Water floor heating systems, also called hydronic radiant heat flooring, can significantly improve a room’s comfort by allowing hot water to provide warmth through the flooring. Forced air heating systems are inefficient because most of the warm air is directed towards the ceiling.
Many water floor heating systems are able to use alternative fuels to heat the water or food grade antifreeze that flows through the pipes under the floor. Propane or wood fuel boilers, wood heating stoves and some solar panel systems provide alternative energy sources for homes using a hydronic radiant heating system.
A few boilers use both wood and propane, and easily switch from one fuel source to the other. Newer solar hydronic heating systems may qualify new home builders for tax breaks and energy incentives.
Technology improves daily allowing for a wider range of new polymers to be used in water heating system and many have increased the efficiency of these water floor heating systems. Flexible heat-retaining pipes, common in newer homes, have replaced copper, PVC, lead and steel hot water pipes.
These pipes are known as PEX pipe and are made from cross linked polyethylene that can withstand temperatures of 200 degrees Fahrenheit and do not leach dangerous or harmful chemicals into the water. PEX pipes can be installed under existing flooring and set in concrete or under tile mortar providing home owners with many installation options. When installed correctly PEX pipe will last for decades providing continuous, evenly distributed warmth.
Water floor heating systems are excellent choices for tile, stone, granite or marble floor coverings. These types of materials hold heat, allowing the hydronic heating system to work at top efficiency as the heat radiating from the pipes is retained in the tile or stone flooring.
Occasionally an existing floor will require that you build a small frame to allow the pipes to be laid for maximum heating efficiency. However, PEX is thin and can be installed in one length, reducing the potential for leakage. Additionally, you used brass fittings to connect the PEX to the heat source, and use adhesives to bond the two materials together.
Choosing a water floor heating system will add warmth and value to your home while reducing heating energy costs. Installing this type of system is an easy do it yourself project.
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