What Is in-Floor Heating?


Quick Answer

In-floor heating is a type of radiant heating using electrical wires or pipes carrying hot water embedded under the floor. Heat from the wires or pipes radiates to the floor and then out to the room.

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Full Answer

Unlike a heating system that cycles on and off, in-floor heating is constant. The continuous supply of heat radiating from the floor forces cold air up, maintaining a near-constant room temperature. This avoids a situation where warm air from a vent rises to the ceiling, cools, and then drops to the floor, creating cold spots. With no fans cycling on and off, an in-floor heating system is quiet compared to a traditional furnace system.

For whole-house heating, pipes carrying hot water from a water heater is the preferred method. Although more expensive to install initially, hot-water-based radiant heat is more efficient to operate over the long term. For supplemental heat in a single room, such as a bathroom or kitchen, electrical systems consisting of thin wires, easily placed under tile or flooring, are often used.

Although most types of flooring are compatible with in-floor heating systems, carpet can reduce the effectiveness to the point that it wouldn't be practical. In addition, there are no in-floor air-conditioners, so a separate air-conditioning system is needed for cooling.

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