Radiant Heated Flooring
Beautiful Laminate Floor - Just one option where radiant heating is possible
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The Heated Floor Option
Those of us who wake early for a long day at work know the experience of heading to the bathroom, eyes half closed, ready for a morning shower to wake us up and start the day off on the right foot. Sadly, we also know the feeling of being rudely brought into animation when our bare feet touch the frigid tiles of the bathroom floor and our eyes are exposed to the full light of morning as our eyelids retreat to the warmer recesses of our skulls. It is on cold mornings like this that dreams of heated flooring projects become reality.
All heated flooring falls into a category known as radiant heating. The process of heating a floor involves running a network of heating elements between the subfloor and the floor covering. The heat then radiates through the floor and results in a warm surface. Most radiant heated floors are heated using electricity but some are heated using water.
Hot Water Radiant Heating
This form of radiant heating is a bit more expensive to install and is most commonly used in new buildings. In most cases, hot water based radiant heating is installed before the concrete for a home is poured. This results in a built in system that is very durable as the water lines are protected by a layer of concrete. The flexible water pipe, usually a PEX pipe, is routed in loops that extend back and forth across the area of the rooms that are to be heated.
This network of water piping is connected to a hot water source. This hot water source can be something as simple as a home hot water heater or a large boiler in the case of commercial applications.
A thermostat is connected to a pump that forces the water to circulate through the network of pipes and back to the hot water source when the room temperature drops below the thermostats setting. When the ambient temperature of the room rises to suitable levels, the thermostat sends a signal to the pump to stop circulating the heated water until it is needed again.
Electric Radiant Heating
For those who don't want to go to expense of installing hot water radiant heating or who are remodeling an existing home, electric radiant heating applications may be a better choice. Electric radiant heating systems are sold in two varieties. One form of electric radiant heating system consist of a long flexible heating element cable that is routed across the floor surface in the same manner as the PEX pipe of hydrionic radiant heat. The second form of electric radiant heat consists of a thin mat that has the heating element woven into it.
In both systems, the heating element cable or mat is laid out on top of the subfloor, prior to the installation of floor coverings. The thermostat is then routed to a suitable location for electrical connection to be made after the flooring is installed.