Boucher Energy Systems, Inc. has installed radiant heat for over 25 years. Radiant heat uses warm water- generally from 80 degrees to 140 degrees – and is circulated through flexible, durable PEX tubing embedded in the floor. The floor radiates warmth to the walls and objects in the room. As these objects become warm, you experience less heat loss because you’re standing next to warm objects…. and you feel warm and comfortable.
Installation of Radiant Heating System
Radiant heating vs Convection heating
A radiant-floor heating system first heats the objects in the room. Then, the objects heat the air to a certain degree. They do that by convection, but the movement of the air is relatively slow because the objects in the room do not get that hot.
Convection systems heat the air first – to a fairly high temperature. The air then uses its warm, convection currents to heat the people and the objects in the room. In operation, it is the exact opposite of a radiant-floor heating system.
Most people can sense the difference between the two systems right away. This is because the air in a radiantly heated room is usually very still and it’s always cooler than a room heated by convection. This lack of air movement affects the overall comfort level. The human body loses about 25% of its heat to convection (drafts), so if the air is still, your body will lose heat and you will usually feel more comfortable.
Ways to Install Radiant Heat Tubing
A thin sheet of foam insulation is placed on the ground. Tubing is installed on top of the foam and encapsulated into the concrete pour. This method is used for basement and garage floors and commercial buildings. It is sometimes used throughout the house, but this is rare in Massachusetts. Cost wise, this is very effective since the concrete was going to be poured already.
The tubing is attached to the bottom of the subfloor, and is “stapled up” in an aluminum track. A good example is a beautiful kitchen we just fixed. The kitchen was built as an addition up on posts without a basement. The tile floors were beautiful, but very cold. Utilizing the staple up method we were able to make the kitchen much more comfortable without having to disturb the tile at all.
In an on-top installation, a thin, aluminum and plywood panel is placed “on top” of your existing subfloor. It is then covered with whatever floor covering you choose such as tile or hardwood. In many ways, this is the best installation for the Massachusetts area as it is easy to incorporate with our traditional wood frame construction techniques and works well in both new construction and remodeling.