Radiant floor heating for new construction in Southern Oregon.
Radiant floor heat is simply the most comfortable heating system available. Because it’s installed in the floor, you are surrounded by a silent, gentle, even heat.
Point Source Heating
Most heating systems inject heat into a room via a “point source.” A forced air heating system, for example, delivers warm air via ducts to a vent within the room. If you’re near the vent, you will feel the incoming air. you will also hear the air as it is forced into the room past the vent. you may also hear the fan moving the air. Forced air heating may not be desirable when the movement of air could create health problems to people who are sensitive to pollen or other airborne contaminants.
A wood stove or fireplace is also a point source. As you move further from the source of the heat, you may feel the temperature of the room drop, especially if you’re close to a large window. The point is, you’re warmer when you’re near the heat source, and cooler when you move away.
Radiant Floor Heat
A radiant floor heat system has tubing embedded in the floor itself. The entire floor is your point source, so you can never move away from the heat. Plus, there’s no need to worry about where vents or baseboards are located. The heating system is completely hidden, yet it can be felt everywhere as a comfortable, consistent, totally silent source of warmth.
Another advantage of hydronic heat over forced air is that zoning for smaller spaces is much easier to accomplish. Even individual rooms can be controlled by an electric thermostat as a separate heating zone, providing exceptional comfort and control, room-by-room. Radiant heat is an ideal source of heat in dwellings that have hardwood, bamboo, tile, marble, stone, or concrete floors. These dense floor materials often feel cold when heated with forced air, especially to bare feet. Install radiant floor heat, and the floor becomes warm and inviting.
There are several ways in which radiant tubing can be embedded into the floor of a home.
Concrete is one of the most common and economical building methods. It can also be quite stylish, and is perfect for radiant floor heat. In most modern applications, the concrete is stained and textured, then used as the finished floor of the building. Taking advantage of the thermal mass, the concrete slab stores both direct solar gain and heat generated by the radiant floor system encapsulated within. Concrete can have tremendous cost advantages over other radiant heat construction methods.
Gypcrete is a concrete-like material that uses gypsum instead of cement as a binder. It is slightly lighter and less dense than concrete (about 120 lbs per cubic foot, compared to 150 lbs per cubic foot for concrete). Gypcrete is poured in a 1.5” layer over structural wood decking, encapsulating the radiant floor tubing. Since gypcrete is much softer than concrete and is not waterproof, it requires the protective cover of a finished floor such as tile, stone or wood.
Structural Floor Decks
Many floors are built with a plywood deck constructed over a wood-frame. We can replace the plywood with specially-designed structural floor decks that have grooves manufactured into the panels. These grooves are ready to receive the radiant tubing without the application of a “wet” overlayment like gypcrete or concrete. WARMBOARD is one such product. Visit the WARMBOARD website to learn more about the advantages of this system.
Several companies manufacture underlayment products that allow a home to be built with standard products and methods but accommodate the installation of radiant floor tubing. This product, which is installed just like standard flooring underlayment, provides grooves in the floor to route the floor tubing. These systems are well suited for new construction or for retro-fitting radiant heating into existing structures. For an overview and a description of one of these products, visit the HEATPLY website.
Interested in radiant floor heat?
Because radiant floor heat is built directly into the floor, it’s important that we get involved early. Many key decisions will need to be made regarding the design of your system. If you’re planning to build or undertake an extensive remodel, Alternative Energy Systems is happy to perform a site survey and give you an estimate free of charge.