Solar Floor Heating
The Distinct Advantages Of Using Solar
Heating For Your Floors
Solar floor heating is one of the most modern floor heating systems available today. Solar energy is not only an
environmentally friendly option but also it can help to save thousands in electricity bills and reduce reliability
on traditional energy grids.
This energy can be used in its active form where heat energy from the sun is converted to
electrical energy through a set up and in its passive form where you can harness it without a set up, merely
through the proper positioning of windows.
Solar floor heating falls in the first category; if you are keen on using solar energy to heat
the floors in your house, here is a look at how this heating works, its benefits and the edge that it has over
regular heating options.
How does solar floor heating work?
Solar energy is used to heat air or water that is passed through pipes installed in between a
sub layer and the floor. As the hot water or air passes through these pipes, the metal heats up; this heat energy
is in turn absorbed by the flooring material.
Different types of solar floor heating
Although the heat collectors use the sun as their primary source of energy, they can be used in
two different types of floor heating assemblies. There are several common factors between the two systems; for
instance, the thermal mass of the floor which acts as a large and natural storage device; it also functions as a
heat sink which prevents the floor from overheating. Based on the fluid in the solar floor heating system, they can
be classified into two categories:
Solar Radiant Air Floors: In this system, solar energy is used to heat the air
which is then circulated through air passages made in the flooring with material such as plastic drain pipes,
hollow core concrete panels, concrete blocks laid on their side or layers of corrugated steel. The air when passing
through the passages helps to heat the flooring material. While solar radiant air floors are more cost effective
and easy to install, the system is not very efficient as air tends to lose heat energy faster than other
Solar Radiant Hydronic Floors: In this type of a under floor heating system,
solar energy is used to heat water stored in a tank which is then circulated through the system with the help of
tubing laid below the floor in a pattern.
Individual thermostats with solenoid valves and manifold are used to regulate the flow of the
hot water to each room in the house.
The active solar energy system is hooked up to the radiant hydronic floors in two ways:
The simplest assembly involves pumping the heat transfer fluid (hot water) directly from the solar
collectors to the tubing in the floor. However, this system offers very little control over the
temperature, hence over heating or under heating are inherent flaws in such as assembly. If you
underestimate the area to storage mass ratio of the solar collector, you will end up with too much heat
and if you overestimate it, you will have very cold floors. Most solar floor heating systems will
incorporate an electronic pump control device that regulates the system.
A more suitable and efficient solar floor heating assembly is one in which the hot water is transferred
from the solar collectors to a storage tank. The fluid is then pumped through the piping and a heat
exchanger is used to warm the floors, mimicking the solar thermal glycol based systems. This type of an
assembly offers better temperature control and enhances the heat storage capacity of the system.
Benefits of solar floor heating
Can be used to warm floors throughout the house - Solar floor heating are
perfect to be used in spaces that are prone to water spillage and high moisture such as bathrooms and kitchens.
Can be used with a variety of flooring materials - It can also be used to
warm wood as well as marble floors, along with carpets and tiles.
Offers Steady Heat - You get consistent heat through out the long dreary winter
months; also, warm floors provide just the right environment for comfort where your head is cool while your feet
feel toasty warm.
Energy Efficient - Because your feet are in contact with the heat source, you
will be able to keep the thermostat setting on low, which will help you to save as much as 20% to 40% on your
Complete control over temperature - You will be able to control the temperature
in every room of your home with solar floor heating, so that you can provide the maximum amount of heat where it's
needed the most.
Does not interfere with the decor - Because the assembly is encased in the
floor, it does not interfere with the decor of your home. You do not have to worry about unsightly heating
devices or even hampering the even distribution of heat.
No forced air - Solar floor heating is particularly suitable for people who
suffer from air borne allergies. Because there are no noisy fans that blow allergens and dust, you do not have to
worry about allergy flare ups. Also, warm floors dry faster, deterring bacteria from infesting crevices in the
Will help you to make use of the damp areas in your home - With solar floor
radiant heating, you can also turn the damp, inhabitable areas of your home, such as the basement into comfortable
and cozy living space, thus adding to the value of your home.
The advantages of solar floor heating over regular floor heating
It does not rely on traditional energy sources, so it's more affordable and cost effective.
It's safer than electrical floor heating systems that are prone to failure and electrical issues.
- The heating cables used in electrical floor heating systems are prone to splicing which may lead to a short
Electrical floor heating systems that are not grounded can give electrical shocks.
Also, electrical systems produce EMF (electromagnetic radiation); this can lead to several health
concerns in the occupants of a house that uses electrical floor heating because of increased exposure
to the radiation.
A solar floor heating system offers just the right amount of heat and you have better control over
the temperature than in an electrical system that might over heat and pose a fire hazard or damage
the flooring material.