Heating System Guides

Consumer Buying Guides to Home Heating and Air Conditioning Systems

Radiant Floor Heating Systems

The most common radiant floor heating systems are powered by electricity and are used as a primary heat source in some homes. Many homeowners may also use electric floor heaters as supplemental heat source if a forced air system or other type of home heating system just can’t keep up with your demands.

In addition to the electric baseboard radiant heaters, hot water heating systems also make use of baseboard radiant heat, by allowing hot water to flow through the baseboard versus using electricity.

Most use resistant heat which converts 100% of the electricity to heat.  However, the process of creating the electricity is not as efficient and electric heat is one of the most expensive modes of heating.  Using radiant heat systems in small areas or as supplemental heat is a better choice than heating large spaces or entire homes with it.

Baseboard Electric Heat

As discussed at the Energy Savers website, baseboard electric heat is also known as electric resistance heating, baseboard radiant heating usually employs long, low heaters along the floor that are hard-wired into the home’s electrical system.  They are relatively easy to install and come in ranges from 1000 watts to about 2,500 watts.  Some of them are also filled with oil or water and may be called baseboard hydronic heaters.  The oil or water is heated and then it radiates heat into the room.

Baseboard electric heat used sparingly and strategically throughout a home can supply enough supplemental heat to assist an existing HVAC system in maintaining adequate warmth.  In very small home additions or in finished basements they might also serve a useful purpose without producing electric costs that are too high.

InFloor or Under Floor Heating

Electric heat can also be used to provide heat beneath a floor.  Again, this is a good choice in a small room such as a bathroom or kitchen, or in a small addition such as a bedroom.

For large areas or entire homes, it is not nearly as efficient as other forms of heat.  Depending on the type of flooring, heating coils might be placed beneath the flooring.  More often, tubes are installed before the flooring goes down, with the flooring installed over them.  Then the water is heated with electricity and the hot water is pumped through the tubes to create a warm floor that radiates upward into the room.

In Summary, radiant floor heating systems have been in use for many years and remain common in many homes, especially as supplemental heating.  The equipment is relatively affordable and can be easy to install, even as a DIY project.  For small areas, it can prove a cost-effective form of home heating.