Radiant Floor Heating
What Costs Can You Expect To Have When You
Want To Install Radiant Floor Heating At Home?
Radiant floor heating works as a form of energy transfer wherein the heat energy is passed on to
objects in close proximity to the heat source instead of merely brought to the air. This is done by generating heat
through a power coil or a cord installed in areas where heat is needed such as the bedroom floor or the
The radiant heat system can be classified into floor heating, radiant ceiling panels, wall
heating, snow melt system, trace heating and fired radiant heaters. Commonly used is the radiant floor heating system which can be divided into three types: radiant air
floors, electric or hydronic (hot water).
These three types can be further classified by how they are installed. A wet installation uses
big thermal mass of slab of concrete floor above a wooden subfloor. The dry installation, on the other hand, the
radiant floor system is sandwiched between two plywood layers or is installed underneath the subfloor.
Since air is incapable of holding a huge amount of heat, the radiant air floors are not
productive and sensible to be used in residential houses. Electric
radiant underfloor heating for your floors, in contrast, are cost-effective only if the electrical company
presents a time-of-use rates where it charges the concrete flooring with heat on off-peak hours (usually at 9pm to
Hydronic floor heating systems are the widely used and
most cost-effective heating system and have been extensively used in Europe for a long time. This system propels
heated water from the boiler via a system of tubes placed below the floor. The room temperature is then controlled
through the regulation of the water flow via pumps, valves and thermostats.
Typical cost in installing a hydronic radiant heating would usually range from $6 to $15 per
square foot, around $9000 to $22500 in a 1,500 sq ft. house. Newly constructed houses will cost less in
installation compared to renovating the floor.
An electric radiant floor system is normally installed in a specific room only since electricity
is quite expensive. An average-sized comfort room would cost about $400 to $700 for a thin electric mat with timer
Comparing the cost of this system to a forced-air system would depend on many factors such as
location of the house, the lifestyle of its occupants and the availability of the products for installation.
Typically, a forced-air system runs 10 to 25 percent cheaper than the radiant heat models
since the installation of the latter would be labor intensive. However, the radiant heating system it is
less expensive to run and would eventually increase the value of the house when put on the market.
Additionally, the radiant system is healthier and more comfortable since it won't remove
the moisture from the air which could, in turn, cause skin dryness. There are also less dust and other
irritants with the radiant system.
In a 2000 sq ft house, a forced-air system would cost around $3800 to $4500 compared to the
hydronic system, which is about $4000 to $5000. However, the normal life expectancy of a forced-air system is 10-25
years while the hydronic system can keep on for 30-45 years. The maintenance cost of the former
would be higher compared to that of the latter.
So in the long run, the radiant heat system is definitely more cost-effective compared
to other heating systems. Just remember that anything that will slow down the process of heat transfer
could easily increase the energy consumption.