To save energy and enjoy a warm floor on the coldest days, radiant floor heating is a good solution. Radiant underfloor kitchen heating transfers heat into the floor, which allows you to keep your toes warm while working in the kitchen to prepare a meal or grab coffee in the morning during the winter. It’s an alternative to waiting for an entire heating and cooling system to warm the whole house, which will usually take extra long when it comes to a tile or laminate floor.
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There are two types of radiant underfloor systems: dry-system radiant tubing and hydronic radiant-floor tubes. Dry-system radiant tubing is located above and in between two layers of plywood or under the subflooring. Hydronic radiant-floor tubes will be beneath the finished level of flooring, with water running through them that’s heated by gas, wood, oil, solar or a combination of boilers. The latter tends to be the most efficient in terms of energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. However, they are the more the expensive of the two.
There is also the electric radiant system, which can be installed in just one room of the home. It consists of thin cables installed under tiles. They don’t raise flooring levels much, which means they’re good for installation during a home remodel. They don’t replace the main heating unit, but rather add onto it with their own thermostat system. They will need their own protected circuit.
When you install radiant heat piping in mortar as opposed to under the floor, you get more evenly distributed heat, with fewer overly warm or cool spots. On the other hand, there is something to be said for going with the method that is easiest and thus less expensive to install. The floor temperature should not exceed 85 F, as anything over that will feel too warm on the feet. Also, remember not to put radiant heat under cabinets that will have food in them because the warmth is not good for stored food such as potatoes and onions.