If your home construction project has reached the heating system selection stage, you may find yourself considering radiant floor heating instead of a furnace. Installing the system isn't complicated, but that doesn't mean that there aren't some risks of problems. Before you actually have the system installed, it's beneficial to understand the potential problem areas of the construction and installation phase. Here are a few of the things you should watch for during construction to ensure that you're getting the most from your radiant floor heat.
How Does Home Construction Affect Radiant Floor Heating?
Unlike furnace heat that just requires the installation of a furnace and air ducts, radiant floor heating becomes a permanent part of your home's construction. It's built into the flooring and requires a delicate balance of insulation and subflooring. There are a few things to discuss with the building contractors ahead of time.
Put insulation under the foundation. Radiant heat is installed in the foundation when the concrete is still somewhat wet. This radiates the heat through the concrete, which transfers up into your flooring. In order to maximize that heat in the concrete slab, you need sufficient insulation under the foundation to help hold the heat in. If there isn't enough insulation, the heat will dissipate into the ground.
Add heat reflection on the upper floors. You can install radiant floor heating on the upper stories as well, but it means putting the heating system above the floor joists. That means you'll need to have some heat reflectors put in beneath the joists to keep the heat there. If your builder skips the reflectors, you'll risk having some heat seep out to the lower floor.
Choose an optimal flooring style. The type of flooring you install is important, because it will have a direct effect on how well the heat transfers through. Avoid choosing things like carpet, because the carpeting will prevent the heat from reaching the room. Instead, consider hardwood, tile or linoleum for your flooring so that you will get the most benefit from the heat. Your contractor can help you explore the choices to find a flooring that you're happy with that will also allow the heat to radiate.
With these tips, you'll be better prepared to ensure success with your new radiant floor heating. If you're ready to take the leap, talk to your building contractor or a heating company like C & D Cooling & Heating Co about integrating a radiant heat system in your new home's design. The more proactive and aware you are from the start, the greater your chances of success will be.