Article written by Morgan Muir
I am writing this article so that architects and builders can learn more about radiant floor heating, and to provide a tool for introducing clients to radiant floor heating, and why they should choose Ecowarm RadiantBoard.
The benefits of radiant floor heating over traditional forced air systems
There are many reasons to employ radiant floor heating in your custom home design. The first reason is from a design perspective — since it can not be seen, radiant floor heating permits more aesthetic home design options.
Forced air heating requires grills and return air locations, and mini split heat pumps have unsightly wall terminal units or grills for ducted versions. Using either ducted heat pumps or traditional forced air requires large ducts, which the home design must bend around, or be butchered by the mechanical contractor just trying to do their work.
Why does radiant heat feel more comfortable than forced air?
From a physics perspective, forced air and radiant systems operate differently and the comfort they can achieve is different as well. A radiant system heats primary objects, not air, and seeks to bring all objects in a room, including you, to what is called the mean radiant temperature.
The primary effect of radiant heating all the objects, including cool windows, is that your body does not have to radiate heat to those cool objects to meet the mean radiant temperature. One has a sense of well being in a radiant heated home because your body does not have to work so hard. Weird.
Another benefit of radiant floor heating is just that …it keeps your feet from getting cold. Old people, like me, really like that. Toddlers love playing on a radiant floor. Cats love radiant floors and dogs too.
And because fewer drafts are associated with radiant floor heating systems they are prized by those with allergies.
How radiant floor heat eliminates uncomfortable drafts while saving energy
We are all familiar with large vaulted spaces favored in custom home and log/timber homes and the big, and not so pretty, ceiling fan that come with them. Hot air rises and fills the top of tall, big rooms wasting energy and creating natural or induced fan draft. Not too comfortable or efficient. As radiant primarily heats objects much of those inefficient and uncomfortable drafts are eliminated.
Flooring Goods over Radiant Heat
With radiant floor heating, the floor is part of the heating system. As such, the flooring goods placed over the floor must be considered in the design phase of a project. The heat transfer characteristics of the flooring goods must be taken into account and are discussed in much more detail here. The installation details for various types of flooring goods over radiant heat are discussed here.
Ecowarm RadiantBoard Offers Effective Specification
Ecowarm provides a thorough design and installation manual, but more importantly a CAD Layout and Design Service that shows the contractor exactly where to install the Radiantboard, the radiant tubing and manifolds. The architect need not be concerned with those details, as they are taken care of. Go here for a sample CFI specification . All in all, this service provides more project quality control and easier installation.
About the Author
Morgan Muir has been involved in the radiant heating industry since 1987 serving on the Board of Directors for the Radiant Panel Association and building a hydronic heating and solar manufacturers representative firm in Northern California teaching over 250 classes on radiant heating, heat sources, and controls. Morgan works on marketing for the company.