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Old 06-29-2010, 12:17 PM   #1
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Considering Radiant Heating

So I'm doing a remodel and needed to move the furnace out of an awkward area. Long story short, my house is too small and it will be hard to route the necessary ducts everywhere. One HVAC sub even recommended radiant in-floor heat (eventhough it meant he wouldn't get the job).

What is the cost of radiant heating compared to a furnace? Both in terms of installation and usage? Hydronic radiant vs electric?

The electric mats look like they are much easier to install, but can they go under carpet & hardwood, or just tiles. What is the typical wattage?

This is going in an approx 500 sq ft space on the lower floor of a 2 story home that is directly on slab foundation.

Cost of install & use is my main deciding factor. I understand it is very comfortable, but living in an area that doesn't have large temperature swings, the heating will not be used too much.


Last edited by acerunner; 06-29-2010 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 07-02-2010, 08:14 AM   #2
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Very much not at expert here, but we bought a home three years ago that has hydronic heat.

Our home had water pipes embedded in the slab when it was built. I don't know how you would install hydronic heat in an existing slab.

Our cost for heat is a lot higher than our previous home (heat pump), but I think a lot of that is poor insulation (which will be addressed this fall).

Lastly, the type of flooring you choose will affect your heating costs. Tile, I believe, would be the most efficient. If you go with carpet, there is a special pad made for radiant heat. Wood is probably one of the poorer choices, but like I said, I am far from an expert and am still researching this myself.


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Old 07-02-2010, 10:42 AM   #3
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Radiant is good as secondary heat but I can't imagine it being enough for primary heat source. Guess if you do every wall and floor too with 2 inch cast iron pipe and huge boiler maybe.
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Old 07-02-2010, 11:06 AM   #4
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Radiant water or electric can be a primary heat source
Even for very large areas

Hydronic heat is usually more cost effective
But that depends upon how you are heating the water
And if you need to buy a boiler that adds to the up-front costs

Radiant electric matts are usually lower in wattage per sq ft & are used to warm the floor, not heat
May depend upon the Mfg & product

I installed radiant electric in the bathroom & hallway outside
I installed the wires as close as recommended to obtain 15w per sq ft - according to Mfg
I can heat my bathroom to 90+ if I want to with the electric

Some areas with lower prices per KWH it makes sense to heat with electric
My bathroom someone redid in the past & took out the hw radiator
So it was easier to do the electric
We keep it at 65 usually, for my sons bath we would turn it up to 70-75
When we had a problem with our oil heat we turned it up to 75 until our oil guy was out to fix the heat

Our 250 sq ft sunroom will have radiant electric floor heat
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:17 AM   #5
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sounds like it might be more trouble than its worth.

a little off topic, but I may have another option for the furnace. I discovered horizontal furnaces. Is it possible to hang a furnace on the ceiling with the water heater underneath? That would save me some much needed space.

What is the vertical space & depth a horizontal furnace takes up? The ceilings are 8 ft tall. And this is in a garage so an 18" platform for water heater is required.
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