Radiant heating systems involve supplying heat directly to the floor or to panels in the wall or ceiling of a house. The systems depend largely on radiant heat transfer: the delivery of heat directly from the hot surface to the people and objects in the room via the radiation of heat, which is also called infrared radiation. Radiant heating is the effect you feel when you can feel the warmth of a hot stovetop element from across the room. When radiant heating is located in the floor, it is often called radiant floor heating or simply floor heating.
Radiant heating has a number of advantages: it is more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air heating because no energy is lost through ducts. The lack of moving air can also be advantageous to people with severe allergies. Hydronic (liquid-based) systems use little electricity, a benefit for homes off the power grid or in areas with high electricity prices. The hydronic systems can also be heated with a wide variety of energy sources, including standard gas- or oil-fired boilers, wood-fired boilers, solar water heaters, or some combination of these heat sources.
Despite their name, radiant floor heating systems also depend heavily on convection, the natural circulation of heat within a room, caused by heat rising from the floor. Radiant floor heating systems are significantly different than the radiant panels used in walls and ceilings.
When you look at a floor warmed by radiant heating with an infrared camera, you see how energy is broadcast from the floor. People and all the objects in the room are bathed in radiant comfort.
Radiant heat is the same form of energy as light. Radiant heating gently and quietly “illuminates” your living space with warmth. The floor becomes the warmest surface in the room, not the coldest. And valuable energy isn’t lost at the ceiling, because radiant rooms don’t “stack” hot air like forced systems.
In your home, hydronic or electric radiant heat systems are embedded in your floor and the energy is broadcast to all parts of your room. Your floor will be the warmest surface and the ceiling will be the coolest. Your thermostat will be set lower, yet your comfort level is higher. Heat loss through infiltration and windows is reduced saving radiant system owners money. People find a radiant atmosphere stimulating, quieter, cleaner and easier to breath. Just one more thing to feel warm about.
In a resting position, the human body will produce about 400 Btu’s/hour. This is about 300 Btu’s more than we need to survive. In order to “feel” comfortable, we need to shed these extra Btu’s. A heating system is a mechanism in which we control the rate excess heat is lost. The slower we lose heat, the warmer we feel. In order to heat a space, something within that space has to be warmer than the desired space temperature (hot to cold). In a forced-air environment, the air coming from the duct is between 120° and 140°, assuming a 72° desired room temperature. In a radiant floor system, the floor temperature is between 72° and 85°, assuming a desired 68° room temperature.
Even in moderate climates, orientation and shading over your entrance may encourage snow and ice accumulation on your drive and walkways.
Radiant tubing with glycol solution is a proven strategy for making outside surfaces dry and safe even in extreme climates. From home sidewalks to large commercial projects, snow melting will help protect family, friends or customers.
A snow melting system can work alone or be installed as a supplement to a radiant heat system.
Our systems melt snow and ice by circulating glycol solution fluids through tubing embedded in concrete, or beneath brick pavers. Radiant’s two options in tubing material, Onix (with an aluminum oxygen barrier) and RadiantPEX (with an EVOH oxygen barrier), are engineered for the demands of snowmelt systems.