Can You Heat Your House with Heated Floors?

Is it possible for a home to be heated solely by radiant floor heating? In many cases, the answer is “Yes.”

 

Some of the choices you make in the design of your home – including insulation, location and flooring – can make it more likely for radiant to deliver all the heat you’ll need.

 

Heated floors, which use a network of pipes in the floor to circulate warm water, are known for delivering superior comfort while being very energy efficient. To take full advantage of these benefits, keep the following factors in mind when designing your new home.

 

Insulation

 

Insulation affects the amount of heat that flows in and out of your home. The insulation effectiveness, or R-value, of the walls in your home determines how much heat can pass through your home’s “outer jacket.” Another avenue for heat loss is poorly installed, low-quality windows and doors that allow cold air to leak into your home. In a well-insulated home with properly installed, high-performance windows and doors, heated floors can almost always provide enough heat for you to feel comfortable. Your heating contractor can perform a heat loss analysis that will help you determine the R-value you need in your walls and windows.

 

Location

 

Climate has a major impact on your home’s heating demand. Since heat transfers from hot to cold, you will require tighter insulation in colder environments to avoid a high amount of heat loss. Large windows can also increase heat loss, creating a higher demand on your heating system. (This is especially true for conventional single-glazed units which, by the way, are far less insulated than REHAU windows and doors, but that’s a story for another day!)

 

To counteract this heat loss, radiant pipes are generally spaced more tightly around the room’s perimeter. After taking all the appropriate steps to minimize heat loss, homes in colder regions may still have higher demand that radiant alone can deliver. In this case, your radiant contractor might recommend a supplemental heat source for the coldest times of the year.

 

Type of flooring

 

Different radiant installation methods and flooring materials have different heat capacities. If you want your radiant system to deliver all the heat your home needs, and to do so most efficiently, you might want to select the highest-output options. For example, the aluminum plates on the REHAU RAUPANELTM installation system optimize heat flow, giving it up to 50% higher heat output than competing systems. Likewise, “bare” floors such as tile conduct heat well, while carpet and padding create an insulation barrier that reduces heat output.

 

We’ve seen that the choices you make while designing your new home can determine whether radiant heating can be your home’s sole source of heat. So if you’re thinking about building a new home, introduce your radiant contractor to your builder as early as possible. Together, they can design your home for optimal comfort and efficiency.

 

Use the Find a Dealer feature on our website to find a REHAU radiant contractor near you.

 

By Kathryn Miller, REHAU Communications