radiant home heating systems are historically hip

Radiant Home Heating Systems Are Historically Hip

December 8, 2014

In and around beautiful, historic Charleston, the value of radiant home heating is important when you are renovating your home or upgrading your current heating system. The principle behind radiant heating dates at least to ancient Rome, when heat from fires was channeled into conduits beneath the marble floors of villas to warm rooms above. In more modern times, the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright first installed radiant systems in some of his iconic designs in the 1930s.

Defining Radiant Heating

A radiant system involves a heat-generating source installed in or beneath the floor of the home. While a forced-air system heats air at a furnace and blows it through ductwork into rooms, radiant heating warms the floor and heats people and objects in the room above by radiating infrared heat.

Basics of Radiant Heating Systems

The heating source in a radiant system may be a grid of tubes integrated into the slab below the floor that circulate warm water from a central boiler. Alternatively, heat may be produced by electrical resistance mats designed to warm when voltage passes through them, installed beneath the subflooring. In most cases, hydronic hot water systems are more easily installed at original construction or during a major remodel, while the electrical radiant systems can be adapted easier to existing structures.  

Advantages of Radiant Heating

Heat from radiant sources is gentle. Infrared radiation rises from the floor upward and efficiently warms people and objects in the room. Forced-air heating that warms air, instead, is inherently less efficient because heat loss from air is rapid. Moreover, moving hot air tends to rise and collect at the ceiling, as well as stir up allergens. Waves of radiant heat warm the room more consistently at the level where people actually live.

Optimum Flooring for Radiant Heating

Not all floors are equally ideal for a radiant system. Ceramic tile, stone and concrete both conduct and retain heat best of all. Wood floors, which tend to shrink with warmth, require special installation techniques to make them radiant-friendly. Vinyl and plastic impose temperature limitations and carpeting of any sort insulates and prevents effective heat radiation.

Call Berkeley Heating & Air Conditioning experienced professionals to ask about our radiant heating systems for your beautiful Charleston home.

Image via Shutterstock.com

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