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RADIANT HEATING FAQ

Have questions about radiant floor heat?

 

The Radiant Made Simple's FAQ can help you. 

Click a question below to learn more about radiant floor heat and hydronic radiant heat.

Frequently asked questions

WHAT IS RADIANT HEAT?


Radiant heat is a noun. The definition is: heat energy transmitted by electromagnetic waves in contrast to heat transmitted by conduction or convection.




WHY RADIANT FLOOR HEAT?


Radiant floor heat is the most comfortable heat available. Warmth radiates from the floor warming our bodies and the objects surrounding us. The radiant heat energy that we pay for rises from the floor to the ceiling instead of being blown in from the ceiling and staying up by the ceiling as with forced air heat, escaping through the ceiling or through open doors.




WHAT IS A RADIANT HEATED FLOOR?


Hydronic radiant floor systems pump heated water from a boiler through tubing laid in a pattern under the floor. In some systems, controlling the flow of hot water through each tubing loop by using zoning valves or pumps and thermostats regulates room temperatures.




IS ELECTRIC HEAT AFFORDABLE COMPARED TO GAS WHEN USED IN A RADIANT FLOOR SYSTEM?


You decide, depending on your electric rate. Generally, electric rate increases have not approached the continuing steep rise in propane, natural gas and fuel oil prices. Examples: If electricity costs you 5¢ per kWh it would compare to propane at 81¢ per gallon, natural gas at 88¢ per Therm or fuel oil at $1.13 per gallon. Or, if you pay 8¢ per kWh for electricity it compares to propane at $1.29 per gallon, natural gas at $1.41 per Therm or fuel oil at $1.80 per gallon.




WHAT IS HYDRONIC RADIANT HEAT?


Radiant heating is a technology for heating indoor and outdoor areas. Heating by radiant energy is observed every day, the warmth of the sunshine being the most commonly observed example. Radiant heating as a technology is more narrowly defined. It is the method of intentionally using the principles of radiant heat to transfer radiant energy from an emitting heat source to an object.




DO I NEED TO HAVE FREEZE PROTECTION FOR MY IN FLOOR RADIANT HEAT SYSTEM?


Yes, as your Radiant Heating System is expensive, it deserves protecting using a fluid that that keeps the fluid in the system from freezing. Even though you may be in an area that does not reach severely cold temperatures the product that we offers provides both freeze protection and contains rust inhibitors.




CAN I USE AUTOMOTIVE ANTI-FREEZE IN MY RADIANT HEATING SYSTEM?


No! Automotive Anti-freeze is not environmentally safe. Automotive antifreeze is poisonous and must not be used as a heat transfer fluid in a radiant heating system.




WHAT SHOULD I USE FOR FREEZE PROTECTION IN MY HYDRONIC RADIANT HEATING SYSTEM?


The best product for freeze protection in a Hydronic Radiant Heating System is a Propylene Glycol that contains inhibitors. It should be added to softened water at a ratio of 23%. As a substitute for Propylene Glycol, RV anti-freeze containing propylene glycol may be used. Installer assumes all responsibilities for material and the ratio used. Warning: Many RV Anti-freeze products use alcohol as the base and must not be used.




CAN I USE RADIANT HEAT WITH A GEOTHERMAL SYSTEM?


Radiant heat used in conjunction with a geothermal system provides a system that is highly efficient, provides unsurpassed comfort as well as extremely flexible. Geothermal systems are available in forced air as well as hydronic models. The hydronic models create hot water that can be used for radiant heating as well as forced air heating using a fan coil.




WHY DO MOST PEOPLE ONLY TALK ABOUT USING RADIANT HEATING FOR BASEMENT AND GARAGE FLOOR INSTALLATIONS?


Radiant floor heat is most effective in basement or garage concrete floors that are either at ground level or below ground level. Garages and basements commonly meet these conditions and have relatively well-defined heat losses. Other common applications include home additions, workshops, storage buildings, commercial buildings etc. Such structures may have more widely varying heat losses. For such applications contact us with a description of your radiant heat floor plans. We are happy to help you choose the appropriate product.




