As my husband and I became more serious about building a new home from scratch, I started researching different styles of heating systems.
I was most interested in the benefits, cost and drawbacks of radiant floor heating.
This type of heating systems eliminates the need for a cumbersome duct system and vents. There are several aspects that make radiant heat more energy efficient than other styles of winter temperature control. For one thing, the system provides uniform heat distribution. The heat is spread across the entire surface of the floor and warms the lower half of the room, including all the surfaces. It allows a lower thermostat setting, up to five degrees cooler, than a conventional furnace, which saves money on energy bills. A forced air furnace sends the warm air up to the ceiling. The air falls when it cools down, creating drafts and temperature stratification. Plus, forced air systems introduce and circulate dust and allergens. By comparison, hydronic radiant flooring is a closed system that infuses heat silently, without bringing in air contaminants. Because the loops that transport the water are installed beneath the floor, there is no equipment taking up living space or interfering with furniture arrangement. There’s also far less maintenance requirements. A big advantage of radiant flooring is the ability to designate independent zones. Each room is separately controlled, so there’s no need to heat empty areas. Temperature can cater to personal preference or the requirements of the specific room. Since my husband and I are building in the northern part of the country, where air conditioning isn’t a necessity, radiant heated floors are the perfect solution for our new house.