It is no mystery that heat rises, and yet, there are many heating systems that include air ducts mounted in the ceiling or near the top of a wall. The most efficient systems use heat sources low in the room so that the heat can rise and warm the entire room rather than leaving cold spots at the bottom and warm spots up high. If you are considering a system that will heat from the bottom up, there are many options but radiant heat might be the best for you.
What Is Radiant Heating?
Radiant heating systems us a hot water boiler and include flexible tubing mounted under the floor of your home that carries hot water through them. The heat radiates off the tubing and warms the floor and air about them. It creates a very even heat in the room. These systems do require the flooring material to be torn up for installation but if you are remodeling or building a new home, the time may be right to install radiant heating.
Heating System Requirements
In order for you to install radiant heating, you will need to have a hot water boiler in your home. If you do not have one, you can upgrade the system. One advantage to upgrading the heating system is that the newer boilers are very efficient. They also offer you on-demand domestic hot water, and since you can remove the hot water heater, you save money on your hot water. Talk to your heating contractor about how large a boiler you need to heat your home before you get started.
Heating In Zones
Heating your home with hot water offers you the advantage of heating in zones. The system can be set up so that you have multiple thermostats in the home that control specific areas. This works well to keep the home comfortable everywhere. One advantage this offers is that you can heat your main level at one temperature and run the second floor a little lower. Since the hot air is going to rise anyway, this helps to keep the upper level comfortable instead of making it warmer than the lower floors. Since the zones can be used any way you want, you could zone one room or several separate from the rest of the house. Imagine your bathroom with radiant heating under the, usually cold, tile floors, including its own thermostat. You would never be cold getting out of the shower again.
The most efficient flooring for radiant heating systems is tile or wood flooring. Putting the radiant heat under a carpet would be very inefficient and would likely result in cold rooms. These systems work very well under laminate flooring as well. If you are laying down a wood laminate flooring, the tubing can be added to the spec between the studs under the floor first. Talk to a heating contractor about flooring options to determine if a radiant heating system is going to work in your home.