CAN RADIANT FLOOR HEAT BE ADDED LATER?


Unfortunately, there are no low-cost ways to add radiant floor heat to an existing garage or basement concrete floor. If you are building, now is the time to install radiant floor heat. If nothing else prior to pouring concrete at least install the PEX tubing.




WHAT IF I WANT MORE THAN ONE TEMPERATURE ZONE?


Zoning a basement or garage concrete radiant floor will require framing thermal barriers between zones before concrete is poured. Otherwise, the efficient heat conductivity of concrete will blend temperature between zones.




WHAT IS A ZONE?


A zone is an area that is controlled by a thermostat.




WHAT IS A LOOP?.


In Radiant Heating, a loop is a single length of PEX tubing. An area may have many loops.




DO ALL THE "LOOPS" NEED TO BE THE SAME LENGTH?


Ideally, yes. Unequal loop length creates unequal pressure resistance in which the shorter length will tend to move more fluid resulting in uneven heat. For good performance with a radiant system, make sure that each loop is nearly equal in length.




WHAT TUBE SPACING IS APPROPRIATE FOR RADIANT HEAT APPLICATIONS?


Spacing depends on several variables including the heat loss of a basement or garage area. In residential areas such as basements, 12-inch spacing is most common. It is helpful to space the first few tubes closer together in an area at ground level as in a basement walkout area where heat loss is greater. Likewise, spacing can be wider where heat loss is less, as where the floor is several feet under the surface of the ground, or in the center of a large space.




DO I NEED TO INSULATE THE BASEMENT OR GARAGE CONCRETE FLOOR?


Basement and garage floor insulation is critically important to keep from losing heat to the outdoors by conduction through adjacent walls, foundations to the earth. When the radiant heated floor is not insulated adequately, it may cause dramatically increased energy loss resulting in higher energy bills. Also, the radiant heating unit may not have sufficient output for the unintended heat loss.




WHY THERMOLEC?


It's small, light-weight, but very powerful boiler. It employs patented power-sharing technology. It's 99% efficient, CSA, H stamp, and UL listed for space heating applications. It allows for self-diagnostics and ease of service. See the system wiring details here.




WHAT SIZE BOILER SYSTEM SHOULD I SELECT?


Call us at (320)297-9100 to discuss factors and find out what size is right for you.




IS A COPY OF THE RMS OWNER AND INSTALLATION MANUAL AVAILABLE?


Yes, click here to obtain the Radiant Made Simple RMS Owner and Installation Manual.




WHY ISN'T MY THERMOSTAT WORKING PROPERLY?


The correct wiring for the thermostat can be found here.




HOW MUCH FLUID IS NEEDED WHEN USING 1/2" DIAMETER PEX TUBING?


1/2" PEX tubing requires approx. .92 gallons per 100' of 1/2" PEX.




CAN I HAVE TWO ROOMS AT SEPARATE TEMPERATURES?


Yes. 2 separate areas to be heated are called zones. The heat for each is controlled by a separate thermostat. However, in order to have separate zones, each area needs to be separated with a thermal barrier. Not installing a thermal barrier will allow heat generated for one area to migrate to other areas.




WHAT PEX PRODUCT SHOULD I USE FOR A VERY LARGE AREA?


For very large areas, the PEX diameter to use could be 5/8" diameter. A PEX length could be as long as 500 feet. When using PEX of this length calculations must be made to assure sufficient pump capability that allows for a sufficient fluid flow.




CAN AN RMS BE USED FOR A MULTI-ZONE SYSTEM?


The RMS product is designed for a single zone system. The RMS pump size has been selected for a maximum of 5 loops of 1/2" PEX at 300 feet per loop. The manifold has been selected for a maximum of 5 loops. The design of an HRC allows versatility for pump, manifold and fluid control. The results of this design are: Simplification for installation and economical cost for the RMS product.





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