Radiant floor heating tubes are shown on a home's floor during installation

If you are looking for a heating system that is safe and efficient, radiant floor heating should be your first choice. It is easy to install and operate and frees up space. However, to enjoy your heating system, have the installations handled by professionals.

Radiant floor heating systems are used to generate heat through hot water tubing or electric wires to the floors. The design simply depends on an individual’s needs. Installing this system will help you decrease energy bills and enjoy comfort in your space, especially during the cold seasons.

Let’s dive deep into some tips and tricks to guide you around installing and maintaining a proper radiant floor heating system. Then, we’ll look at some of the mistakes that occur during installations and how you can avoid them.

Tips and Tricks for Radiant Floor Heating Design

Not every building with these systems generates the heat as expected. More often than not, this happens due to poor installation. As a result, optimizing your heating system begins before you even install it. 

Decide Whether DIY or Professional Installation Has a Warranty

You can opt for a DIY project if you have enough time and knowledge about radiant floor heating systems.

However, DIY projects are not always the solution. It will take time and requires excellent skills to handle the installations effectively. 

A homeowner installing a hydronic Hydronic Radiant floor Heating system in a room of his home

If identifying your needs, determining the correct layout of the rooms, and installing the system are challenging, hire professionals.

Identify Your Needs

Start by identifying the rooms that require radiant floor heating installation.

It is common for homeowners to install radiant floor heating in rooms with hard floor surfaces, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Unfortunately, radiant heating doesn’t work best with hard floors.

So what happens with homes that have hard floor surfaces throughout?

In such a case, you will need to install heated floors throughout the house. After you identify the rooms that need the installations, calculate the area of each room.

Start by measuring every side of the room. Most rooms measure 10 x 10 ft (3.05 m), 12 x 12 ft (3.66 x 3.66 m), or 10 x 12 ft (3.05 x 3.66 m). Gauge the area of each room by multiplying the lengths of every two connecting walls.

Having this area in hand will help you choose the amount of heating you need. As a rule of thumb, larger rooms need more substantial heating. The information will also help you select the right length of electric heating cables.

It will be essential for you to determine if your existing floors will require modifications before installing radiant floor heating. Your subflooring and floor material will dictate the components of your radiant floor heat system. 

Looking down at a crosssection of and exposed radiant floor at right and a section of linoleum flooring covering it to the left

You’ll still need a flooring expert to make calculations and help with installation, but having this knowledge will make it easier to follow along. It should also give you a better idea of pricing.

Select Your System and Components

Once you’ve selected the rooms that will need radiant floor heat, you need to choose the system that best suits your home. 

Some of your options include:

  • Hot water installations – these are also known as hydronic installations and are considered the best by many. Most homeowners opt for hydronic systems. These systems, at times, need to raise the levels of the floors, which may not be what you are looking for.
  • Electric radiant flooring – electric radiant floor heat is preferred by many because it does not occupy much space, unlike the hydronic system. It is also easier to install. However, you may still require installation assistance from an electrician to sort out some electrical aspects.

You can select mats with enabled cables or cables for your components’ needs for electric radiant heating. If you choose a hydronic system, it will be compatible with different types and sizes of tubing.

Material Matters

The components you use to connect your radiant heat flooring system are essential. If your system will rely on hot water tubing to deliver heat, opt for PEX tubing. Unlike metallic pipes, they don’t rust and can be installed in long lengths, helping minimize the risk of leaks.

Because you may be unable to identify the best materials for your floors, contact an expert. With their knowledge, they will guide you accordingly, depending on your needs and budget.

