Infloor Heating: Picking the Most Efficient System
LESLIE: Russ in Illinois has a question about flooring. How can we help you with the project?
RUSS: Yeah, we have about a 20×30 foot family room over a crawlspace and we are thinking about putting down a floating hardwood floor – snapped together tight – and we’re wanting to heat the floor with an in-floor heating system like water tubing or something like that but we’re wondering what the most efficient way is; what the best way is to go about doing that.
TOM: OK. Well, you have a couple of options. You can use electric radiant which – you know, all of these are available in sort of the modular systems where you can connect different panels together and run them, so you don’t necessarily need professional installation on everything. But the radiant heat that’s electric, it’s probably the more expensive one to run but the least expensive to buy.
If you wanted to do something that was with, say, a hot water system, then you could do that. With a hot water system, you can either install the hydronic pipes underneath the floor or above the floor, sort of in channels where it’s like plywood that’s sort of carved out to take the PEX – which is cross-linked polyethylene piping – and then you put the hardwood floor on top of that. With that, though, you’re going to have to create a zone and add it to your heating system; assuming that you have a hot water system to begin with. Do you have hot water heat now?
RUSS: We do have – no, we don’t. We don’t.
TOM: I think electric is going to be your only option.
LESLIE: You know, there’s a good website, Russ. It’s called NuHeat.com and it’s N-u-H-e-a-t.com. And it’s a great site because there are two different ways that you can customize your own radiant heat mats for the floor: there’s a standard set, which are basically for, you know, square and rectangle rooms; and then if you’ve got a tricky space, there’s a build-your-own mat system for curved walls – you know, whatever unusual circumstances you might have in the space.
But I like the site because it snaps together very easily; there’s an instructional video so that it’s completely foolproof when you’re putting it together. And we all know radiant heat is just awesome; it will help lower your heating bills because you’re subsidizing the heat that’s in the room, plus your feet will be so happy.
LESLIE: So, you know, it’s a good project to tackle.
RUSS: Great. Yeah, we do want to do the project ourselves so I will check out that site. Thank you.
TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. .