Upgrading your home with energy efficient features can be hugely beneficial for long-term savings, not to mention increasing the value and comfort of the home. Whether you’re undertaking a brand new build or embarking on a renovation, it’s important to consider the benefits of floor heating systems. Is it really a costly luxury? We can help shed some light, debunk floor heating myths, and ultimately highlight the benefits of hydronic radiant floor heating systems and why it’s a worthwhile investment.
This is our 2023 guide to floor heating and everything you need to know — floor to ceiling.
What Are Floor Heating Systems?
As the name would suggest, these systems are used to create heat and provide comfort straight from the floor. The floor heating industry has quickly taken off over the last decade. Homeowners may consider it a luxury cost. However, it’s important to understand that there are long-term benefits from installing floor heat, aside from just your typical happy toes. Later on, we’ll point out some obvious savings benefits, as well as improvements in home efficiencies. In short, radiant floor heating will actually exceed the performance of your current home’s heat equipment while making you more comfortable.
How In Floor Heating Works
Heated floors are also known by another name by industry providers: radiant heating systems. These systems can be broken into two categories: electrical wires and hydronic. Here’s the basic rundown for each:
Electrical Radiant Heating
An electric radiant heating system is often easier to set up and install. Electrical wires or electrical mats are placed underneath desired flooring. These wires are woven in a serpentine pattern to ensure proper and even distribution of heat. Electrical systems are sometimes placed within the thin-set underneath the floor, but it can also be secured without adhesives. With the use of electricity, the woven wires conduct heat and transfer it throughout the floor.
Hydronic Radiant Heating
A hydronic radiant heating system has a more complex setup than its electrical counterpart. Still, hydronic heat, arguably, provides a more efficient method for in floor heating. Essentially, plastic water pipes are placed beneath the desired flooring. Using a boiler or other method to heat the water, hot warm flows through the tubing. The heat is then dispersed throughout a room.
As a general rule, electric radiant is used to warm the floor in a small area, such as a kitchen or bathroom A primary heating system, such as forced air heating, would still be required. Hydronic floor heating is used for much larger areas, and in many scenarios, can be used as the whole home heating system, with no other heating system required.
How Does Hot Water Radiant Heat Work?
To understand how hot water radiant heat works, let’s break it down with some basics. Radiant heating is simply one form of heat transference. For example, an object that is producing heat can provide warmth from even across a room via infrared radiation. Radiant heating systems, therefore, can supply heat directly to the floor or to the panel in the wall or ceiling of a house. Radiant heating directs heat on contact to the body and to objects within the room.
Benefits of Choosing Warmboard Hydronic Radiant Heating
Hydronic radiant heating systems can be expensive due to their complexity. Some systems require multiple equipment installations provided by different manufacturers to complete a full setup. With Warmboard, we have designed a system that is all inclusive. With our Warmboard Comfort System, we’ve combined the latest technology for hardware and software that allows homeowners to quickly, easily, and more efficiently manage their floor heating system. Homeowners can choose to utilize natural gas, resistive electric, propane, or an electric air-to-water heat pump as a fuel source.
The benefits of the Warmboard Comfort System are incorporated into the design and simple installation. Every item in WCS has been designed to work in tandem, offering an end-to-end solution that borders on plug and play. Our touch screen thermostats maintain temperatures within 1° accuracy.
But what are the major benefits of hydronic radiant heat in general?
Major Bonuses of Choosing Hydronic Radiant Heat
We know that there are many options to heating your home, from radiators and space heaters to traditional furnaces and forced air systems. So what sets hydronic radiant heat systems apart from the rest?
The benefits of radiant heating are simple. Here are few to outline:
1. Radiant Heat Improves Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency is crucial for the majority of homeowners. It can save on costs, but also reduce carbon footprint, therefore, furthering the cause for those pursuing eco-friendly consumption.
