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Radiant Heat Floors - Electric or Hydronic?

May 26, 2008
Radiant floor heat usually comes in two types: electric and hydronic. Most new homes don't have this kind of heat anymore because it is more expensive to install than forced air. It is a shame because radiant heat is far superior to the forced heat that is installed nowdays. Also, in the long run, radiant heat is less expensive.

Electric radiant heat works very similar to the way a toaster works. Electric wiring underneath the floor heats up as electricity is conducted through it. That makes the wires hot which in turn heats the floors. The heat from the floors slowly rises and heats the room. This kind of heat is evenly distributed throughout the room and is silent.

Electric radiant floor heat is usually accomplished by placing panels with wires attached underneath the floors of a home. These panels are attached to an electrical circuit that can be turned on and off and is sometimes controlled by a thermostat. Many times, homeowners will choose to install electric radiant heat in the rooms of their house which have cold floors such as the bathroom and kitchen. This type of heating is especially nice when you get up in the morning and everything is cold.

The second kind of radiant heat is hydronic heat which involves heating water. Heated water goes back and forth in strong tubing that is placed underneath the floor. This type of radiant floor heat is more likely to be installed in new homes as the pipes need to by set in some form of cement. This makes hydronic heat floors more complicated to install and more expensive than their electric counterparts.

Hydronic heated floors stay warmer longer than electric ones because water carries the heat longer than electricity. Another advantage is that you can heat the water in a variety of ways such as gas, electricity, solar, or a wood boiler. this gives you a little more versatility than with electric radiant heat.

No matter which of the two types of heat you choose, radiant floor heat will make you home warm and comfortable for a long time to come. It may be more expensive up front to install this type of heat but it will save you money in the long run. You will also find that the silent, evenly distributed heat you get from radiant heat will make you wonder why you didn't make the switch years ago.
About the Author
Learn more about radiant heat and it's many advantages at Radiant Floor Heat. If you want to find out how to install radiant heat floors please visit my site.
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