Being in the midst of a government shutdown, as well as the longest recession in American history, we are all looking for ways to “cut back” and determine what is essential. Most customers when building a house, building, or doing a renovation believe that Radiant Floor Heating is a luxury and not an “essential” system. We at Pexheat would like to point out some of the aspects of Radiant Floor systems that might show them as essential.
If you have a Radiant Floor heating system sized for your project, you will probably find that it is one of the most costly heating system installations available. However, that cost can be not only justified but recovered in a few ways. If you look at the lengths of tubing and the additional controls needed to operate the system at very low temperatures, Radiant Floor has quite a bit of material associated with it. A Radiant Floor slab installation can have 10 times as much tubing installed as a baseboard system for the same square footage. That much tubing would require larger pumps, thermostats with floor sensors, as well as a manifold to distribute the heat to all that radiant tubing. There also may be increased labor costs due to the extra tubing. So why do it?
The great equalizer is the required water temperature and how the heat is transferred to a house with Radiant Floor verses baseboard fin tube radiators. Radiant Floor warms the house/building by conducting heat at low temperatures through the structure. The warm floors and wall then slows the heat loss from the skin of the people in the room for a very comfortable feeling of wellbeing. Baseboard radiators need very high water temperatures, the higher the better and more effective for the radiator. They super heat the air right around the radiator and then convective forces cause that air to rise and churn the heat throughout the room, mostly collecting at the ceiling and leaving the floor colder. The person is warmed as the hot air passes over their skin.
The same method is used in forced air systems where cold air is blown over a hot coil then blown around the room to the occupants. The differences in heat transfer methods results in health and personal discomfort for the baseboard and forced air home owner. It also results in higher fuel costs to get the air up to those high temperatures as well as higher heat loss through walls and ceilings. The Radiant Floor heating systems utilize the high efficiencies of modern condensing boilers thus recovering the investment for every hour you run your radiant heating system.
Depending on the size and efficiency of your installation, ROI recovery can be 4 to 5 years for a radiant floor heating system. But if you take into account the health benefits of lower air temperatures and warmer feet and a cooler head, as well as increase property values and resale ability, the Radiant Floor home/or building might instantly recover the added cost.
Post by Brian Whitehurst