Heating your home with Radiant floor
Radiant floor heat is the best type of heat and keeps your floors toasty warm! Radiant floor heat is also about 20% more efficient and you can keep the water temperature much lower than with a radiator system; saving you even more wood or coal!
The water that runs through your floor for radiant floor heat is never any warmer than 140°. Hotter temperatures will crack the floor if you have concrete and may warp your wood if it is any hotter.
One nice thing about radiant heat, is that it keeps the lower 10 feet of your room the warmest. This eliminates heat going up to the ceiling and out the roof where it is ultimately lost. This is one of the reasons for the great savings with radiant heat. this is fabulous for rooms that have tall ceilings, such as in great rooms.
It is also very nice not having air blowing around. This means that air is not blowing around either and it ends up feeling warmer.
Hydronic Heat, means
heat distributed via water.
How Hydronic Radiant Floors Work
Water is circulated through special tubing, called PEX Tubing, that runs under the floor. The warn piping radiates heat through your floor, making it toasty warm.
Radiant Floor Heat with an Outdoor Wood Burning Furnace
Radiant Floor Heat with an Outdoor Wood
Burning Furnace is more efficient because it heats you
directly. The room's humidity is also more ideal. It gradually
releases radiant energy into the cool objects in
the room. The warmth is greater at floor level and decreases as
it reaches the ceiling. This is both more comfortable (Your head
feels cooler and your feet are warmer) This type of heating is
not new! It dates back to the Roman Times, and is a very
popular way to heat in Europe.
If you have an existing home, you may be able to put radiators in there; either the old-style cast-iron radiators, baseboard Hydronic heaters (they look just like electric baseboard heaters except they carry water and are much more efficient than electric), newer style radiators that looked much better but then again if you have an older house then the old-style cast-iron radiators may look very good - and are usually very cheap if they are but used!
In new construction we recommend
that you put Pex pipe in your flooring. This can either be on
the sub-floor or underneath the sub-floor, with the finished
material on top - be it ceramic for porcelain tile, carpet or
The most common pipes used today are leak resistant, non-toxic, high-temperature, flexible piping called cross-linked polyethylene or PEX as it is known in the industry. Popular due to the fact that it can handle both aggressive concrete additives and also water conditions while not becoming brittle over time, PEX tubing has been used in Europe since the 1970s and in the US since the 1980s. PEX tubing has proven to be much more reliable.
This is what is called a double run. This
gives you more heat between the joists and better heat
distribution than a single run of pipe (below).
The metal plates are nailed to the subfloor
and hold the Pex pipe in place.
A better way - in new construction - is just the piping on top of the subfloor. This way you are heating the finished flooring instead of all the wood in the subfloor.
This is accomplished by putting floaters on the floor, as spacers for the Pex pipe.
An even better way is to use a pre-made
product that has grooves cut it to accommodate the Pex pipe and
it already has the aluminum on it (and in the grooves) to spread
the heat over the floor. The best product that I have found is
Warmboard. Warmboard is a structural radiant panel that is
1-1/8” thick, made of Douglas Fir 7 ply plywood, and is sold in
full-faced tongue and groove
This is what constitutes your subfloor. Once you put it down over your floor joists or truss, your floor is done! this saves a lot of extra work. Simply put the Pex pipe in the grooves and put your flooring over it. You will end up with a VERY solid floor.
It is not the cheapest on the market but it certainly is the best!
SLAB Radiant Heat can be a DIY project.
You start with a bed of gravel and then put insulation down. This is a must so that you are heating the ground. Is usually required under most building codes, as well.
I prefer a product called TheBarrier. It is better then the hard foam panels - pink or blue - because it is extremely flexible and will not crack or break up when you walk on it. Remember, you have to walk on it to put the wire down and tie the Pex pipe to it and then the workers will be pouring concrete and walking all over it.
TheBarrier insulation is a flexible type that comes in a roll and it has its adhesive strips to attach it to the piece next to it. This is designed so that it forms both a vapor barrier and a radon barrier in one simple step. If you use the big sheets of Styrofoam, you would then have to go back and put plastic over it the form the barrier needed.
Most people put 6" x 6" wire down, that comes in a roll. You will then use wire ties to loosely attached the Pex pipe to the wire. This stops the Pex pipe from floating to the surface and ruining your nice new floor, walkway or sidewalk if you are pouring one.
Many people use rebar instead of the wire which you'll give you an even stronger floor. Sometimes the rebar is supported so that it isn't sitting on the bottom.
You can heat your home very efficiently with radiant floor heat and an outside - outdoor wood burning furnace - boiler.
Pex pipe, pre-insulated Pex pipe, manifolds and pumps, plate or water-to-water heat exchanger and water-to-air heat exchangers.
Please call Ted at Abbott Boiler Supply for al
of you radiant heating, Hydronic heat needs including SharkBite™
stile fittings, Pex pipe, pre-insulated Pex pipe, manifolds and
pumps, etc., plus he has the needed plate or water-to-water heat
exchanger and water-to-air heat exchangers.
You can write to Ted at
or reach us by e-mail at
Abbott Boiler Supply and
Shaver Furnace gladly accepts accept VISA, MasterCard, Discover
and AMEX as well as PayPal.
Since 1972 - Get a Shaver!
BTU Load Calculator | Hydronic Wood Furnace | Cost Comparison Chart | Wood Furnace Articles
Wood species BTU comparison