Queries on Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating Installation!

Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating InstallationThere’re probably lots of options when it comes to traditionally heating your house. And many of you will want to try the conventional style thinking that it’s less costly plus easier to manage.

But trust me, you’ll completely forget that mindset. And that’s when you start researching about some really innovative modern heating technologies.

Hydronic radiant floor heating is a seamless system that includes in this list. It’s one of the best alternatives to traditional heating. It comes with a very unique mechanism to heat a home.

However, the decision of hydronic radiant floor heating installation isn’t okay to take without knowing about some key factors. Today I’ll discuss those in the simplest way. Keep reading!

Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating: Basic Mechanism, Available Types, Installation & More…

For colder climates, there are hardly any choice better than the hydronic radiant floors. Through laid tubing beneath the floor that pumps hot water is really comfortable at keeping space warm.

Of course, everything related to it will vary such as cost, installation and etc. Let’s talk about each below.

Knowing About the Mechanism.

The mechanism is equally straightforward and confusing because of individual knowledge. You’ll want to consider the best boiler for radiant floor heat first.

Then this boiler is going to work on heating water using the conduction method. The water that warms up will get pumped by system’s control center.

Here system’s plumbing manifold works as the control center. A thermostat has a direct connection with this center. This control part will inspect the temperature of water. It needs to reach one certain point that is already set with the thermostat.

Once the temperature reaches its goal, system starts to flow water through every tubing installed beneath floor. As a result, the floor becomes warm.

With the rising floor temperature, your room starts to feel comfortably warm. There are no draft or noise issues that usually happen with forced air. If you live in a high ceiling home then this is perfect.

There are the electricity-powered options available for the radiant floor heating system as well. However, those are pretty much expensive. So, for the primary heating inside home, it becomes quite inconvenient.

However, for installing radiant floor heating in existing home system, electrical versions are best as a supplement.

Available Types for Installation?

Majorly, there are three types of hydronic radiant floor heating systems. To choose the very best type, you need to talk with your HVAC specialist. The three major types are:

Open System

This system is quite general but with the extra benefit of heating your bathroom and kitchen’s water as well. Using this type will save a huge amount of money for you. Since there is no need to spend extra for your water heater.

Closed System

Here you need a boiler that completely dedicates itself for the heating system. The major benefits of this system are that it uses antifreeze as a circulating liquid in place of water.

The less corrosive liquid antifreeze is a better option for boiler. Also, for heat transferring the liquid is a preferable option by experts.

Heat exchanger

This system is basically the blending point of both types available. It can give you combined benefits of closed and open systems.

The main water heater has pipes that also supply for radiant heat floors. However, these pipes are completely closed and use antifreeze for circulation. To enjoy even less expense for water heating, some consider tying a solar heating panel here.

Thoughts About Cost?

Here comes the bad news. The hydronic radiant floor heating system is quite expensive compared to a standard furnace unit. However, if you compare benefits, the price is actually practically low.

For forced-air heating mechanism, the average cost is around 1900 to 2250 dollars per thousand square feet of area. On the other hand, a hydronic radiant flooring system will need around 2500 to 6500 dollars for same area. This rate is including a boiler system.

The hydronic flooring system, then again, is 40% more efficient than standard furnace unit. Also, it lasts way longer than air-forced heating mechanisms. The hydronic flooring system will keep working for 40 years on average. While the standard type provides 10 to 25 years of service.

installing radiant floor heating in existing home

Deciding Heat Source.

Depending on what climate you reside in, the heat source can vary here. It also deepens on the size of your house.

Somebody living in Canada with a huge home and high ceiling will definitely need a boiler system for heating. However, another person who lives in Florida with a tiny home can rely on a regular water heater system without any problem.

About Installation Process

Talking about the installation process, I am going to consider a gas-fired boiler system here. Before you hire someone for doing the flooring, talk to your HRFH specialist about heating system installation. It is important before putting the floor in place.

There are usually two types of the installation process for this. It could be wet or dry. With the wet installation, one needs to use a thin concrete sheet or slab layered between surface and subfloor. For the dry installation, one needs to install tubes without any concrete on top. The flooring is then directly installed on top and picks heating from tubes.

Using concrete will give you a huge thermal mass retaining heat. This way you’ll have huge hot blocks beneath the floor. The density and low conductivity nature will help to retain heat effortlessly.

Wood is a high conductivity rated element. This is why wooden decks and benches cool off quickly when the sun sets off.

And so, dry installation needs less time to heat and run. These are also pretty less expensive to install. However, these need a higher temperature since there’s no thermal mass storing heat. Moreover, for proper directing of heat, it needs reflective insulation beneath tubes.

A boiler or water heater that is connected with manifold is capable of directing water to different zones.

The PEX tubing is used by a water pump that recirculates. This tubing is best for a hydronic radiant flooring system since it comes without leak, toxic and handles high-temperature with flexibility.

After Installation Maintenance.

This is my favorite part because there’s nothing much to do here. Hydronic system maintenance is pretty easy and needs no professional involvement in most cases.

You just need to perform an annual boiler checkup. With modern pumps, you’ll not have to do this as well. Since the modern version usually uses water to lubricate parts and these are very low maintenance.

However, if there’s an incident like system breakage, then the fixing could be a lot complicating. That’s when you’ll have to hire someone to deal with it.

In some cases, the charges are high and units become beyond repair. So, you’ll have to go for replacements that cost pretty much same as the first installation.

Let Expert Deal with Installation or Do-It-Yourself: The Better Way?

Some think about trying DIYs for installation since it’s pretty expensive. The good news is it’s absolutely possible with little knowledge of tiles laying. In fact, half of the job is done with that know-how.

This way you would have to spend less than six hundred dollars for a 12×12 feet room. The cost for flooring material or tiles is not included though.

There are some foam panels available for such type of DIYs. It needs simple steps of laying foam panel, press-fitting tubes and placing mixed concrete.

The mixture usually needs a 5:1 ratio of sand and cement. However, this isn’t going to give you the 4 inches of addition to the floor like conventional methods. And so, it’s cheap and easy to install.

But, some flooring systems such as linoleum might show tantrums. Also, there could be any possible mishaps while trying DIY methods. This is probably going to pay you more instead of savings.

So sometimes, for the sake of playing it safe, hiring a technician who has experience and knowledge regarding any type of situation is actually a better option.

To me, going on safer routes is always the best option. However, if you trust yourself for a DIY here, go for it! Just make sure you know the right installation formula suitable for your home needs.

Also Read,

  1. How to Install Electric Baseboard Heater the Right Way?
  2. Best Way to Heat a Garage in Winter!


Time for me to wrap up for today. I hope you have a better knowledge of HRFH installation. If you don’t want to risk the method and spend long hours of struggling, consult an experienced technician for installation. However, if DIY is a better choice for you, best of luck with it!

Yes, it may seem expensive compared to the conventional style. But remember that this is a modern technology which answers for more comfort than the traditional ones.

And for the luxurious feel, it’s actually cost-effective comparing to any other heating system. So, Decide, Whether You Need It or Not!

About Jeremy

Hello! My name is Jeremy Bloomberg. I have been passionate about carpentry and DIY. Over the years, my passion slowly turned into expertise and wider knowledge about electronics. I’ve been involved in numerous projects, both professional and personal. I want to share all I have learned with you. Welcome!

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