A furnace isn’t your only option when it comes to heating up your home, especially not when you have concrete floors. Heated concrete flooring can help you save energy and create a comfortable living environment. Radiant heating heats your home from the ground-up via the in-floor heating system.
Radiant heating is quite simple. It works by circulating hot water or other electrical heating elements through tubes. These are installed in the concrete slab when it is poured. This turns the concrete into a radiator.
Heat rises, so the ideal temperature to set your radiant floor heating to is about 75F at the floor level, which will then be 68F at eye level and 61F at the ceiling. A radiant-heated floor usually feels neutral to the touch. The surface area is usually lower than your normal body temperature. You can only feel the heat on really cold days and your floor will feel warm.
Experiencing the warmth from your radiant floor can be much more pleasant than hot or cold air being blown into your face, which is what usually happens if you have a traditional forced air furnace.
Concrete floors can offer you several benefits. Your feet will always be toasty, the temperature is easy to control and is consistent, you won’t feel any drafts or noise from blowing air, and no dust or allergens will get circulated throughout your home via your air vents.
Radiant floor heating can also be zoned and often come with zoning controls that can regulate the level of heat in any particular room or area. They can do this by controlling the volume of water flowing through each tube, or the temperature of the water or both. So, depending on what a room is used for, how often it is used or what floor covering is used, you can customize the heating.
The costs for equipment and installation of radiant in-floor heating can vary widely. It will depend on factors like the type of system (electric vs. hydronic), the size of the area to be heated, zoning and control requirements and cost of labour. Your best bet would be to get quotes from several radiant heat installers in your area.
Installations done in newly poured concrete flooring is typically less expensive than having existing concrete floors retrofitted or tearing up an existing floor. Hydronic systems will have a higher initial cost because you will need to buy more equipment, which includes a boiler and a pump. But if the area you want heated is a larger area, then it might be more cost-effective in the long run. On the other hand, using electric radiant heat is more effective for heating smaller areas. For example, an average-sized bathroom will cost anywhere from $400-$700 for installation.