A type of heat source offered by your local heating contractor can also be a radiant system. A radiant system descript in a nutshell is this: tubing is placed in the floor of all of the rooms in your home, and hot water is run through this tubing to provide a quiet, evenly distributed warm air system. An HVAC contractor specialized in radiant heating systems will be able to answer questions about installation types and work with your construction contractor (for new construction) as needed.
This type of home warm air system has a few advantages. One, it is very quiet and efficient. Two, it helps retain moisture that is lost with a gas furnace, but this still does not eliminate the need for a whole house humidifier for dry winter climates. Another benefit is warmth from your head to your toes. Forced air systems can have the problem of hot ceilings and cold feet. With a radiant system, this is eliminated since the warmth evenly radiates from the floor. Children, pets and feet are all more comfortable with a radiant system!
As mentioned above, piping is installed in the cement in the floors (as shown to the right), and this piping contains water or an alternative liquid. During the winter season, a boiler heats the water used to heat your home. A boiler is typically gas powered, and they have varying degrees of efficiency depending on the make and model of the equipment. Common boiler manufacturers are Rinnai, Navien, Weil Mclain – but there are many more.
The hot water from the boiler is sent to a plumbing manifold, which is the distribution equipment for the heated water. In a radiant system, each room can have a separate control for individual comfort needs, and these controls dictate how much how water the manifold channels out to the different areas. After the hot water is used to heat, the cooled water is then sent back to the boiler to be heated again. This is call a closed loop system.
There are basic types of radiant systems. The closed loop system mentioned above has a boiler dedicated to providing heat for the home, while an open loop system has a boiler that heats the floors and the hot water for your home. There are also other varieties like heat exchanger systems, and solar applications for even greater efficiency. Your local HVAC contractor who specializes in radiant or hydronic heating applications will be able to recommend the best system for your home and area. Remember to do your research. An HVAC contractor can be NATE certified and BBB approved, but not specialize in radiant systems which are completely different than normal gas and electric. Do your research and use an experienced HVAC contractor who can do the installation correctly.
There are different types of radiant heating installations: floorboards, walls and more. The ideal installation however is in the floor itself. Talk to your local HVAC contractor about the flooring options you have, however modern systems allow for installation with most flooring types including wood floors, vinyl, tiles and carpet.
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