Radiant Floor Heat
Infloor radiant floor heating is incredibly useful, comfortable and environmentally friendly when designed and installed correctly. When installed incorrectly, however, it can be uncomfortable, inefficient and lose its environmental friendliness. When deciding on a radiant heating system, one should take into account many variables, the first of which is the type of system and fuel that will best fit your needs. Here are a few topics to consider when thinking about a radiant heating system.
Radiant Electric Cable Heat vs. Radiant Hydronic Heat
Depending on your application, a hydronic system may be more beneficial than an electric system, or vice-versa. Generally, electric cable systems are more applicable in situations where only floor warming is desired or the area to be heated is relatively small. Hydronic systems tend to be more desirable when primary heating is the goal and/or the area to be heated is relatively large. The electric draw of an electric cable system can be a limiting factor in designing a system if your electric service is not sized
to accommodate it.
Type of Fuel To Be Used with a Radiant Heat SystemThe type of fuel used by your system is completely up to you. Depending on your location and the resources available to you, you may even choose to utilize more than one fuel type. Projects that are “off-grid” will not want to plan around an electric boiler, but may want to incorporate a biomass (wood, corn, etc.) boiler with a propane or natural gas backup. If, however, your location and available energy make it difficult to utilize natural gas or propane, an electric boiler may be best suited to your system. Another possibility to consideris the installation of a solarthermal system to provide part of your heating. If a portion of your energy consumption can be offset by utilizing solar energy, a different fuel may benefit you more than if your heating unit were providing 100% of your heat. In the end, your decision should be based upon a careful weighing of the pros and cons involved with each fuel type.
Radiant Heat Loss Calculations
Any heating system should be carefully designed around the needs of your project. For this reason, a detailed heat loss calculation should be done for any radiant heating system. If a heat loss calculation is not done, your system could be incorrectly sized, potentially leading to decreased system efficiency, higher fuel bills, or even an inability of the system to keep up with the heat demand. It is important to have your heating system sized specifically for your project.
Infloor Radiant System Design & Installation
The installation of your system is based on many variables. First, you should choose what type of installation will best fit your project, whether in concrete, a thin slab, InfloorBoard, InfloorBoard 2, Warmboard, or under-subfloor with Radiant Trak. After you’ve decided what type of installation will be used, the system can be tailored to your needs. A heat loss calculation will determine the required tube/cable spacing for each area and zone. All directions and recommendation should be followed to achieve the best system for you. If a system is designed well but installed poorly, it will perform poorly. At the same time, a system that is installed correctly but designed poorly will still perform poorly. It is imperative to have your system designed correctly and installed as designed.
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