Differences Between Electric and Boiler-Powered In-Floor Heating Installation

Plumbing & Heating

Many people find the idea of floor-based radiant heat appealing because of the even warmth it provides, the lack of noise and dust from a furnace, and the toasty floors on chilly days. Two types of In-Floor Heating Installation are available for radiant heat. One uses electrical cables or mats while the other involves tubes or pipes with hot water, which is known as a hydronic system. The hydronic system requires a boiler to heat the water. A boiler can run on various types of fuel, such as natural gas, liquid propane or wood.

In-Floor Heating Installation with the electric model is significantly less efficient than with a boiler system. This makes it more useful in very mild climates or in relatively small spaces, such as one or two rooms. For instance, the homeowner might use this option in a new addition that won’t have duct work to the furnace but still receives some heat from adjacent rooms. It also is helpful for rooms situated far from the furnace that tend to feel chilly in the winter and in bathrooms for extra warmth while bathing. Installation is easier than with the hydronic system, so labor costs less.

The energy savings with a hydronic system are substantial, however, which is why most people choose that model if they want to heat a large area or the entire house. The boiler pumps hot water through the pipes or tubes, creating a comfy environment no matter how cold the weather gets. The main energy use involves bringing the floors up to the desired temperature; maintaining that temperature draws less energy. That’s an important point since a hydronic heat system is not meant to have the temperature turned down a great deal when people leave the house for several hours as they would with a forced-air furnace. It takes a long time to regain the desired temperature. With a forced-air furnace system, the furnace cycles on and off over and over to keep the house warm. Heat, and thus comfort, tends to fluctuate to a certain degree, but that is not the case with hydronic floor heat as installed by a contractor such as Carlson Bros Mechanical Contracting. You can also connect with them on Facebook.