In general, hydronic radiant heat uses significantly less energy than conventional heating methods. The major ways in which it helps to improve energy efficiency includes:
- Providing heat where you need it most
- Creating separate heating zones for each room
- Eliminating energy loss from standard in-ceiling ducts and ventilation systems
- Reducing energy consumption with smart-touch thermostats
Learn more about ways in which Warmboard can save you long-term costs and trends in energy efficient homes with radiant heat.
2. Radiant Heat Improves Air Quality
In conventional forced air systems that use fans and blowers to push warm air through ducts that circulate throughout a home, air quality can be compromised. These noisy fans and blowers kick up and circulate dirt, dust, allergens, and germs that then become airborne in a home.
Hydronic radiant heat systems, alternatively, use pumps that silently transport warm or hot water efficiently without releasing any allergens or irritants. It can eliminate the need for vents and ducts within the home altogether. This makes hydronic radiant heat a superior choice for homeowners with allergies and respiratory conditions.
3. Radiant Heat Makes a Home More Comfortable
While comfort is somewhat subjective, this point certainly cannot be contested, and it is the primary reason people choose to incorporate radiant floor heating into their homes. Radiant heat will provide superior quality comfort in every home space, regardless of outdoor climate. Imagine being able to walk through your home barefoot, or stepping directly out of the shower without the need of carpets or rugs to make the cold flooring more tolerable. Radiant floor heating removes cold floors, no matter where you live or the type of flooring you are using. Hydronic radiant floor heating brings comfort in three major ways:
- Installing warmth to your homes’ flooring
- Quiet operations to help provide a more calm home and better sleep
- Zoning for better control of temperatures room-by-room
Radiant heat systems are installed directly under the floor and are compatible with most types of flooring. They provide a comfortable in-floor heat that gently warms you while simultaneously warming the room as a whole. Find some of our pointers for successfully installing Warmboard-S systems here.
4. Radiant Heating Can Help Save You Money
Who wants to pay more on heating costs every winter? Reality is that most heating systems are costly during cold seasons. Loss of heat from typical forced heat can not only cost you warmth in the room, but also drastically run up your heating bill. One of the reasons that hydronic radiant heat is labeled eco-friendly is its ability to eliminate waste in heat usage.
Individuals who upgrade to energy-efficient radiant heating systems report saving somewhere between 25% to 50% on their monthly utility energy bill.
Radiant heat energy savings are provided by the way in which the system operates. Radiant heat can warm specific areas of the home accurately and precisely. Since the heat comes from beneath the floor, there is no hot air rising to the ceiling, or circulated through unoccupied rooms. The floor is the optimal position for heating, which helps make radiant heat the perfect solution for your home. And as noted before, with “zoning”, you can set the optimal temperature for each area of your house, ensuring no money is wasted heating, or overheating, areas where it is not wanted.
5. Hydronic Radiant Heat Can Be Compatible With Your Flooring
It’s a common misconception that hydronic radiant heat only works with homes that use tile flooring. Heated water in floor tubing seems to limit homeowners options, but in fact, with modern technology, hydronic radiant heat works with most flooring types.
The bottom line is that with modern radiant heat systems, you can use essentially any type of flooring. Tile, hardwood, even carpet. The design options are numerous compared to just a couple decades ago.
6. Free Up Your Floor Space with Hydronic Radiant Heat
Eliminate the need for radiator heating in a home and reduce the space heating systems take up. While floor radiators provide adequate heat sources, they’re also clunky and have plenty of limitations. Play with more space and get more options for how you choose to arrange a given room. Radiant floor heat can help a space feel less cramped and gives you more flexible options for furniture placement. Ditch unsightly radiators altogether.
How Does Hydronic Radiant Heat Perform?
We know that hydronic radiant floor heating systems provide an eco-friendly, energy efficient method for creating heat within a home. They provide sustainable energy and reliable heat for every room. However, how do you know if your hydronic radiant heating system is performing optimally and you’re making the most of your radiant heat source?
