Having radiant heating in your floors can be a lifesaver during the cold winter months. Instead of feeling chilled from your feet up as you attempt to walk to the restroom in the middle of the night, you could feel the pleasant heat that emanates directly from your floor and keeps you warm. It is not only a method of heating the floors of the home, but can actually warm up the entire house and save you a good deal of money on energy costs.
How does radiant heating work?
Radiant heating is a method of supplying heat directly to the floor of your home. It is called “radiant” heat because that is how the heat reaches you: it radiates directly from the heat source, much like it does when you feel the heat of your oven from the other side of your kitchen.
This can have a number of advantages over other heat sources; for example, many people find it to be better than air heating because it doesn’t pump allergens all around the house. It is also a good way to save on energy costs as it tends to use less electricity than other heat sources. It can often make use of other energy sources than electricity as well; gas-powered boilers and solar powered water heaters can also be used, for example. Radiant heating can be installed in ceilings and walls, but can be especially effective when installed in floors. It will warm the air that circulates through the house and helps keep your home warm and cozy.
Methods of heating
There are several types of radiant heating that you can have installed in your home. Air-heated radiant floors, which are not really recommended due to their lack of efficiency, electric radiant floors, which usually work by way of electric tiles built into the floor. This method of heating the floor has its own set of advantages and disadvantages as well. It can be expensive in terms of electrical costs, although it’s possible to charge the concrete floor with heat during the off hours so that it doesn’t draw any further power during the peak heating times.
The most popular method of radiant heating is known as hydronic heating. It provides heat by pumping heated water through tubing that is set underneath the floor. It is an excellent, and relatively inexpensive method of heating the home.
When you are considering installing radiant heating, you should consider the method of heating, the installation costs, and the type of floor you have in your home. Installation costs depend on what type of heating you want to use, and what kind of floor you have in your home. Traditionally, radiant heating was really only used for tile floors, but recently, it has become popular in other types of floors as well.
Can I use radiant heating under hardwood floors?
Hardwood floors have many advantages of their own; they are the best option for allergy sufferers because they are so easy to clean and leave dust, pollen and pet dander nowhere to hide. They also last a very long time if properly cared for. If you want to install radiant heating but have hardwood floors, don’t worry! It is actually possible to add radiant heating under your hardwood floor. However, there are a few considerations you will have to make.
Most problems that people experience with their hardwood floors are caused by moisture; improper heating methods can exacerbate these problems. Modern technology, however, has largely made these problems go away. You will have to take the type of wood that you have into consideration. The most popular American hardwood floor materials, such as cherry, oak, ash, maple, hickory, and walnut, will work just fine when you install radiant heating. However, floors made of tropical wood or extremely old floors may have problems when radiant heating is installed.
Other considerations are the width of the wood; narrow floorboards are best. For maximum effectiveness the floorboards should be no wider than approximately three inches. If you must use wider planks, use quarter-sawn wood and try to make use of thinner floorboards as well. Floorboards of around three-eighths of an inch thick conduct heat the best.
Installing radiant heat under hardwood floors
The challenge when installing radiant heat under hardwood floors comes from the fact that wood naturally expands when there is moisture in the air. Since humidity affects wood so much, and the heating in your home affects humidity, you’ll have to take care not to install your radiant heating system during a particularly humid time of year. You may have to install the heating system first and wait a few weeks to lay the floorboards over it.
Once the installation has taken place, you should care for your wood floor in much the same way as you always would. Periodically test the humidity, and make sure the air doesn’t become so humid that the floor will expand and buckle. You can refinish your floor the same way that you would without a heating system underneath. Regular care and maintenance of your floor are crucial, whether or not you have installed a radiant heating system.
It’s a good idea to have a trustworthy installation service for any hardwood floor project. As a wood floor can be subject to certain problems, it’s absolutely crucial to get it installed correctly. In the Portland area, our staff at Wall2Wall can take care of any large installation project that you have, including placing a floor over a radiant heating system. We will also help you select the perfect type of wood to use for your budget, aesthetics and other considerations, such as heating systems, as well as instruct you on how to care for it afterward. If you do face any later problems with your hardwood floors, we can also help you correct them. Good luck with your hardwood floor installation project!