How Does Seattle Radiant Floor Heat Work?

The most efficient way to heat any space is with a radiant heat system, because it actually warms the people and objects within the space. Traditional forced air heats the surrounding air; while radiant heat can be set a lower actual temperature setting to achieve the same degree of comfort. When heating the air, there is loss of temperature in the ductwork and the function of blowing the air cools it as well. Using in-floor radiant systems throughout your home, in combination with wall and ceiling panels will allow for each space to be heated independently and efficiently.

Types of Radiant Floor Heat

There are 3 types of radiant floor heat:

  1. Air Heated — the least efficient means of radiant floor heat, because air is not the best conductor of warmth, this method is seldom used. Sometimes used in conjunction with solar air heating systems, the major drawback is that the primary use is during off-peak heating of the day. The benefits and savings of using solar heat in the day is outweighed by the inefficient heating with traditional hot air through the floors at night.
  2. Electric — usually a system of electric cables built into the floor, the electric radiant floors are generally mounted onto the subfloor below your floor covering of choice. Not cost effective unless installed in floors with significant thermal mass (concrete slabs, etc.), and used during ‘time-of-use’ periods. Usually this allows you to heat your concrete slab during cheaper rate periods (generally 9pm – 6am). Concrete can take as long as 8-10 hours to completely discharge its heat; meaning if the slab is thick enough, it can keep your home comfortable for 8-10 hours after turning the heat off. Especially convenient for additions rather than extending existing heating system.
  3. Hydronic — as the most popular and efficient form of radiant floor heat, hydronic radiant floor systems are perfect in colder climates. Heated water from a boiler is pumped through a grid of tubing laid beneath the floor. In some systems, the temperature is controlled by tempering the amount of hot water through each loop with a system of zoning valves or thermostats and pumps.

Types of installation vary depending upon your specific situation. The qualified experts at Seattle Radiant Floor Heat Installation can perform a whole-house inspection to determine which system or combination of systems is best for you.