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The flooring blog at FindAnyFloor.com keeps you up to date with the latest flooring features, tips and hot topics? Find out what’s going on beneath those feet of yours! Visit the FindAnyFloor.com floor blog and stay up to date on all things flooring. Ask questions and find answers from our flooring pros! We also have a family of flooring blogs that cover topics such as green flooring, topics for floor professionals, and our corporate floor blog to keep up with everything at FindAnyFloor.com.

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FAF Blog

Radiant Floor Heating – Electric or Hydronic?

By Stacey Kosha, (488 words) Posted in Radiant Heating on April 7, 2009
There are (30) comments permalink

The two main types of Radiant Floor Heating are Electric and HydronicI recently received an email from a customer that wanted my opinion on which hydronic or electric radiant floor heating system available is the best on the market. With so many different radiant heating systems to choose from, there is no way that I can narrow it down to a single system that is better than all others. Depending on your personal need, a system that may be perfect for one home might not work in another. I can’t and won’t try to say which specific system is right for you but I can give you some key tips that can help you significantly narrow down the choices.

There are two main types of radiant floor heating available – electronic and hydronic. Electric radiant floor heating uses the flow of electricity to generate heat. Hydronic radiant heat, on the other hand, uses hot water heated one of several different ways that flows through tubing installed under the flooring. Though there are many variations of both electronic and hydronic radiant heating systems, narrowing down the choices to one or the other can put you well on your way to deciding what is right for your home or business.

Here are some industry standards that should help:

When installing radiant heating for smaller applications such as simply warming a cold flooring surface or spot heating a home, electric radiant heating is usually preferred over hydronic. For larger applications, either electric or hydronic systems may be preferred depending on the particular situation. Special precautions must be taken with certain floor coverings such as radiant floor heating with hardwood floors.

Electric radiant heating systems can vary in power greatly. Some systems are only strong enough to warm the floor covering, while others can warm entire homes. Electric systems usually warm up quickly when turned on and cool off quickly when turned off. However, some electric floor heating systems, such as those installed in concrete slabs usually take longer to heat up, but will radiant heat long after being turned off. This is due to concrete’s ability to hold and radiant heat long after the system is shut down.

Hydronic radiant systems can take a long time to heat up therefore they are often left on 24/7 in cold climates. Because hot water takes awhile to cool off, hydronic systems radiate heat for a long time after being turned off. To install a hydronic floor heating system, you need a boiler, which results in high start up costs. For this reason, hydronic systems are mostly used in large applications where the start up costs tend to even out.

I hope these tips help to give those searching for radiant heating some idea of where to start. For tons of great info on different electric and hydronic radiant floor heating systems available, check out FindAnyFloor’s section on Radiant Heating.

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Comments (30)

Du Electric Radiant Heat posted on: August 19, 2009

Hi Stacey, Thanks for your post still many people has doubt regarding electric radiant heat v/s hydronic radiant heat. Electric radiant heat contains electricity, where as hydronic radiant heat is of tubes underneath containing hot water in it.

Sam Underfloor Heating posted on: August 20, 2009

There are many types of underfloor heating techniques, among them major are electric radiant heat and other one is hydronic radiant heat. The best one among this is electric radiant heat...

Da Suntouch Radiant Floor Heat posted on: September 3, 2009

Truly said Sam, the best among the floor heating types is electric radiant heat. I am saying this with the experience as I have used Suntouch radiant floor heating which is of electricity is really awesome and I loved it.

SteveK posted on: September 7, 2009

One of the major advantages electric radiant systems have over hydronic systems is cost. The electric systems are generally less expensive and less labor intensive to install.

In retrofit applications it's a lot more practical to use electric systems, too.

alijaha posted on: December 15, 2009

Very Nice Post!!

suntouch posted on: December 15, 2009

Hey Stacey, thank for sharing this amazing article about the radiant floor heating system. I have been searching for this kind of information since long time.

floor heating systems posted on: December 16, 2009

Electric floor heat is now becoming much more popular as a means of heating a home in certain climates. So make use of certain floor heating systems that gives you a comfortable sleep.

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