Radiant Heat Floor Insulation: Wood Floors & Concrete Slabs
This entry was posted on January 12, 2010.
So you've decided to install a radiant heat system in your floor. Congratulations. Your added effort plus added expense will ensure that you have the most comfortable, efficient heating system possible.
There is nothing new about heating homes with radiant heat. Actually it is the oldest, most durable mass produced heating system ever used. Almost all older homes, after the days of coal stoves ended, utilized boiler fed hot water to heat cast iron radiators. These closed systems are very clean and efficient and hold their heat in the radiators well after the boiler has turned off.
Today's homes, unlike the homes of old, are built for affordability. Little attention is paid to overall quality and longevity. Forced air furnaces are now commonplace in most mass produced homes. Their ease of installation and low cost make them ideal for today's building style. There are several drawbacks to forced air systems. For one, forced air heat is very dry. Moving air accelerates the exchange of dust and other allergens. And, when the furnace turns off, your home immediately starts to lose heat. Also, most of the precious heat generated quickly rises and ends up at the ceiling where it is least desired.
Radiant heated floors however utilize the same principles of older radiator systems. Their design is also a closed system. There is no forced or moving air to pull moisture from the home and spread dust and other allergens. With advances in materials these systems are affordable and are placed within the floor. The floor is warmed by the continuous movement of hot water. The entire floor is warmed eliminating any cold spots that are common in forced air systems. This heat is then radiated from the bottom, where it is most desired, upward through the building warming everything it contacts.
The initial cost of a radiant heat system is more expensive than a forced air system. When measuring your return on investment it is important to allow your radiant heat system to operate as efficiently as possible.
Using reflective foil insulation as a radiant barrier underneath your radiant heated floor is the single most effective insulation practice you can do to maximize your return on your purchase. Radiant barrier insulation blocks the transfer of radiant heat. When used underneath a wood floor or concrete slab this insulation reflects the heat back into the living space as opposed to being lost to the slab or under the floor.
This allows the system to work less while providing the same level of heat. This equals energy savings. Adding a radiant barrier using reflective foil insulation is only a small percentage of the cost to install a radiant heat system. This one time step is an important component to maximizing your energy efficiency and should never be overlooked.
For more information on InfraStop® Under Concrete Slab Insulation and our other radiant barrier insulation visit us at www.insulationstop.com.