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Hydronic Radiant Floor Heat

Hydronic radiant floor heat is an effective and cost-efficient way of heating your home and is easy to install for the do-it-yourself kind of person.

Hydronic Radiant Floor Heating
The foundation of a hydronic radiant floor heati system contains aluminum (or cement) flooring underneath the wood or tile paneling of your house.  Water is first boiled and pumped through polyethylene PEX tubing which is embedded in the aluminum foundation.  The heat travels from a wood, oil, or electric boiler and sends heat through the piping.  The aluminum heats, using convection to heat up the floor and move warm air upward into your living space.

There are numerous advantages to this form of heating:  firstly, with conventional heating systems, the heated air must travel through vents, thence moving in a scattered fashion throughout the house.  The heating efficiency of these systems is, in comparison, much less than hydronic radiant heating because of the nature of heat.   The heat in your home constant rises as cooler air replaces it near the floor.  The idea behind these hydronic systems complements the relationship between warm and cool air.  The heat will still rise toward the ceiling, but the ground will remain consistently warm.  Secondly, since the heat will be coming directly from the PEX tubing underneath your floor, it will not disturb dust mites or allergens that cause allergic reactions, sneezing and respiratory infections.

However, in order to install a hydronic radiant floor heat system, you (or a contractor) must remove the current flooring from your home.  Most hydronic radiant systems are designed with an intention of heating your entire house, which will require a boiler that has enough power to heat your entire floor space.  These boilers are becoming less expensive and more efficient with recent developments in polyethylene tubing, which only came to the U.S. in the 1980s.  Also, if you decide to invest in alternative energy sources such as geothermal or solar, the projected return on your investment is steadily increasing.  If you are not ready to invest this amount of time into redesigning your house’s entire heating system, you might consider Electric Radiant heat, because it is designed for smaller spaces.

Most often, the cold feeling we experience is not due to merely to cold temperatures, but to dramatic fluctuations in temperature.  Conventional heating systems tend to move air around too rapidly, causing the warm air to rise to the ceiling, while the cool air moves toward the floor.  This causes temperature pockets to form.  Thus you may feel warm near the center of a room, but feel cold near a door.  Floor heating systems keep a consistent temperature, generally causing you to feel warmer all the time. 

If you are interested in redeveloping your existing home heating system, hydronic radiant floor heat can be a great alternative to a conventional furnace to vent system.  If you have the desire and capacity to learn about the installation process, there are some very informativeFree Reprint Articles, “do it yourself” (DIY) groups that can help to educate you on proper designs and materials.  The most important aspect will be how precise the PEX measurements and cuts are.   Do your job well and your hydronic radiant floor heat system will be keeping you warm and cozy for years to come.

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After a succesful life in trading, importing and exports, Rupert now spends his time writing freelance articles for many well-known publications, as well as various educational institutions.  For more of Rupert's articles regarding Hydronic Radiant Floor Heat, please visit

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