeling, and is now being used in most new home construction projects.

With hydronic in floor heating systems, you are able to make use of a variety of energy sources for heating the water, including: an electric boiler; a gas water heater; a wood burning boiler; a heat pump; a solar collector; or, geothermal energy. The flowing hot water warms up your floors to approximately 85 degrees Fahrenheit at the most.

If you know how ceramic tiles being heated by direct sunlight feel, this is how your floors of any material will feel--all the time that you have the heat on (after an initial heat-up period if you turn the heater off for a while). Zone controls adapt the floors in different rooms to your desired temperatures.

Hydronic floor heating typically costs anywhere from $6 to $15 per square foot to have installed, depending upon the complexity of the job. This up front cost is well worth every dime you spend on it. Keep in mind the myriad advantages of hydronic  floor heating systems.

Check out this Youtube video for some extra information tidbits.

Hydronic Floor Heating Articles

Hydronic Floor Heating Benefits - There are two main types of heating used in houses, gas and electric, with both of those forced air heating is the most common, but hydronic floor heating is a great alternative to the forced air heating.

Hydronic Floor Heating - Installation Concerns - Conservation of energy is not the only reason that up to 30% of new homeowners are turning to hydronic floor heating. Remodeling projects  are also looking the this heat form that makes sense for comfort, durability and saving money on a long term basis.

Hydronic Heating - How It Works - The field of hydronic heating uses water circulated throughout to heat the home. The water is actually recycled and therefore is considered green energy, leaving a smaller carbon footprint in its wake. Whether you live in an older home or a new building, hydronics can be used for your heating enjoyment.