Thursday, 21 August 2008

Electric Radiant Floor Heating: Pros And Cons

As you may already know, radiant floor heating is a great alternative heating method that is gaining more attention in recent years. Unlike forced air heating systems, radiant floor heating systems give a nice, even, luxurious heat to a room.

There are several types of radiant floor heating, with the two main types being electric and hydronic. We'll be talking about the electric system in this article.

So, how does this electric radiant heating work? More or less, the system is an electric blanket that sits under your floor. Electric cables run underneath your floor, and generate heat from resistance, just like an electric blanket. Easy enough to understand. Let's talk about the pros and cons of this system.

One obvious issue is that electricity is quite expensive. To save electricity, it is generally more efficient to install the system over a concrete floor base. The concrete will absorb up the heat, and radiate out slowly, giving the radiant heating system its characteristic "glowing warmth". If you install the same system in something like a wood floor base, none of the heat will be absorbed, leading to an inefficient system. In fact, if you can't install the system in some sort of slab, you're better off just getting a hydronic system.

One situation where electric radiant heating does shine, though, is for additions where running the main heating system over is not practical. Since electric radiant heating requires no furnace or boiler, it is very convenient to install. Of course, since it doesn't provide cooling, you may want to run ducts in anyways, or use some other sort of cooling method. For heating in an odd addition, though, electric radiant heating is a great way to go.

You can see that electric radiant floor heating isn't a magic bullet. It can be inefficient for the amount of heat it provides, that is for sure. However, if you have the right setup, or simply have a hard to heat addition, be sure to give electric in floor heating systems a closer look.

By: David C. Wilson

Article Directory: