Hydronic radiant floor heating is the most popular system of radiant heat. Hydronic radiant floor heating system has been used to heat floor for a long time. It was first used by the Romans. The technology has developed ever since then. Modern and most advanced technology used in hydronic floor heating systems is PEX radiant tubing. These tubing are installed in a concrete mass called Gypsum Concrete or “Gypcrete.” The PEX tubing is laid in the grooves of pre-cut wood panels rather than embedding the hot water tubing in concrete. This new method of hydronic floor heating is ideal for remodeling as well as most new construction projects.
How Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating System Works
Hydronic radiant floor heating systems use a boiler to heat up hot water and a pump to circulate the hot water in plastic pipes installed in a concrete slab. The pipes are embedded under the floor and carry heated water. This heated water then transfers heat to the surface of the floor which in turn heats everything that comes in contact with the floor.
The surface area of the floor is separated into radiant heat zones that are controlled by one thermostat and served by a manifold which distributes the flow of warm water to the individual circuits of tubing within each zone.
Advantages of Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating
The foremost and clear advantage of hydronic radiant floor heating systems over other heating systems is that you can use a variety of energy sources to heat the water – a gas water heater, electric boiler, wood boiler, heat pump, solar collector, or even geothermal energy. You can even use solar energy to heat the water.
Another major advantage of hydronic radiant floor heating is that the water retains residual heat longer than electric wires.
The heated water inside the tubing can warm the floor to about 85 degrees Fahrenheit. A zone control adjusts floors of various rooms to the desired temperatures.
As I mentioned above, hydronic radiant floor heating is a very old system to heat floors. During initial period the temperature control was marginal and metal piping corroded, leaving leaky pipes. These pipes were difficult to repair.
But today we have much advanced technology. Manufacturers of today’s water-circulating systems are taking advantage of modern technology and materials to produce high-quality, low-maintenance floor heating systems. Now they utilize sophisticated control manifolds and polybutylene or synthetic rubber tubing that are more reliable and durable.
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