Dating back to the Roman Empire, radiant heating systems first served as an uncommon luxury only found in the wealthiest of homes. Today, radiant heating systems have evolved into a smart concept that can provide the everyday homeowner with exceptional comfort and energy-efficient technology. Thanks to the effects that these evolving sustainability practices are having on modern construction, there have been an increasing number of consumers utilizing this system.
Whether it’s due to its ease-of-use, indoor air quality benefits, energy-efficient warmth or cost savings, new technology in the form of radiant floor heating is being created to shift how consumers interact with sustainable buildings from the planning phase, all the way through final completion and beyond. How? The answer is simple. Electric radiant floor heating systems are easy to install, produce no noise, require no maintenance, are non-allergenic and heat up quickly to provide uniform floor heating. Through a series of wires, typically customizable for design flexibility, electric radiant floor heating produces heat through thermal radiation. By heating the floor rather than the surrounding air, which can be less energy efficient due to duct losses, diffused heat radiates from the floor up and is absorbed by surrounding objects that in turn help warm the entire room. An added plus -- homeowners are free from having to use radiators, baseboards and vents which creates a more aesthetically pleasing environment. Now more than ever, radiant heating systems are changing the game in the flooring industry.
Benefits of Modern Radiant Heating Systems
With the electric radiant floor heating systems that are produced today, customers can significantly lower their home or business’ kilowatt usage and reduce energy costs. Some companies even claim to have achieved a 15% decrease via thermal diffusion technology methods that eliminate cold spots with even heat generation. Plus, radiant heat can’t escape out of open doors or windows like forced heat does. This additionally saves homeowners even more money on their overall monthly heating bills.
The wires used to transfer the heat are increasingly being designed to achieve the utmost in customization, which not only allows for variability in design but also directly impacts heat output. The flexibility is perfect as a whole home solution or can be used to target different parts of the home, meaning homeowners no longer need to worry about having to chalk up money for an extra floor or bedroom of their home that may be unoccupied. This also means that radiant heating systems could work in uniquely shaped rooms, like an angular kitchen that includes a large center island, which might have once been difficult to service.
Particularly for those with allergies, the way heat is conducted through electric radiant floor heating systems can also help improve air quality as it does not require air to be blown around, mitigating the creation of dust and allergy-infuriating ducts. More specifically, this system provides homeowners utmost comfort because unlike a radiator, baseboard or forced-air heating, heat arrives from panels underneath the floor as opposed to through vents or standalone units, thus making a continual and comfortable heat throughout the home.
Once an electric radiant floor heating system is in place, it must be covered with a finished flooring material of the homeowner’s choice. Tile and stone finishes are one of the best materials to choose due to its ability to conduct heat and also one of the most environmentally friendly finishes available. Other finishes might also be considered as options. Consult with the radiant heat system manufacturer for compatibility.
To control the electric radiant floor heating systems, there are typically two options. Homeowners and business owners can either select a regular thermostat or opt for a Wi-Fi enabled system that further promotes green living. With the user able to control their floor’s heat via their phones, these systems can learn routines and apply the most efficient settings to reduce heating usage— with some companies claiming up to 25%.
Ultimately, the greenness of an electric radiant floor heating system depends on how power is generated. For example, electricity can come from fossil fuels or it can be produced from renewable sources like sun or wind power. Either method produces the electricity that will power the floor heating system, but the latter is the better choice for the environment, when the option is available to the customer.
Creating a Greener Future
The construction industry’s focus on sustainability shows no signs of stopping any time soon, and therefore the tile and flooring industry will continue to produce innovative multifunctional products that focus on the environment, health, efficiency, ease of install and most importantly promote the green and sustainable building movement. For example, Laticrete offers the Strata_Heat electric radiant floor heating system which includes the Strata_Heat Thermal Pack — the world’s first heat conductive thin-set additive that utilizes Thermal Diffusion Technology. The technology uniformly distributes heat through the adhesive to eliminate cold spots and quickly achieve the desired floor temperature. These thermal packs are mixed in with appropriate Laticrete latex thin set mortars such as 254 Platinum or 4-XLT. The system also includes the Strata_Heat innovative high-performance floor heating wire, uncoupling mat and Wi-Fi enabled thermostat. The advanced system transfers heat faster than standard floor heating products on the market to reduce energy costs and provide customers with the most customizable floor heating experience imaginable.
The addition of a radiant floor heating system works in the user’s favor to save them money, both short term and in the long run of the floor’s life cycle. While there is an initial investment, the payoff and benefit of the floors are worth it, especially in climates that regularly see cooler temperatures.