The concept of radiant floors goes back to Roman times and is today the most efficient and comfortable means of heating residential homes, garages, workshops, driveways and other commercial and industrial facilities. There are two types of floor heating systems – hydronic and electric. Radiant heating supplies listed in this category are for hydronic, or hot-water type heating systems utilizing PEX tubing as means for delivering hot water to the area where heat is required.
Hydronic heating systems offer numerous advantages over all other existing systems, including forced air. They are quieter, require little or no maintenance and create unparallel comfort levels while consuming less energy. Floor heating systems are compatible with nearly all types of finished flooring, including ceramic tile, stone, hardwood, laminate, engineered wood and many others.
The most common types of hydronic radiant heating systems are:
In Floor Radiant Heat Systems
When PEX tubing is installed in a concrete slab, gypsum or other thermal mass, such systems are called “in-floor”. The heat from hot water inside the pipes is transferred to the thermal mass (floor), which in turn, heats other objects in a room. Direct contact of PEX with the cement ensures the most even and optimal heat distribution. In floor-heating systems are most commonly used in basements, ground-level slabs and multi-unit homes with steel frame construction.
Underfloor Heating Systems
When radiant heat is desired in a typical residential home with wooden frame construction, PEX is most commonly installed underneath the plywood subfloor, attached directly to it. The PEX lines form a single loop inside the joist bay, then go to another bay and so on. Heat is absorbed by the flooring above and is further transferred to the space above. These systems require quality insulation to maintain efficiency and are often installed in combination with aluminum heat transfer plates.