What Type Of Floor Heating System Is Good For My Home?

Staying warm and comfortable all winter long can be a challenge, especially if your home utilises a traditional forced-air heating and cooling system. There are serious limits on what these sorts systems can do and the come at the cost of your personal comfort – this is realised every time you step out of the shower onto ice cold tiles or out of bed onto freezing floors. Fortunately, there are other options available in the form of radiant heat.

What is radiant heat?

There are two kinds to choose from – electric and hydronic – both of which are installed beneath the floors of the home. Electric systems utilise cables, which are heated via electricity and warm the floor before heating the room beyond. Hydronic heating systems utilise pipework that is heated via warm water flowing through it, which warms the floor before heating the room beyond. Hot water is generated by a boiler installed on the exterior of the home.

The best option for your home will ultimately depend on what it is that you want to accomplish. Floor heating systems in general, regardless of whether you want radiant electric or hydronic, are a good choice if:

  • You want a relatively silent and invisible system;
  • You want to improve your home’s air quality;
  • You want consistent heat throughout your home (both within and between rooms);
  • You hate cold floors (especially if walking around in bare feet); and/or
  • Someone in your home suffers from asthma, allergies or general sensitivities to dust.

Once you’ve decided that floor heating systems will be the best option for your needs, you will then need to consider what kind of system you ultimately want to install. Use the following lists to help you reach a decision.

An electric system can be a good choice if:

  • You’re supplementing an existing heating system;
  • You’re adding heating to a home that already exists (in other words, not under construction);
  • The area you want to heat is relatively small (such as a master bathroom);
  • Cold floors are a major source of dissatisfaction with your current heating solution; and/or
  • You prefer a simple installation that can be performed alongside everyday flooring renovations.

A hydronic system, on the other hand, can be a good choice if:

  • You are looking for a solution that heats your entire home;
  • You’re building a new home or you don’t mind significant renovations (as the subfloor will need to be ripped up);
  • You want some flexibility in the energy source; and/or
  • You want to reduce your overall heating costs.

If you’ve considered these factors and are still unsure whether an electric or hydronic floor heating system is the best choice, ensure that you consult with a specialist. They’ll be able to provide you with an estimate for each installation based on your home and heating needs. With those estimates, you’ll be able to make an informed decision that takes into account the total cost of the works, the savings you can expect to make, and the increase in personal comfort.