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Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Full Course - HVAC Course (Part 26)


            In this part of full HVAC course, we will learn about Radiant Floor Heating.

Radiant Flooring Heating is the natural way to warm a room without hot air circulating through ductwork. It uses the radiant thermal effect instead. There are two types of heating systems: passive and active. Passive heating works much like the sun; it radiates heat from the surface of the material throughout space. Active heating is much more complex than passive because it creates its own heat by transferring power to the system.

1. Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency refers to the amount of space that is heated or cooled relative to the total area of the building. A home with a radiant heating system uses only about 10% of the heating output of a conventional forced air furnace. So if you have a radiant heating system installed, you could save over $400 per year on heating costs. If you do not currently have a radiant heating system, then installing one should definitely be at least considered. Radiant systems use less electricity than conventional systems and they operate much quieter. You won't even know a radiant heating system is active unless you look under your feet.

2. Comfort

Because radiant heating systems do not require moving parts, they create virtually no noise or vibration. That means you don't have to worry about waking anyone else up while you're trying to fall asleep. When you install a radiant heating system, you'll likely notice that you need less blankets and pillows. While you may feel warmer at night, it's really just a matter of personal preference.

3. Convenience

You don't have to wait around for a central heater to kick on (or off) to stay warm or cool your house. A radiant heating system operates automatically without any manual control. In addition, you can set the temperature anywhere between 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on what type of radiant heating system you choose.

There are many types of heating systems, including radiant floor heating (RFT), hot air, steam, electric, gas, etc.

Which one should I choose?

The answer may vary depending on your space requirements, budget and preferences. But generally speaking, RFT is cost-effective and the best choice if you have a small area. An RFT system uses heated pipes that run under the floors, which in turn heats up the entire room. This type of heating system does not require any duct work or vents. In addition, it offers great flexibility and efficiency. It is suitable for spaces ranging from 10m² to 500m².

What is the difference between a radiant/hydronic heating system?

A radiant/hydronic heating technology works by circulating warm water throughout the floor. A hydronic system is similar to an RHT system, except instead of using heated pipes, water flows through tubes located in the subflooring, which then heats different zones of the room. As a result, a hydronic system requires less maintenance than an RHT system as no heating pipes need to be serviced. However, it’s more expensive than an RHT system. How do I calculate my heating needs?

The first step is to determine the size and shape of the room. If it is rectangular, measure its length, width and height. Once you know what the dimensions are, divide them by 100 to find out the square footage. Next, multiply the square feet of the room by 1.25 to get the heating load. So if the space is 1000 sq ft, the load would be around 1250 btus. You’ll want to keep in mind that a larger space will consume more BTUs than a smaller one. This means that you will need to add additional heaters to the system to ensure adequate coverage.

Do I need to hire a contractor to install Radiant Floor Heating?

No! There are several DIY installation methods, including the following:

Step 1) Install a subfloor under the existing concrete slab, then place polyethylene sheet under the subfloor.

Step 2) Cut holes in the plastic sheets and insert PVC piping under the sheets.

Step 3) Cut openings in the floorboards where you want the pipes to go.

Step 4) Drill holes in the wood boards and screw the pipes to the board.

Step 5) Fill the pipe with hot water and let it circulate in the room until the desired temperature is reached.

A radiant heating system uses warm air to circulate throughout the room using special tubing called radiators to transfer heat into the surrounding space. While traditional forced-air systems use cold air blowing into the space via duct work, RFT's use thermal mass as the primary means of heat generation. Thermal mass refers to a material that absorbs and retains heat while releasing it over time.

1. Radiant Floor Heating (RFT) versus Forced Air Heating

Although both radiant heating and forced air heating work well indoors, they have different applications and uses. RFT creates heated air via infrared radiation as opposed to hot water circulating through tubing and ducting. RFT is commonly used in commercial buildings because it provides effective heat without having to use electricity, making it cost-effective. In residential settings RFT may not be desirable due to their higher initial costs compared to conventional heating systems. However, RFT does offer advantages over forced air systems. One advantage of RFT is its flexibility and portability; unlike air conditioning systems where the entire unit must be removed and replaced if you want to move the system, RFT units can easily be moved around a room. Another advantage of RFT is that it requires no electrical power, reducing operating costs. Finally, RFT systems do not require a return air vent, eliminating additional cleaning requirements.

2. How Does Radiant Floor Heat Work?

The basic principle behind RFT is simple: radiant heat travels in waves through space, unlike convected thermal transfer which moves particles of air or gas. As a result, RFT works best in open spaces where the air is free to circulate around the room. Because RHT emits a continuous heat flow, it is especially useful in rooms which experience changes in temperature throughout the day. This is ideal for offices, classrooms, and restaurants, because constant temperatures help maintain productivity and reduce employee fatigue. Conversely, forced air heating cannot be controlled remotely and therefore isn't practical for these types of applications.

3. Installation Process

The installation process is similar to any other type of heating system—you'll need to find a qualified contractor who understands how to install RFT safely and correctly. Before installing, check with local codes to ensure that RFT is allowed in your area. If you don't live in an area that allows RFT, then consider installing a central air conditioner instead, since this is much cheaper than a full scale RFT unit. Once installed, you'll need to make sure that the heater's thermostat is properly programmed, because the system only operates at certain times of day. You should test the heater before you turn it on by standing about five feet away from it to determine whether the heat radiates outwards. At this point, you're ready to begin using your new heater!

4. Pros & Cons of RFT vs. Forced Air


• No Electricity Needed - RFT doesn't run off electricity. In fact, RHT won't even consume any battery power at all.

• Flexible - RFT can be moved around a building with ease, whereas forced air systems must be completely dismantled to change locations.

• Portable - RFT can be easily moved back and forth between rooms, meaning you can switch them on or off depending on what type of environment you'd prefer.


• Expensive - RFT systems start out expensive, but can become quite affordable once you factor in depreciation and maintenance.

• High Maintenance - RHT requires regular upkeep and service to prevent overheating and malfunctioning of the components.

What is radiant heating?

A) Radiant heating is a type of heat transfer where the object being heated radiates heat towards its surroundings. The radiant heater uses infrared radiation to transfer heat to a surface or room.

 Why does radiant heating work well in HVAC systems?

A) Radiant heat is best suited for applications where there is little or no air movement. Air conditioning units create air currents that carry away heat energy, making radiant heating ideal for these situations. Most rooms, offices, and hallways have low levels of air flow, which makes radiant heat great for these applications.

 How do I know if my HVAC system is set up properly for radiant heating?

A ) You should install radiant heat at least two feet above any obstructions that might inhibit the transfer of heat rays. If a ceiling fan is installed above the radiant heat, make sure the fan blades don't block the rays. Also, consider installing radiant heat over the center of a room, rather than placing the radiant heat near windows or other obstacles that could interfere with heat transfer.

 What materials do I need to build a radiant heating system?

A) Each project can be different depending on how much space you want to heat. A standard application would call for 4-inch stainless steel tubing with 2-inch elbows. There are many other options, including copper pipes for larger applications.

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