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Radiant Heating

Experience the Unsurpassed Comfort of Radiant Heating

Radiant Heating

Forced Air System vs. Consistent Radiant Temperatures

Hot air rises but heat can travel in any direction. Radiant energy transfer is caused by a warm surface giving up its heat to a cooler surface. Americans are missing out on a truly comfortable living environment in their own homes or places of business. By controlling both the air temperature and the radiant transfer, radiant panel systems deliver a comfort that is unsurpassed.

Radiant heating systems can be utilized with a variety of energy sources, including:

  • Waters Heaters
  • Boilers
  • Hot Water Solar
  • Heat Pumps

Radiant Heat FAQs

How does radiant energy work?

Hold your hand over a hot cup of coffee and feel the heat. The logical conclusion is that heat rises. Logical maybe, but incorrect! "Hot air" rises but "heat" can travel in any direction. That is why you can feel the heat of the cup when you place your hand to the side of it. Radiant energy transfer is caused by a warm surface giving up its heat to a cooler surface.

Whenever there is a temperature difference between two surfaces, both surfaces will attempt to equalize. Radiant energy travels through space without heating the space itself. It only turns into heat when it contacts a cooler surface. Our human comfort relies just as much on radiant heat transfer as it does on air temperature, yet the majority of heating and air-conditioning professionals think only in terms of air temperature. As a result, Americans are missing out on a truly comfortable living environment in their own homes or places of business. By controlling both the air temperature and the radiant transfer, radiant panel systems deliver a comfort that is unsurpassed.

How are radiant panels heated?

Whether your choice is floor, wall or ceiling panels, they are heated in one of three ways: water pipes, electric elements or air channels embedded in the panel. Of these three, air is seldom used, leaving electric circuits and water pipes (or channels) as the most prevalent. Electric panels have electricity as their sole utility, are quite simple in construction and generally have a lower 'up-front' cost. Water, on the other hand, can be heated by almost any utility be it natural gas, propane, oil, wood, solar, or electricity, and is quite versatile. Your choice will probably hinge on the energy costs of the available utility and the size of the project.

How are radiant heating systems controlled?

A simple wall thermostat is generally all that is required. Working in the background may be a "weather sensitive control" which adjusts the panel temperature based on the outdoor temperature for increased comfort and economy. A big advantage is the option of a thermostat in every room. This provides additional comfort as well as energy savings because you can turn down those rooms that are not in use or that you prefer to have cooler. Keep in mind additional features like these also increase the cost just like adding power windows and locks to the sticker price of an automobile. But unlike automobile options, these comfort features will pay back in energy savings.

What is thermal mass?

"Thermal Mass" refers to the ability of a material to retain heat. For instance, a heated stone will remain warm much longer than a block of wood. This is because the stone is denser thereby containing more mass. The mass of the earth can be used as a flywheel when it is heated under a radiant concrete slab. This storage of heat can carry a building through a time when energy is not available. Where "off-peak" electrical rates are offered, using a radiant floor in conjunction with the thermal storage of the earth beneath the slab can produce some very low electric bills.

Thermal mass in a heated shop or hangar floor responds rapidly to the change of air temperature when a big overhead door is opened. All the heat that has been "trickled" into the slab over time is released quickly to combat the cold air rolling in over the floor. This happens because of the sudden, dramatic increase in temperature difference between the slab and the air. Once the door is closed the building returns to its normal comfort setting almost immediately.

The key to any radiant panel system is to provide an even surface temperature so some mass is required to spread the heat across the panel. This mass may be in the form of a gypsum or other cementitious material or metal plates in the panel construction.

Some underfloor systems simply rely on air currents within the joist space and the mass of the wood subfloor to spread the heat. When properly designed, these systems are a good alternative for retrofitting an existing building.

What is radiant floor heating?

Radiant floor heating is a comfortable and efficient form of heating where warm water circulates through flexible, specially designed tubing (PEX) installed within the floor. The heat radiates evenly up through the floor warming people and objects in the room and providing more comfort for less money.

What makes radiant floor heating so comfortable?

Unlike traditional heating systems that just warm the air, radiant heating warms the floor and the objects in contact with the floor. The entire floor distributes a consistent, even, and quiet heating. There are no drafts and radiant floor heating takes the chill out of cold tile, marble and wood floors.

Why is radiant heat superior to other heating methods?

Unlike other heating methods, radiant heat heats the floor surface and surrounding objects instead of warming the moving air. With radiant heat, every object in the room becomes warm and gets transferred to cooler objects such as people, thus maintains an even, satisfying warmth with no air currents.

Radiant heat also enables you to feel comfortable at a lower thermostat setting, so your fuel bills will be lower. The system is also quiet, requires very little maintenance and operates more efficiently than any other heating system while offering superior comfort.

Can the floor get too hot?

No. A properly designed radiant floor heating system will deliver comfortable warmth that's a pleasure to walk on - especially in bare feet! If additional heat is needed to satisfy the heat load, additional warmth can easily be added by installing radiant walls and/or ceilings.

Will radiant heat damage my hardwood floors?

Radiantmax systems are designed for use with low water temperatures which result in floor temperatures only warmer than room temperature. The radiant temperatures from sunlight hitting the floor on a summer day far exceed the temperature of our radiant floor systems.

Since floor temperatures are kept more uniform during all the seasons of the year, the expansion and contraction of the hardwood is minimized.

Is it possible to just heat the ceramic floor in our master bath?

Absolutely. Radiantmax floor systems let you heat only those rooms you want to heat. The bathroom is a big priority for people who don't like to step onto cold tile.

We're not ready to make this investment right now. Can we rough the system in for the future?

You bet! Our Radiant Ready option is perfect for you! The PEX tubing can be installed in the slab during construction and you can complete the system later. This adds relatively little to the cost of a poured floor, but can add a great deal to the value of your home later.

What is PEX tubing?

PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) tubing is a specially designed plastic tubing with distinctive properties that make it ideal for radiant floor heating and plumbing systems. Several billion feet of PEX tubing are in service worldwide, along with on-going product testing and monitoring, prove its dependability.

What if the tubing leaks?

Leaks are not a concern with PEX when the system is properly installed. With a life expectancy of over 100 years, PEX tubing has withstood the most extensive tests in the industry for over 30 years.