What to Consider
If you are planning to install radiant floor heating in new construction or renovation, then you have several options to choose from. The following is a list of things you must consider to help you decide which design option is best for you and your home.
Step One: You have to determine what type of fuel/ energy source you have or will use such as electric, gas, oil, etc. In addition, you have to determine if you will be installing an electric or water (hydronic) systems.
Step Two: You'll need to determine if your installation will be ‘wet,’ this means that the cables/tubing are embedded in a concrete slab or
lightweight concrete/ thinset or if your installation will be ‘dry,’ meaning attached to subfloor or sandwiched between the sub-flooring and a layer of gypsum-cement. The method of installation will you choose may depend on if this is new construction or if you are renovating an existing home, the type of finish floor, energy costs in your area, and your budget.
It is important to understand the importance of the concrete or gypsum-cement sub-flooring. Both have a high thermal mass, which retains heat, and very slowly releases that heat, which is important to the radiant floor heating system.
Step Three: At this point you have to determine how many zones or areas you want. This is so that you can separately change the temperature in these areas such as the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, or living room.
Step Four: Now that you have determined your source of energy, installation, and number of zones, your next step is to decided if you will be doing this project yourself of if you will be hiring a contractor. Before you decide that you will do this your self, you must take into consideration the amount of time you have per day to devote to this project, your experience, and what inconveniences this will cause. Keep in mind this is not a project that you will be able to roll out of bed, read the paper, then start the project, and be finished before dinnertime. To do it your self this will take several days if not a week, depending on your skill level. If you decide to hire a contractor, make sure that they are qualified to install a radiant heating system. Make sure that you check the contractor’s references.
By doing your research, and determining what type of radiant floor heating system you want, you will almost certainly get the type of radiant flooring you need.
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