Install the Radiant Floor Heating System Components Carefully

You now have everything you need. Here’s how to install your floor heating system:

  • Remove the previous floor and get ready to install your new radiant floor heating components – once you have removed your floor coverings, clean the space and lay out the heating cables. Ensure that you lay them using the precise pattern recommended by the experts – this will help ensure heat is equally distributed in the room.
  • Connect the tubing or cable to the subfloor – ensure the lines lie close to the flooring material. If you will be installing components over a wooden or concrete floor, secure the cables and tubing to the floor with the correct connectors.
  • After all the tubes and cables have been well connected, attach them to the electrical and water systems, pumps, thermostats, and water heaters. Run a complete test. Ensure the system is working as designed before you law the floor coverings.
The pipes and valves of a hydronic radiant floor heating system are shown on the wall attached to the exposed lines spanning the floor

Maintenance

Maintenance is a must to enjoy the durability of your heating system. Regular maintenance of your radiant heat flooring will help identify any underlying issues early, as most of the system should be in good shape outside the problematic part. 

Regular self-maintenance will also progressively teach you more about the overall system, making HVAC less of an inconnu.

Radiant Flooring Mistakes To Avoid

Radiant flooring is a beneficial system; however, many things can frustrate you and prevent you from enjoying it as much as you should. 

Some mistakes to avoid during the installation include:

Cable and Tubing Installation Mistakes

While installing these components, you should exercise care. Breaks and cuts in the cables during installation will result in leaky tubing in the system. 

Also, ensure that they are not installed too deep into the floors. The system will struggle to provide enough heat for your space because the components are too deep, wasting a lot of energy.

An old school radiant flooring system partially covered by wood panel flooring

The cables and tubes also need to be well distributed to promote even heat distribution.

Insufficient Insulation

Many assume no insulation is needed during the radiant floor heating system installation, but it’s imperative. Always remember to have the insulation done underneath the heating system.

This installation helps the radiant heat to travel up the floor and not down to the crawlspace or basement. The better insulated your home’s ceilings and walls are, the more heat will stay within the rooms in the house, helping you save on utility bills.

Inadequate Testing

Discovering that your installation is faulty after you have laid the flooring could be frustrating. You can avoid this by first testing the system before the final flooring installation. Make sure to experiment with the system with different thermostat settings.

Closely examine the functionality of the hydronic tubing, which will help you identify the presence of any leaks.

Importance of Hiring Radiant Heat Floor Installation Experts

Radiant floor heating is a sophisticated and cost-effective way to heat your home. You can install the flooring whether you are building a new home or remodeling. 

It can be a DIY project, but unless you’re already quite skilled with construction and remodeling, it is wise to have experts take over the entire project.

Below are some gains you will acquire from working with a professional.

Experience

Having been in the industry for several years, they can easily handle electric and hydronic radiant floors effectively. 

A homeowner installs radiant heating tubing in his home

Experience has made them well versed with the steps to follow when handling the installations, replacements, and repairs of your radiant floor. As a result, they can design a system that fully meets your needs.

Skills

Radiant floor heating specialists have skills that enable them to handle all sorts of systems. Whether you opt for an electric or hydronic system, you can depend on them. They will effectively address your needs without breaking a sweat.

These professionals will also ensure the installations are done as per your specs. They aim to deliver quality services and meet your expectations.

Save on Cost

When you deal with professionals, you will likely spend less when installing the hot water radiant floor heating system. While a DIY project can be fun and cost-efficient on paper, it can also be expensive to fix mistakes.

A professional will usually get everything right within the first trial. Even better, choose to hire their services if you want to work within a budget. They will recommend some of the best radiant floor heating systems you can afford and maintain.

Warranty

Professionals provide a warranty on their work. If your system stops working within the warranty period, they will return and fix it without charging extra. Radiant floor heating experts offering a guarantee allow you to save on repair costs.

All damages that might occur within the stated duration of the contract entitle you to repairs at no extra cost.

Key Takeaways

Installing radiant floor heating is an excellent way to keep your home warm and cozy. However, to ensure you get the most out of it, identify your needs, select the right system and components then have the installations done. 

Before you replace the flooring after installation, always test the system first to ensure it’s working. After that, it is straightforward to operate and care for. Contact an expert who will always be on standby to assist in case of an inconvenience.

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