Heated Flooring

Radiant floor heat keeps your home cozy

Picture it: You've just woken up on a winter morning. Outside it looks cold and miserable, and the last thing you want to do is leave the confines of your cozy bed, but the day must get started, so you swing your feet over the edge and lower them toward the hardwood floor -- and you don't have to experience that shocking moment when foot meets cold surface, because you have heated flooring.

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Although it requires an initial investment to install in your home, radiant heating will pay for itself because is energy efficient, and that means it's good for both the environment and your wallet. You can choose to install in-floor heat in an isolated area, such as heated tile floors for your bathrooms, or to make radiant heating the effective and energy-efficient way you heat your entire home.

How Heated Floors Work

Heating of an indoor space using radiant floor heat is a very old science, but it has only recently become a popular option for home heating systems. Think of it like a frying pan heating up on a stove element -- the warmth comes from the direct heating of an object in contact with the heat source, rather than from heating the surrounding air.

With traditional home-heating methods, the furnace or fireplace warms the air, and then the air, in turn, warms you. Radiant heating cuts out the wasteful middle step of heating the air, where a lot of heat is lost, instead transferring the heat directly from the heating system, to the floor, to you.

In addition, because the heat is transferred to your body via your feet, radiant heat takes advantage of the fact that people tend to feel warmer when their extremities are warm.

Hydronic vs. Electric Floor Heating

The two most common kinds of radiant heating are hydronic and electric. Both involve a connected system under your floor's surface, but hydronic floor heating involves the circulation of hot water through tubes, while electric floor heat comes from heated cables. Which kind is best for your home will depend on a number of factors, including your existing heating system, the structure or your home and whether you have carpet or hardwood flooring.