1. Take Advantage of Our Technology
Using touch-screen technology, homeowners can control their radiant heat system directly. Operate your system in the way that suits your lifestyle needs. With the Warmboard Comfort System, you can access full control of the home’s heat.
Our intuitive, touch-screen thermostats can get your custom program up and running in just a few taps. Set it and forget it. We even provide “Vacation Mode” to turn down the whole home while you’re away. These thermostats are designed to blend in with your home’s decor, as well.
Additionally, we know that an essential ingredient to home comfort is control. With smart technology zoning, you can set each room to an ideal temperature. Want your bedroom at 65º, your living room at 70º and your bathroom at 73º? No problem. Our intuitive thermostat makes programming a breeze, and you can easily set schedules for each room based on your needs. Even turn that guest room “off” until needed to save energy.
2. Temperature Accuracy
All thermostats rely on a 3 degree temperature spread. When you set your thermostat to 70º, the thermostat instructs the system to keep heating until the home is 71º. When the house reaches 68º, the system kicks back on until the thermostat reads 71º. The on/off cycle repeats endlessly as any homeowner well knows.
The controls included in our Warmboard Comfort System however are different. Our thermostats rely on a 1º temperature variance. It does this by measuring temperature changes in the room down to 1/100th of a degree. As the temperature slope increases (or decreases), the system adjusts its output to ensure the room temperature stays just as the temperature you desire.
Best Areas of the Home To Install Hydronic Radiant Heat System
Floor heating systems are the future, but what areas of a home are prime for this technology? Warmboard Comfort Systems were designed to provide homeowners the control for room-by-room temperatures. Our hydronic radiant floor heating is a whole home heating solution, designed to provide comfort beneath every square inch of your house. Long-term use can provide substantial energy savings.
Are Heated Floors Safe?
Floor heating systems are a great way to upgrade your home’s features and provide the ultimate benefits that we’ve outlined above. Installing a heated floor can be a huge undertaking and a costly investment upfront. But understanding the major long-term gains can help you make a final decision on moving forward with installing a floor heating system. Are heated floors safe though?
The short answer: Yes. But here are some basics you should know:
- You will not shock yourself with electric floor heating
- Your floors will not become too hot
- When properly installed, leaks are incredibly rare with hydronic radiant floors. All system components are pressure tested and checked before and after the flooring installation to ensure everything is working properly
How Does the Radiant Floor Heating Installation Process Work?
If you choose to work with Warmboard, we provide solutions whether you’re building a custom home or remodeling an existing space. We’ll work with you to provide recommendations on the best products and options for your radiant floor home heating project. Our mission is to simplify the floor heating installation process from start to finish.
Our award-winning radiant heating panels are installed just like traditional subfloor. Our team will work to give you all of the information and drawings you’ll need. Because our hydronic radiant heating equipment is a full in-home heating system, the boilers and controls can often be installed in 1 or 2 days, versus the 1 or 2 weeks by more traditional methods.
Learn more about how to get started with Warmboard.
Floor Heating Systems Summary: Is It Worth It?
We’ve provided a full rundown of all of the major benefits of in floor heating for home installation. Radiant floor heating is a simple and eco-friendly way to warm a home and keep your environment comfortable and energy-efficient. Upfront costs for installing radiant heat can be a sizable investment, but results show that homeowners tend to save with long-term gains. In fact, a survey conducted with our customers showed radiant floor heating was consistently in the top 3 favorite features in their new home.
Ultimately, underfloor heating provides substantial cost savings.
If you’re considering remodeling your home bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, basement, or any other room, or you’re looking to install a floor heating system in your brand new building, we’d be happy to speak with you about one of the best, all-inclusive solutions on the floor heating market. Warmboard provides guidance on specifications, requirements and ways to optimize floor heating systems. We’d love to speak with you about your next project. Contact us directly for more information on the Warmboard Comfort System.