Guide to Installing Radiant Floor Heating Systems

If you need a toasty, warm house this winter when the snow is flying and the wind is howling, then radiant floor heat is the way to go. The heat will radiate up from the floor, helping to make the house much warmer. Technically there are two types of radiant floor heating. One is electric baseboard heat, and the other is electric cables or hot water pipes embedded in the concrete floor slab. Electric baseboard heaters are probably the easiest of all the heating systems to install. This is an electric heating unit housed in a metal casement, mounted on the baseboard of each room, and wired directly into the home’s wiring. Each unit has its own thermostat. These units are very easy to install, taking almost no time at all. They can be bought at Home Depot or Lowes for around $200.00 depending on the size unit you need. Though these units are inexpensive, and easy to install; they are very costly to run.

The other type of radiant floor heating, and by far the best all the way around is copper tubing embedded in the concrete floor slab in which hot water is forced through the tubing. The water forced through is heated by a central furnace, ran usually by oil or natural gas.

This type of heating system can only be put into a home that is in the process of being built. First you must pour about one – half of the floor slab. Then where each room of the house would be, the copper tubing will be laid in a back and forth pattern. With Ã?½ ” to Ã?¾ ” tubing is used, the tubing should be spaced approximately 9″ apart. One inch tubing should be spaced about 12″ apart.

The joints in the copper tubing should be carefully and thoroughly soldered, as there will be high pressure hot water going through the tubing; so great care must be used when fitting the tubing together.

When the tubing is all laid out in its proper pattern then, either the electrician (if electric cables), or the plumber (copper tubing) should come out and test. After the testing is done, you may then pour the rest of the concrete slab. There should be between 2″ and 4″ of concrete over the cables or copper tubing.

When the concrete slab is being smoothed and leveled, great care must be taken so that the tubing, or the cables are not ruptured.

The boiler can now be brought in and placed in its approximate location in the house. It is a lot easier to do this before the interior walls are put up. If you try to put the walls up first, fitting the boiler into where you want it could prove to be difficult. The boiler should sit solidly on the floor to help prevent any type of vibration.

There is a lot involved in making sure the system is hooked up properly. After all, you have a hot – water heater, compression tank Airtol tank fitting, circulator and overflow controls. All this must be hooked up properly. It is well worth the extra expense to make sure everything is done properly. The plumber that we hired, allowed us to do a lot of the labor, while he did all the important stuff. It did save us quite a bit of money.

Make sure that you set up your radiant floor heating system with automatic controls. This will insure that the heating system will function properly, and it will give you the warmest of houses for many years to come.

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