What Does Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Look Like?

Mon, 04/01/2013 - 15:56

If you have ever wondered what hydronic radiant floor heating looks like you should watch our thermographic videos. Using a thermographic camera we measured the heat output and panel temperatures of Warmboard and competing radiant systems. You'll see the exceptional performance of Warmboard when tested head to head against alternative radiant floor heating options.

To obtain accurate data, temperatures were taken from just above the center of each radiant heat panel. Striping differences were also gathered from this area. Temperatures from on top of the tube were compared to temperatures at the midpoint between the tubing pattern. All panels were in an environment with a 65º F air temperature and had 120º F water temperature. The insulation over the panels had a R-Value of 2.22.

Watch the video below to see Warmboard's performance against the most popular style of radiant heating in the US - Concrete. It is an old technology that has seen very little change over the last hundred years. This video shows tubing in Gypsum Concrete at 12" apart. Warmboard tubing is also 12" apart.

You’ll see Warmboard reaches a surface temperature of 70º F and outputs 10 BTUs per sq ft in just about 20 minutes. The Gypsum Concrete took 2.5 hours to reach 70º F – a very long time to wait if you’re cold in the morning - and output only 1 BTU per sq ft in the first 20 minutes.

The striping (temperature variation across the surface of a panel) only varies by 2.4º F on Warmboard while the Gypsum Concrete is at 5.9º - a sizeable temperature variation you will be able to feel inside your home. At the 3 hour mark Warmboard generates 20 BTUs per sq ft while the Gypsum Concrete produces 12. This means Warmboard is more effectively producing heat and using the energy you pay for more efficiently.

You can also watch the comparison of Warmboard to Gypsum Concrete with tubing at 6" apart below. Like the other tests Warmboard reaches a surface temperature of 70º F and outputs 10 BTUs per sq ft in just about 20 minutes. The Gypsum Concrete took 3x as long to reach the same temperature and BTU output. That is a significant and uncomfortable amount of time to wait for radiant heat, even with tubing at 6". The tighter tubing spacing means more tubing and manifolds (and labor) are added to the cost of a 6” Gypsum Concrete radiant floor heating system.

For those installing hardwood over radiant, these results would be even more dramatic. A home with gypsum concrete will also require sleepers (not used in our videos). Sleepers are wooden 2x4s located every 12 inches within the concrete pour which allow the hardwood to be nailed down properly. These 2x4s break up the cement space and interrupt the transfer of heat across the surface. The result is much higher striping and much more noticeable temperature differences in the home. Hardwood can be nailed directly to Warmboard, avoiding all these hassles while simplifying the install process.

We also tested Quik Trak radiant floor heating panels and the results below show the superior performance of Warmboard. 20 minutes after the test has begun, Warmboard has achieved a panel temperature of 70º F and has output 10 BTUs per sq ft. Quik Trak is able to reach this temperature and BTU output after 1 hour 20 minutes – 4x as long!

The striping (temperature variation across the surface of a panel) only varies by 2.1º F on Warmboard while Quik Trak is at 4.9º. After 2 hours, Warmboard generates 16 BTUs per sq ft while Quik Trak produces only 10. Warmboard radiant heat is once again using energy more efficiently and responding faster to the homeowner's heating needs. Keep in mind that tubing on the Warmboard panel is 12” apart while Quik Trak tubing is at 7” increments. This means more tubing, manifolds and labor are added to the Quik Trak cost as well as longer installation time.

These videos show how quickly Warmboard radiant heating responds and how efficiently Warmboard uses energy. Compared to other radiant floor heating methods it is clear that Warmboard is the superior choice for performance which equals comfort, lower energy bills, and the ultimate peace of mind.

You can see our other thermographic videos below:
Thermal Board


Staple-Up (High Temperature)

Eco Warm


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