Asked Questions About Radiant Heated Floors
Radiant heat is a heating technology that is
commonly used for snow melting and floor heating
applications. It is an effective heating method
that generates heat from a heating element which
then radiates outward from the initial heating source to
warm all the surrounding objects. These systems
are very energy efficient, and very little heat is
lost during the radiant heating process. Radiant heat is
commonly used to heat floors, driveways, and sidewalks,
as well as roof
deicing and gutter melt
applications. Both electric and hydronic
technologies are used for various snow melting and
floor heating applications.
systems utilize a gas or oil burning boiler that heats
specially treated water which is then pumped
by a series of electric pumps through a closed
loop of flexible PEX tubing installed under the surface
to heat the driveway (or floor). Large hydronic radiant
heating systems can often operate at a cost
slightly lower than that of electric systems
because of the lower cost of fuel (natural gas or oil).
Because of the lower operating cost, you may want
to consider hydronic radiant heat if you are
looking to heat a large area.
snow melting systems are extremely energy
efficient and can be installed under just about any type
of flooring. Electric radiant heat is especially
well suited for small and medium sized driveways,
sidewalks, porches, and ramps etc. The benefits of
electric systems include easy installation, rapid
response time, maintenance free, silent operation,
and they are easy to customize.
How do radiant heat systems work?
radiant heat systems
utilize heat cable that is
embedded under the finish floor. Heat cable is
available on spools or pre-spaced on an
adhesive-backed fiberglass mesh.
Hydronic floor heating systems
utilize a mixture of hot
water and propylene glycol (anti-freeze)
that circulates through a
closed-loop flexible polymer (PEX) tubing
that is installed under the
floor surface. The liquid is heated by a
centrally located water heater (boiler) and
then circulated through the PEX
tubing by a series of pumps to warm the
How much does it cost to install radiant heat?
|| There are many variables
that determine cost, and no two radiant
heating systems are exactly alike. For accurate
pricing, visit a top provider's website and fill out their
information form to receive a free
quote. (This information includes
square footage, surface type, etc.)
Are radiant heated floors energy efficient?
|| Radiant floor heating
systems are very efficient. Of course, much
depends on the installation and the type of
floor being heated, but radiant heat
technology has improved to the point where heat
loss is virtually eliminated. Many
systems boast that 99% of the system's
energy goes to heating the floor.
In what types of floor surfaces can radiant
heat systems be installed?
|| Ceramic tile may be the
ideal surface for a radiant floor heating
system; however, virtually any type of floor can
be heated - even carpet.
What are the power requirements for a floor
|| The power requirements
vary from system to system. Generally, cable
heating systems require a 240 V. 30 amp breaker
for every 300 square feet you are
heating. (On average, a 240 V. 30 amp breaker is
required for every 175 square feet you are snow
Are floor heating systems controlled by one
|| Radiant heated floors are
particularly efficient because each room
(or zone) is controlled by its own thermostat.
Programmable thermostats are also
available. You can program your floor to warm
just before you get up in the morning and then
have the system turn off when you
leave for work. The system temperature is
controlled by either an external or
What if I want to heat my existing floor? Can
I still install radiant heat under my floor?
|| Yes. The RetroHeat
system and FloorHeat
system installs under existing floors in between
floor joists. Both systems consist of
thin panels that staple up, between the floor
joists. If you have access to underneath the
existing floor, you can install the RetroHeat
system or the 9-inch rolls of FloorHeat
into the floor joist. After insulation is
installed, the system forces heat up
through the floors, warming the floor above. The
system can be enough to heat an entire room,
depending on the room.
What are the operational costs of snow
|| The average operational
cost for a snow melting system is
approximately $0.28 per 100 square feet per
hour. This figure is based on a system
producing 35 watts/sq. ft. with a kwh rate of
$0.08 per hour (the national average
kwh is $.08/hour). If you know the
square feet of the area you want to heat and
your kwh rate, you can calculate the
operational costs with this formula: heatable
sq. ft. times watts/sq. ft., divided
by 1000, times your kwh rate.
What is the best way to design a system
and/or who provides design and engineering
services with their systems?
|| A floor heating (or snow
melting) system is only as good as its
design and installation, which is why it is
crucial to only purchase a system that
includes a detailed layout with all the
technical information. A top quality
benchmark for engineering and design is
the professional layout / AutoCAD services
provided by this radiant
design team. Only work with trusted
companies that include complete system
engineering and design layouts. (View
samples of radiant heat
system design drawings.) Call
for more information.