Its Cold outside, we need heat!

The other day we started a conversation about how to heat your new home.  Every “heating device” is a machine that makes either Hot Water or it makes Hot Air.  Technically a Furnace make hot air and a Boiler makes hot water. 

In today’s discussion we are not talking about The Boiler.  Today we will talk about Radiant Heat

Look at today’s picture and you will see a lot of pipes, in this picture they are red pipes, that go down into the concrete floor.  The big Red and Blue parts are manifolds that direct hot water to various parts of the system.  Using today’s photograph let’s look at what is going on.

The Red Pipes going down into the concrete will have heated water in them and that heat is transferred to the concrete.  What happens is the huge chunk of concrete is warmed and then “Radiates” heat into the living space.  Very simply put that is how all systems of Radiant Heat work; it’s not very complicated.

Hot water is piped throughout the house heating the floor which in turn then Radiates Heat into the home.  Here’s a couple terms:

  1. Hot Water in radiant systems isn’t really HOT, but rather it is nice and warm, typically running through the system at about 145 degrees.  If the water were warmer, it would make the floors uncomfortably hot.
  2. Thermal Mass is that part of the house that the warm water heats.  In today’s picture the Thermal Mass is truly large, it is the concrete floor.  It can also be the floor of the living room, bedrooms, and so on.
  3. PEX,  pex is a generic name for “plastic tubing” which is used with Radiant Heat.  Back when plumbers used Copper Pipe but almost completely that has changed over to plastic tubing which is a better product as a lot less cost.

Like any type of heating system Radiant has advantages and disadvantages:

PRO – Radiant heat is very comfortable, and comfort is the main reason people choose this type of heating system.  There is a misnomer that Radiant costs less but, that is simply not true.

CON – Radiant heat does cost more to install initially.  Radiant also is slow to recover.  So, if you are away for a couple weeks the temperature will climb very slowly.  Radiant is not a type of heat that you turn down during the day when you are away at work.

Your thoughts – what do you think?  What can you add to the conversation about Radiant Heat?  We’d love to hear from you.  Join in the conversation on Facebook or give us a call at 802.985-5855

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