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Infloor Radiant Heat Questions
Q1) We plan to have carpet in several rooms of our new home heated with Infloor®. Are there any special carpet installation requirements we should be aware of?
A1) Carpet and Infloor can work beautifully together, but keep in mind that carpet requires hotter water to be run through your system (which can reduce system efficiency). Be sure to use low R-value carpet and carpet cushion (Infloor Carpet Cushion) to allow proper heat transfer from the floor. An ideal carpet cushion is available through Infloor. To order, talk to your local Infloor radiant heat installer, call 1-800-588-4470 to talk to your regional distributor, or check with your local carpet dealer to discuss the different types of padding available for Infloor heating.
Q2) We have selected a variety of rustic stone floor coverings, none of which are as smoothly finished as traditional ceramic tile or marble. We love the look, but are they compatible with Infloor radiant heat?
A2) Yes! Feel free to be as creative as you want to be. All stone-type floor coverings from traditional ceramic and marble to rough-cut slate and granite provide good heat conductivity, maximizing the benefits of Infloor heat.
Q3) We’re building our new home with Infloor radiant heating and wood flooring in most of the main floor rooms, but we’re not yet sure whether we’ll use solid hardwood or laminate flooring. Do you have information on installation options?
A3) You bet! Generally speaking, wood floors can be installed using a floating floor, glue-down installation method, or a wood sleeper system. Nail down flooring can be used, though, if you plan ahead and design your system for it. If, however, you’re using InfloorBoard, InfloorBoard 2 or Warmboard, you will want to look at the installation manual to see specific installation recommendations. Be sure to check with your wood flooring manufacturer for their recommendations and limitations.
Q4) What about air conditioning?
A4) Infloor does not support or recommend using a radiant heating system for cooling purposes. While this is possible, it can lead to many problems, including condensation on the floor, ruining your finished floor. When air conditioning is needed, most often a separate air-conditioning system is installed. This could be a simplified central system or a split system with strategically placed units. If done correctly, your air conditioning can be zoned. Using zoned cooling and placing air registers in the ceiling (where they should be) can and will result in summer energy savings.
Q5) What is the possibility of my Infloor®Radiant Heating System freezing? Should I put anti-freeze in the system?
A5) Anti-freeze isn’t needed in most systems unless the system will be shut off for extended periods of time under freezing conditions (in a cabin or second home, for example). Most often, the system is left running at a lower thermostat setting when the building will be unoccupied for short periods of time, so no anti-freeze is necessary.
Q6) What kind of construction applications may I install the tubing in?
A6) Tubing may be installed in any kind of application. Each application will work best with one or more types of installations, whether in concrete, Infloorboard, Infloorboard 2, Warmboard, run in emission plates under a floor, attached to existing concrete, or stapled to a wood subfloor and covered with an approved underlayment or tile bed.
Q7) Will the load-bearing capacity of the floor need to be increased when Infloor Heating is used?
A7) Usually, no. Approved underlayments weigh the same as typical tile beds. The structural floor should be adequate to withstand typical design loads, so in most cases, the load bearing structure will not need to be altered to accommodate Infloor Heating.
Q8) How much more efficient is a radiant heat system than a forced air system?
A8) A typical forced air system requires 45-50 BTUs per square foot to maintain the temperature in a standard home (This does not account for the efficiency or inefficiency of the heat source). The same house will only require 25-30 BTUs per square foot if using a radiant floor system (except under-subfloor applications, which tend to be in the 30-40 BTU range). Additionally, many people find that they can set their thermostats several degrees cooler with a radiant heat system while maintaining the same level of comfort.
Q9) Can a heat pump or geothermal system be used in conjunction with a radiant heating system?
A9) Yes, heat pumps and geothermal heat pumps can provide some of the most efficient heating available. They can even be tied into a solar thermal system to provide ultra-efficient, ecologically friendly heating.
Q10) I can’t decide between a Solar Photovoltaic system and a Solar Thermal system. Do you have any input?
A10) Solar Photovoltaic cells are incredibly useful and can be implemented in any number of applications. Solar Thermal systems, though, are more efficient and are generally less expensive to install. Because of the nature of light, more energy can be harnessed when converted to heat than when converted to electricity, so a solar thermal system will typically provide more energy per square foot than a comparable photovoltaic system. For ultimate efficiency, you can use both a photovoltaic system and a solar thermal system to provide both heat and electricity.
Solar Heating Frequently Asked Questions
Q1) Aren’t glass tubes delicate?
A1) Kingspan solar evacuated tubes are actually very tough. Besides meeting the US SRCC standard, the European Solar Keymark and SPF standards, they also meet the optional hail impact test standards. This means the collector is certified to take winds of up to 72 mph, 1 inch hail at 50 mph and a snow load of over 1000 lbs and not fail!
Q2) How do I size a system for my house?
A2) Typically a hot water system is sized to provide 70-80% of your hot water usage during the year. If space heating is also desired, the system will first provide you hot water before switching over to heating your house. Depending on how much sunlight you receive in a year will determine how many collectors your system needs. Please contact your InFloor representative for further information about sizing your system.
Q3) I live in a climate with a lot of cloud cover. Will Kingspan solar work for me?
A3) Unlike typical flat panel solar collectors, Kingspan evacuated tubes are still very efficient in cloudy conditions. This allows them to be used in locations where most other solar collectors cannot be used.
Q4) What is the best way to mount the collectors?
A4) For optimum performance the collectors should be mounted in a location where they will not receive shade from trees or surrounding buildings. Typically they are mounted on a frame on your roof facing south. InFloor offers mounting brackets for all typical mounting configurations.
Q5) How long will my Kingspan Solar System last?
A5) Kingspan evacuated tubes are made of the finest materials in the industry and go through extensive inspection to insure the highest quality possible. This allows the system to perform for 25 years without significant decreases in performance. There are systems out there today that are still performing after 25 years.
Q6) Can all my heating and hot water requirements be met by a Kingspan Solar System?
A6) Yes, the system can be sized to provide all your heating needs. However, it is better to size the system to supplement your heating bill, rather than eliminate it. Speak with your Infloor representative about how to properly size your system.
Q7) How do I heat my house with solar?
A7) We recommend InFloor heating to best utilize the heat created by the solar collectors. InFloor heating will allow the highest efficiency for your solar system, as well as provide comfortable heat for your house. Kingspan solar is compatible with baseboard and forced air heating as well, but the overall efficiency is reduced.
Q8) What do I need to do to apply solar thermal to my current house?
A8) If you already have InFloor, or baseboard heat, then it is easy to connect Kingspan solar to your heating system. For houses with forced air, it is easy to add hot water heating. All it takes is two lines from the collector to a hot water tank.
Q9) Is the system difficult to install?
A9) Kingspan solar systems are the easiest in the industry to install on your home. There is no need for a crane to move the collector to your roof. The solar tubes and manifold are separate and can be carried up to the roof with a ladder. Once the manifold is set up, the tubes just snap into place. We have a network of qualified installers to insure your system is installed up to all standards and code. Please contact your distributor for further information on installing Kingspan solar systems.
Q10) What happens when I go on vacation?
A10) The solar collectors will continue to make heat, even when you are gone. Since your hot water usage is nothing when you leave, the heat has to be used somewhere. With a properly designed and sized system, this is not a problem. If the temperature in the system should become too hot, Kingspan solar tubes have an exclusive shut off feature to protect your system. Contact InFloor for information on properly sizing your system.
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