Underfloor heating systems are becoming more popular in the United States. However, with popularity often comes myths that are misleading or simply incorrect. Below are five myths that you may have heard about underfloor radiant heating that are simply not true.
You Cannot Have Wood Flooring Above a Radiant Heat System
Wood flooring is known for cupping and buckling when there are drastic heat and moisture changes in your home. This makes many people assume that wood is not a good choice for flooring if you want an underfloor radiant heat system. While it is true that an underfloor heating system can cause unnecessary stress on hardwood flooring, there are several steps you can take to make the two work well together. For example, quarter-sawn wood with narrow boards made from a strong species, such as white oak, can make your floor adapt to underfloor heating without a problem. Professional installation of both your heating system and your flooring will help them work together better as well.
You Cannot Have Carpet Over a Radiant Heat Systems
Carpet has greater insulation properties than most other types of flooring. Unlike stone or porcelain, carpet can keep the heating underneath your flooring, not allowing it up into your room. However, if you make certain choices with your heating and with your carpet, the amount of heat you lose to your carpet will be minimal. First, you should use a reflective surface beneath your underfloor heating that will help force heat up into your room as opposed to beneath your home. Second, a thin carpet pad and a carpet with a short pile will reduce the insulation properties of the carpet, allowing heat into your room.
Radiant Heat Systems Can Only Be Installed During a Remodel of Your Floor
It is easiest to install underfloor heating during a new build or a complete remodel of a room. However, you can still install underfloor heating if your home is fully constructed and you are not undertaking a remodel any time soon. Depending on your type of flooring, this may include running hot water hoses beneath your floor in a crawl space or in your basement and then installing reflective insulation beneath the pipes to direct heat up towards your floor. Alternatively, you can easily add electric underfloor heating any time you are redoing the surface of your flooring.
Radiant Heat Systems Will Raise The Level of Your Floor Considerably
The PEX piping used for hydronic underfloor heating is usually set in concrete, which can potentially raise the floor of your room several inches. This is one of the reasons that it is best done during new construction. However, as mentioned above, you can often install the heating in a crawl space below your home without affecting the surface of your flooring at all. Additionally, if you are installing an electric system, the height of your floor will be raised minimally, about the height of one layer of thin-set mortar.
Radiant Heat Systems Are Expensive to Install
Radiant heat systems are often thought of as expensive, luxury options for heating. This is no surprise considering a full floor system can cost over $35,000 when a similar forced air system may cost as little as $10,000. However, there are several ways you can lower the cost of the project. Doing some of the work on your own and opting for PEX instead of copper pipe lowers the cost. Additionally, electric systems may cost more to run than hydronic systems, but they are significantly cheaper to install. Finally, not embedding your PEX in concrete and instead threading it through your floor joists can also significantly save you money.
For more information about the process, contact a company like Custom Comfort.