Radiant or in floor heating refers to coils that are placed under your home’s floorboards and which then circulate warm air. This air gently warms the floor itself, rather than a furnace that blows warm air into a room. Radiant heating can be a good choice for many homes, as it allows the heat to naturally rise from the floor up; this can mean less power is needed to heat a room. If you’re doing some renovating or are having a new home built, note a few questions you might have about radiant heating and this can help you determine if the choice is right for you.
Does the floor ever get too hot?
The term “too hot” can mean different things to different people; some people prefer a cooler space and may find that the floor gets too warm for them on occasion. If the coils are placed under thin wood floorboards, this might allow more heat to be felt on your feet. However, most people simply feel that the floor is “warm” and not too hot, and enjoy the sensation of warm feet in the wintertime. Note, too, that like your standard furnace, you can simply adjust the heat on your thermostat and this will adjust the number of times warm air is circulated. You might also find that putting down an area rug to create a layer between your feet and the floorboards can keep you comfortable so that the room gets warm but your feet do not.
Does a home need a separate air conditioner?
Some systems actually circulate cool air through the tubing as well as warm air, but these are usually the most expensive models. Since heat rises and colder air settles, you might also find that these systems don’t do enough to cool the entire space; the cool air may be felt more readily near the floor and not near your upper body. In many cases, homeowners may prefer to have a separate air conditioner installed along with radiant heating.
Can in-floor heating be installed in just parts of the house?
Most systems allow you to put the coils in just certain parts of the house and they will have a separate controller for adjusting the heat in that room alone. This can be good if you’re on a budget and can’t afford to add radiant heating to your entire house, or you spend most of your time in one room of the home and don’t want to heat the whole house unnecessarily.