Radiant heating is as old as the Colosseum in Rome. Seriously.
The Romans used this technique to heat the marble floors in their villas. You don’t need to have the wealth of an emperor to consider adding radiant heating when redoing a room. If you aren’t a morning person, toasty warm floors are one way to make those early hours less painful.
The beauty of radiant heating is that it’s invisible. Under the flooring lie either tubes of hot water or electrical wires. While the air temperature remains relatively constant, you stay comfortable because the floor isn’t stealing warmth away from your body. Also, with radiant heating there aren’t dramatic ups and down in temperature. Traditional forced-air heating systems stir up dust, making radiant systems an ideal choice for allergy sufferers.
There are two main types of radiant heating systems:
Hydronic systems pump hot water in a loop from a boiler through flexible tubing embedded in the floor. You will be amazed at how well heat is evenly distributed. These systems cost on average $6 to $15 per square foot. One thing that dissuades some people from choosing a hydronic system is the installation is more tricky than the electric option, as the system is put together using components from various manufacturers. Another disadvantage to a hydronic system is the risk of rupture. Even a small slow leak from such a system could damage a home significantly over time.
Electrical systems can be more straight-forward to install and maintain, but when using the system you are at the mercy of the going rate of electricity. Prices for installing electrical systems range from $8 to $12 per square foot. While electric systems are less-risky and cheaper, they cost a bit more to operate on a regular basis.
Ceramic tiles are the most common choice to pair with radiant heating as the tile conducts heat well, but vinyl and wood are also well suited.
Also, while these systems can be appealing, especially when factoring in potential energy savings, it is important to remember that radiant systems are a one trick pony. You will still need a system for air-conditioning for when temperatures swing to the other extreme.
If the idea of stepping out of a hot shower onto a nice warm tile on a cold winter day appeals to you, someone from the bathCRATE team can help you decide which option is best for your home. Click here to start the conversation with a member of the bathCRATE team!
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