Winter in Omaha, NE will soon be here and that means cold hard floors, your furnace running all day, and your energy bill going up. But there is an alternative: radiant heated floors. A system that has been used since the Roman Empire, used all over Europe and gaining popularity in the United States, heated floors are the ideal way to heat your home.
There are two types of radiant flooring. The first is a hydronic system that pushes hot water through a series of polyethylene tubing to heat the floors. Although the initial cost is more than a furnace, you will save money in the long run with lower energy prices. The hydronic heating system works well in any room of the home, especially the bathroom.
The second is an electrical radiant heating system. This type of RFH uses heat-conducting mats that contain copper and nichrome resistance wires to heat your floors and is great in bathrooms, but typically too expensive to install throughout the house.
Here are the pros and cons of choosing radiant heating.
- Cost Effective: Unlike traditional central air systems that do bursts of hot air and then shut off when it reaches the designated temperature, radiant floors heat up slowly from the ground up. Heat rises, so doesn’t it make sense to start at the floor with your heating system? Central Heating systems are notorious for their inefficiency. Over 27% of energy is lost when air is pushed through the maze of ducts. That’s over a quarter of energy wasted. Not to mention radiant heated floors add value to your home and typically last much longer than traditional HVAC units.
- Quiet: Radiant flooring is quiet, especially if you compare it to the noise level of a typical central heating system. With radiant floors, you don’t have the sound of air blowing through ducts, or the noise of it rattling the vents.
- Good for Allergies: Central Heating systems force a lot of air through dusty ducts and with that air comes a lot of mold spores, pollen and bacteria. Even with a filter that you have to replace every three months, the air you breathe in your home can end up causing a lot of health issues. Radiant heated flooring is a closed system, meaning it will not affect the air you breathe. There are no filters to replace and as long as your system runs smoothly, you’ll eliminate a large amount of the elements that can cause allergies.
- Not a DIY: A good handyman could install an electrical radiant system, but it is a time-intensive project, and is worth it to hire a pro to save you the headache. Hydronic systems require a professional.
- New Floors Required: Radiant heating goes under the floor, so that means that the best time to install is either during a remodel or new construction. If you’re remodeling your home, bathrooms are the perfect place to start with radiant flooring, not only because they are small requiring less materials, but also because radiant heating pairs well with tile, linoleum or laminate.
All in all, radiant heating can be the perfect solution to the cold winter ahead. Not only does it save energy, but is also quiet, and allergy friendly. It may cost a little more initially, but in the long run the savings is exponential.