Issue # 29: Radiant Heating May 19, 2004

Issue #29 Radiant Heating

  1. The Basics: Heat Transfer, Floor Heating Types, FAQs
  2. Hydronic Systems: Overview, Dry Systems, Guidelines
  3. Challenges: Staple-Up, Reflective Insulation, Oxygen
  4. Electric Systems: Floor, Surface, Ceiling Panel Recalls
  5. Tips: When To Use It, Floor Coverings, Wood Floors
  6. Other Systems: Snow Melt, Infra Red, Towel Warmers
  7. More Resources: Local Association, Book, Questions?
  8. Ken’s Top Pick: If You Only Have Time For One…

1. The Basics: Heat Transfer, Floor Heating Types, FAQs

What Is Radiant Heat?
To understand radiant heating, it helps to understand the different methods of heat transfer. This University Of Winnipeg Web site explains this well with some drawings and charts.

Types Of Floor Heating Systems
The Radiant Panel Association shows you floor system options including concrete slab, thin slab, subfloor plates, subfloor boards, engineered, staple-up and hanging in joists.

Basics Of Radiant Heating: FAQs
Radiant basics like definition, location, temperature, heating methods, controls, construction, thermal mass, response time, energy savings, and cooling are offered here by the RPA.

2. Hydronic: Types, Dry Systems, Design Guidelines

Types Of Hydronic Floor Heating Systems
Radiantek, a system supplier, gives a good overview of hydronic systems including closed, indirect, open direct, with boiler and solar source options.

"Dry" System Hydronic
Systems that don’t require concrete or thermal mass, called “dry” systems, are becoming more popular for some jobs. This Toolbase Services article offers a good overview of the different options available if using this system.

Quick Design Reference Guidelines
Proper design is not easy, but these simple guidelines from RPA suggest insulation levels, tests, floor & fluid temperature, along with tube placement, lengths, and oxygen permeation.

3. Challenges: Staple-Up, Reflective Insulation, Oxygen

Problems With Staple-Up Systems (PDF FILE)
Problems are surfacing with poorly designed plateless staple-up systems, especially in colder climates. John Siegenthaler, a well-respected expert explains his concerns about these.

Reflective Insulation Below Concrete Slabs (PDF FILE)
Some overly aggressive promises about the insulating value of reflective foil insulation prompted this technical brief from the Radiant Insulation Manufacturers Association.

Oxygen In Systems
Too much oxygen in any hydronic system can corrode iron and steel parts. Industry pro Dan Holohan explains the problem and gives you solutions in this Heating Help article.

4. Electric Systems: Floor, Surface, Ceiling Panel Recalls

Radiant Heating With Electricity
For a good general overview, of the different types of electric radiant heating systems available, and a list of suppliers check out this article from RPA.

Surface Mounted Electric Radiant Ceiling Panels
If you need to add supplemental heat in some hard-to-heat areas, surfaced mounted panels might solve the problem, as described by NAHB in their PATH Technology Report.

Recalled Electric Ceiling Panels
A few years ago there was a major problem with Flexel, Thermaflex and some Flexwatt electric radiant ceiling heating panels. This court document summarizes claim settlements.

5. Tips: When To Use It, Floor Coverings, Wood Floors

When Radiant Floor Does & Doesn't Make Sense
When does, and doesn’t, radiant floor heating make sense? Here is an article from The Oregon Department Of Energy that discusses both the benefits and possible limitations.

Guide To Selecting Floor Coverings
Watts Radiant provides a good overview of things to consider when selecting tile, hardwoods, or carpet floor coverings for placement over radiant floors.

Hardwood Floors & Radiant Heating
With an increased use of wood flooring, RPA shows it is very important to understand their characteristics, and ensure that any radiant heating system is designed and installed properly.

6. Other Systems: Snow Melt, Infra Red, Towel Warmers

Snow Melting
For those of you in the Interior or North, snow melting may be of value. The Concrete Network offers some great info on all aspects of system types, installation, control, and repair.

Infra Red
If you are heating a shop, a large area, or outdoors, then an infrared system may be worth considering. These FAQs from Infrared Heaters explains the concept and applications.

Towel Warmers
Nice additions to those bathrooms that have it all are towel warmers. They come in both hydronic and electric, and a range of different products is shown here at Home Portfolio.

7. More Resources: Association, Book, Questions?

BC Trade Association: TECA
The Thermal Environmental Comfort Association represents our hydronic heating industry. They developed training courses and installation standards for their members.

Radiant Flooring Guide: For Less Than $10
To help you and/or your customers understand radiant heat, product options, design issues, and more you only have to pay the shipping charges for this RPA 66-page booklet.

Great Bulletin Board For Your Questions
Do you have a question that you would like answered by some experts in the industry? This very busy public bulletin board of RPA has some excellent info and participants.

8. Ken’s Top Pick: If You Only Have Time To Surf One Site

The Radiant Panel Association
As you can guess from the number of times I linked to it in this issue, I highly recommend the Radiant Panel Association Web site as a great place to get good quality radiant information.

Dittie For Today: On Wisdom
A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew. 
Herb Caen

 © Copyright 2004               Ken Farrish               All Rights Reserved
ISSN: 1703-5597 - National Library of Canada