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Radiant Floor Heating System: How it Works

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When a new construction project starts or the rehabilitation of a building begins, we always ask ourselves: what is the most adequate heating system and what should we consider before installing radiant floor heating systems?

In this article, we will explain the reasons why a radiant floor heating system is ideal for obtaining great comfort and energy conservation. Likewise, we will indicate how it works and what are its advantages.

How does a floor heating system work?

With this system, the air temperature at the height of the feet is slightly higher than the air temperature at the height of the head.

It consists of a network of cross-linked polyethylene or polybutylene pipes, which are installed under the pavement and a layer of self-leveling mortar through which hot water circulates at a temperature between 30ºC and 45ºC.

It is the heating system that uses the lowest water flow temperature. As a reference, a conventional radiator installation uses a water temperature of about 70°C.

Some main elements to install in radiant floor heating system

  1. Radiant floor collector boxes: They are the collectors from where the radiant floor circuits start, and they are usually embedded in the wall.
  2. Underfloor heating screed perimeter expansion edging strip: This is a band of polyethylene foam placed on the emitter tubes due to its heating/cooling functionality which absorbs the dilatations produced by the cement mortar. It is fixed to the walls of all areas to be heated from the base floor to the upper level of the pavement.
  3. Radiant floor polyethylene film: It is an anti-humidity barrier between the base floor and the radiant floor emitting surface placed on top of it. It is usually installed when there is a lack of moisture in the floor/slab. It can come incorporated in the insulating panel.
  4. Radiant floor insulation panel: This is the thermal insulation of the system. It is essential for any radiant floor heating installation. Insulating panels are used for this purpose on which the pipes are installed.
  5. Radiant floor pipes: To carry out the laying of circuits from the collectors, plastic pipes with oxygen diffusion barrier are used. They are usually polyethylene or polybutylene pipes and are specially made for this heating system.

Why is the radiant floor an efficient system?

Both from the economic and comfort point of view, the radiant floor heating systemsare the most efficient system. Some of its benefits include that:

  • It employs a very low water discharge temperature (30-45ºC) with respect to traditional radiator systems (70-75ºC).
  • As it is a low-temperature system, great savings are achieved by combining it with efficient heat generation systems such as aerothermal, geothermal, low temperature or condensing boilers and solar thermal energy.
  • With a heat pump system, it can be used as a refreshing floor in summer.
  • It is environmental-friendly due to its low energy consumption.
  • It is a system that provides great comfort to users by completely eliminating the inconvenience caused by other air conditioning systems (air currents, stratification, dryness, etc.).

What should we take into account during a radiant floor installation?

As we have seen previously, the underfloor heating system is one of the best heating systems on the market, but it is advisable to take into account some considerations:

  • In combination with efficient heat systems, it requires a medium-high initial investment, with respect to other heating systems (such as radiators), but with short-term investment returns.
  • It is a system that works continuously. It is not suitable in places where it needs to be turned off and on every day.
  • It needs a height of 10-12 cm, so it is not possible to install it in all cases. For this, it is necessary to carry out a preliminary study for its adaptation, both in new construction and in rehabilitation.

Are you looking to include this technology in your home construction or rehabilitation? Then you should contactConquer Plumbing for an efficient and timely underfloor heating solution.

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