Radiant Heat - A Brief Background
Radiant heat is a sustainable method of heating that can be traced back to ancient times. While the advent of radiant floor heat is most often attributed to the early Roman hypocaust heating system, radiant heat was actually being used in asia thousands of years prior - as early as 5000 B.C. But it was the Romans who took radiant heat to the next level.
Hypocausts were used for heating homes as well as the Roman baths and other public buildings. Floors were built upon a series of pillars so that the space that remained under the floor could be heated. Hot air and smoke from a furnace circulated through these areas before escaping out the flues in the roof. The furnace had to constantly be stocked with wood, but the method was effective for heating living areas.
Radiant heat has come a long way since the ancient Romans, but only recently - relatively speaking - has radiant heat grabbed the attention of the masses. Consumers are now recognizing the benefits, and most upscale homes in cold weather climates now utilize radiant floor heat, as well as radiant heated driveways to keep snow and ice from accumulating.
Electric Radiant Floor Heating Systems
Electric radiant heat systems force energy through a network of conductive material (typically heat cable) installed under the floor to create resistance or heat. (Line-voltage systems are the most commonly used.) Each zone or room is wired to its own fully programmable thermostat, (available in 110 or 220 voltage). This way, each space in the house can be efficiently heated as needed. No energy is wasted, unlike conventional systems that lose considerable heat to rooms where vents are closed. The line-voltage floor heating cables most recommended are ComfortTile and Warmzone In-Slab heat cables. Warmzone carries a variety of floor heating systems that can be installed under virtually all types of flooring, including tile, hardwood, laminates, and even carpet. Each system offers unique performance characteristics, so do some research and feel free to call and speak to a radiant heat expert at 888.488.9276. Our designers are happy to discuss the different systems with you and help you better understand what product will be best for heating your floors (or driveway).
The Unique Characteristics of Radiant Heat
Radiant heat is unique in that it warms objects rather than air. Remember those hot summer days as a kid, swimming in the pool? Afterwards, you'd sprawl out on the warm cement to dry off. The cement (or a hot coffee mug) is a good example of radiant heat. Radiant heated floors provide an even heat throughout the room so you never have "cold spots" that are common with forced air systems. As the floor warms the objects in contact with it are also warmed, taking the chill out of the furniture, fixtures and the room in general. This results in an even and consistent warmth throughout the room. There's no more need to keep cranking up the thermostat.
If you've never felt the comfort of radiant heated floors, try to find a friend or neighbor who has a radiant heat system and check it out. You'll notice a distinct difference between a home being warmed with a forced-air system and that of a home with radiant heat. To learn more about the differences between radiant heat and forced-air heating systems, (or to view an image demonstrating the effectiveness of radiant heat warming a room compared to a forced air system), visit our Radiant Heat vs. Forced Air web page.
Low-Voltage and Line-Voltage Floor Heating Systems
While Warmzone offers both low-voltage and line-voltage systems, there is some misperception among consumers regarding these systems. Low-voltage radiant heat systems actually use the same voltages and consume the same amount of power as line-voltage products. The main difference is the use of a step-down transformer which reduces the voltage supplied to the heating cables / materials. Due to their safe low-voltage current (8-30v) products like FloorHeat can be nailed and stapled down to secure the product to the floor and are therefore useful for installation under hardwood and carpet. The low-voltage product we recommend is FloorHeat, which features a highly advanced polymer heating element. This is a highly proven system that is also used for roof deicing applications. (For more information about low-voltage and line-voltage systems, check out the article: The Myths of Low Voltage versus Line Voltage Radiant Heat Systems.)Also, beware of radiant heat providers that try to convince you that low-voltage systems are cheaper and safer to run. Talk with a Warmzone professional and stick with the facts to ensure that you decide on the very best solution for your needs.
Controlling a Floor Heating System
All Warmzone radiant floor heating systems offer you a choice of easy-to-use thermostats that utilize either a floor sensor to measure floor temperature, or an ambient sensor, which measures the actual temperature in a specific room. (You can also install a thermostat with both the in-floor and ambient temperature sensor.)
Radiant heating systems are fully programmable, and each zone (room) can be controlled separately with the programmable thermostat. So you can program your system to operate based on your family's schedule. The system can activate shortly before you wake up each morning and then turn off when you leave for work. And the schedule can be adjusted work work days as well as weekends. The thermostats include an integrated ground fault circuit interupter (GFCI) breaker for safety, located at the power source.
While many homeowners prefer to heat their entire home with radiant heat, others prefer to use radiant heat in select rooms to supplement a conventional heating source. This can add comfort to your most popular rooms and areas where your children play.
Compare Customer Services as well as Radiant Heat Products
In addition to providing several radiant floor heating solutions, Warmzone is a leading provider of radiant heated driveway and roof deicing systems. Our products are among the industry's best, but our customer services set us apart even more. Call a Warmzone representative or browse our informative website for more information. Electric and hydronic radiant heat technology is used for indoor heating as well as snow melting and roof deicing applications.
Installing a radiant heating system is a significant investment in your home, so take time to research your options and consult with an expert. At Warmzone, are proud to offer unmatched customer services, installation support and even free installation training. As you consider installing a heated floor or driveway, perhaps one of the most important things to remember is that a radiant heat system is only as good as its installation. That's why it's important to deal with experienced professionals who provide detailed AutoCAD layouts and personal installation support services.